Cost of Sod Vs Cost of Seed: Which Is More Affordable?

Maryjane E. Cason

It’s a good question and one you need an answer to so that you can plan for your new lawn. So, you want to know what the cost of sod as compared to the cost of seed is. That’s putting the cart before the horse, what you really need to know is…can your lawn be saved? Once you know the answer to that question you will be able to determine whether sod or seed is more costly. The following steps will break down the cost of both and you will have your answer.

So you call a landscaper! The first thing your landscaper will do is to walk your property to see what the overall condition is. Most homeowners have a lawn that is established but want a thicker lawn free of weeds. Others are not so fortune and have a spotty lawn with barely any growth due to poor soil. Let’s start with the worst case…with the lawn that is in a lot of trouble; it’s going to need a full lawn renovation. So what happens now? First your landscaper will need to remove and cart away the “old” lawn, which is a labor and carting fee. After removal, to create a healthy turf, there is a need to add topsoil over the area. Topsoil can range from anywhere from $25.00 to $30.00 a yard to purchase. Add to that the labor charge from your landscaper to spread the topsoil. Once spread, hand raking the soil to level it will involve labor that can take hours, depending on your property size. Once the soil is nice and level seeding and fertilization will take place. The cost will vary as property sizes are not the same but keep in mind, this could get expensive.

A few more steps need to take place to create a thick turf like lawn. 1. A second over seeding will need to take place. Aeration normally will need to be done to seed through the new lawn. An application of starter fertilizer and lime as well. This cost could range anywhere between $450.00 as far up as $700.00 depending on your property size. This application may need to be done a few times to build a thick lawn.

With the physical labor done it’s now time to coax that lawn to grow. We all know with our busy work schedules time is money. Your time will be spent watering your newly seeded lawn. The ground must be kept damp, requiring you to water at least three times a day at 10 minutes a section.

Now let’s get to that thick sod lawn you admire. Once again…the “old” lawn must be removed and carted away, and the fees to do so. Most times you won’t need to replace soil as sod comes with its own soil attached to the roots. So you’ve already saved on the cost of soil, cost of leveling, raking and of course the seed and fertilizer. On to the cost of the sod installation, and delivery cost. This will of course depend on the square footage of your property and the time (labor) needed to cut in or around planting beds, structures, etc.

Just as with seed, you will need to water the sod however the requirements are different as you now have a healthy turf that requires less water. Sod lawns also do not require the over seeding or fertilizer that seed does (another savings). As if that’s not enough of a savings you also can skip weed control for at least one year(s).

So at the end of the day you will always find that when comparing the cost of sod to the cost of seed the savings comes when you install sod. Mostly because when the sod is done it’s done. There won’t be any extra seeding and lawn renovations involved. You won’t deal with weeds and crabgrass applications that cost you valuable time and money. It’s like buying a new car that will last verse putting money into a used one.

I hope this article will help you in your decision making when it comes to seed or sod. You will find more helpful tips at

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