Seeding vs sod

dgruzewSeptember 18, 2013

Getting close to start my build this fall -

we should be breaking ground in nov and done somewhere around April / May

we are in a cold climate (Chicago area ) , and one of the only things NOT included in our building contract is landscaping. I am trying to figure out the costs , and whether I should seed or lay sod .

Does anyone know if seeding in April / May is a good idea ? any idea on the costs ? We will need to cover about 5500 SQ feet

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I prefer seeding and it should be ok to seed in April/May.
You probably want to reseed in the fall at thin areas.
I am not familiar with prices in Chicago area but it is way lower than Sod.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:37AM
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We sodded the front lawn and seeded the back (to save $.) There is no comparison....two years later the front STILL looks so much better. We use Tru Green...they come out monthly to do the treatments and we aerate and re-seed each Fall. Dh is getting frustrated with the back lawn, and has said several times he wished we had bitten the bullet and sodded the entire yard.
I can't remember off-hand how much more it was...several thousand at least.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Nini, maybe the seeding was not done right. The idea is to get the best seeds available for the area and reseed to make it full.
We seeded our first house and sodded the second. Our first house had the best lawn in the neighborhood.
When we build again, we will seed.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:56PM
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In the spring in Chicago you should expect poor results with seeding a cool season grass--soil is still warming up and not enough time to compete with springtime weeds and establish itself before the summer heat. You'll have to do it all over again in the fall. Which maybe is fine since it's such a small area. Sod anytime. While not cheap, again your area is pretty small. Another option might be to throw down annual rye seed in the spring just as temporary cover, and then focus on seeding for the permanent lawn in the fall. Search the Garden Lawn Care forum and you'll find this advice over and over. But either way do whatever it takes to start with good soil (set aside what you have before construction, test and amend, etc.). And when you have grass, set your mower high for a healthy lawn. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Have you considered HydroSeeding? It seems to get a pretty good results without sod.

If you go the sod route, look for a sod farm outside Chicago Metro and buy directly from them. I'm down in Charlotte, NC, when it came time for us, I found a sod farm about an hour away and it was about half the price of the local SuperSod supplier. I needed a full tractor trailer (20 pallets, 10K sq ft), but your local might have smaller trucks too. It was about $0.30 a sq ft for our Zoysia sod 4 years ago.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 11:18AM
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I've done both and our sod looks so much better than our seeded yard ever did, even after 8 years. I insisted on sodding both the front and back of our new build because I was so unhappy with our seeded yard in our last house.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Bridget Helm

we planted centipede seeds ourselves in March back in 2007. It looks great! Our yard is only about 1/4 an acre, so it only took an hour to seed.

It took a couple of years to get as thick and full as our neighbor's sodded yard, but we don't have any weeds and it's nice and full now. I did buy a few plugs of sod from Lowes and fill in any bald spots the following spring. I cut the big squares from Lowes into 6x6 squares and planted them throughout the yard in the areas that were thin.

I order my seed online and if I recall correctly, we saved thousands by seeding rather than sodding. it takes a little more work, however. you have to take a hoe and drag it up and down your yard before spreading the seed. then i think you go back over the yard with the hoe after spreading. then water in. we got lucky with a pretty rainy spring that year, so i never had to break out the sprinklers.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 7:15PM
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I am in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin and just ordered 7000 sq ft of sod from a sod farm. Sod is %100 Kentucky bluegrass grown on Mineral soil. Delivered for $0.22.sq ft. We are doing the front yard this way. If we really like the result we will see about doing the back. Might get a little costly though.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:54PM
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We currently live in a development that was brand new when we moved in 18 years ago. We moved in in August and the developer used what we all fondly called "hydro weed"-which was what came up among a little bit of grass. My husband ended up killing off the front lawn and reseeding it. It looked like a war zone for a while, but now, it's really beautiful. Our new build in California will have very little grass-just enough for dog to have a place to do his thing in. My husband can't wait!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:16AM
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