You’ve cleared the brush, improved the grading, spread the topsoil, and installed the patio or retaining wall or new plantings. It’s now time for the final shootout with your big landscaping project: seeding the grass for your lawn. Landscape Guys will help you pull it off in dramatic fashion in the final scene of the movie, so you can move onto the sequel (maintaining and enjoying your new lawn). We can give you glorious grass in one of 3 ways: hydroseeding, direct seeding, or sod installation.
Of course, if a lovely lawn was easy, everyone would have one. We’re here to make it easy. Landscape Guys will do the heavy lifting, and can help you on all the confusing decisions of the process, so you can start enjoying your renewed lawn soon. You can contact us now or read on to find out more about how we’ll give you the grandest, greenest grass.
Why should you reseed your lawn?
You love a lush, green lawn, and so does anyone else who lives with you or visits you. A healthy lawn tells everyone you care about your property and run a tight ship. It shows you take pride in your neighborhood and respect your neighbors. Who wants to look at the neighborhood eyesore – or own it?
Then there are the practical benefits. A healthy lawn won’t have the same problems with erosion, weed growth, or invasive plants that a patchy, neglected lawn will have. It’s worth the effort.
3 ways to seed your lawn: hydroseeding, direct seeding, and sod installation
We can give you glorious grass in one of three ways: hydroseeding, direct seeding, or sod installation.
Which method is best depends on your needs, lawn, budget, and the weather and microclimate conditions in your area. You can decide for yourself – or we can help you decide – which trade-off is best in your situation.
We do have a general overall favorite, but before saying which, here’s a brief comparison of each method.
Hydroseeding definition, process, & pros and cons
Definition and basic process of hydroseeding: Hydroseeding involves spraying a slurry made of grass seed, water, mulch, fertilizer, and sometimes green coloring, over the areas where you want grass to grow. This method is sometimes called hydraulic mulch seeding or hydromulching. Whenever you see big bright-green or pale-blue patches of what looks like paper mache in front of newly-constructed buildings, that’s hydroseeding. The paper content helps keep the seeds moist and helps deter weed growth while the grass seed germinates and starts rooting and filling in. The paper is both a medium for the grass seed and a protective layer.
Benefits of hydroseeding: You can choose a custom mix of grass seeds, which allows you to closely match them to the specific soil and weather conditions on your property (something you can’t do with sod). The mulch and fertilizer in the slurry helps to give the seeds extra nutrients and protection. The seed coverage tends to be very even, leading to a uniform lawn. And the slurry can help prevent soil erosion until the grass roots are established.
Disease-resistance & weed-resistance of hydroseeding: Hydroseeded lawns can be more disease-resistant compared to direct-seeded lawns, because they establish more evenly and quickly, creating a denser grass cover that can better resist stressors. They tend to have fewer weed issues than direct-seeded lawns due to the faster establishment and thicker grass cover. However, occasional weed growth may still occur.
Cons of hydroseeding: Hydroseeding is more expensive than direct seeding (but less expensive than sod installation). It grows into a full lawn faster than direct seeding, but slower than the almost-instant results of sod.
Direct seeding definition, process, & pros and cons
Definition and basic process of direct seeding: This involves spreading grass seed directly onto the prepared soil, or just below the surface, usually without other materials. The grass seed itself may be coated (in which case it may appear blue), or it may just be the seed au naturel. The grass seed may or may not be worked into the soil with an aerator, usually depending on the size of the lawn or how much is being seeded or reseeded. Direct seeding is most common as a way to “repair” ones lawn, so as to fill in bare or spotty patches, in what’s known as overseeding.
Benefits of direct seeding: Direct seeding is the most traditional and least-expensive option. Like hydroseeding, you can choose a custom mix of grass seeds, that are a good match for the soil and weather conditions on your property. Grass seed can be precisely placed anywhere—on steep slopes and small, irregular areas, that are difficult to cover with hydroseeding or sod.
Disease-resistance & weed-resistance of direct seeding: Direct-seeded lawns can be slightly more susceptible to diseases early on due to the slower and less uniform growth. They can also require more attention to weed control during the early stages of growth.
Cons of direct seeding: It is usually the slowest to grow into a fully matured lawn. Grass seed alone is also more vulnerable early on than hydroseeded grass or sod, and does not spread as evenly, so there is a higher chance of some uneven areas (though these fill in over time).
Sod definition, process, & pros and cons
Definition and basic process of sod installation: Sod installation involves taking strips of pre-grown grass and arranging them in your yard to create a lush lawn almost instantly. Sod can be used to seed new lawns for the first time, or to fill in or cover up patches of existing lawns.
Benefits of sod installation: Sod is the quickest path from bare soil to a grassy yard that’s ready to use. Sod can be installed across a wider range of weather conditions than the other methods, as it is matured grass with established roots, rather than seeds that need to germinate and grow. Sod can be installed on steeper slopes, where the other methods might be washed away during heavy rains. Because it’s already grown, it doesn’t need to be watered as consistently.
Disease-resistance & weed-resistance of sod: Sod lawns often have a head start in disease resistance over the other method because they are already fully grown, and generally experience fewer weed problems initially. Over time, sod lawns still need care and maintenance to stay healthy and free of weeds, like the other types of lawns.
Cons of sod installation: Sod is the most expensive of the three methods to seed grass, mainly because the supplier needs to nurture it for weeks and then install it while it’s still in the pink of health. Also, with sod you do not have the same control over the grass-seed mix, because that decision is made by the sod producers. Even with professionally installed sod, there can be subtle seams in the grass, where the strips meet. The roots sometimes do not integrate as fully into the underlying soil as roots from hydroseeded or direct-seeded grass.
What’s the best grass-seeding method (according to us)?
We tend to recommend hydroseeding, because it strikes a good balance between several factors:
- Cost. Hydroseeding is the middle option, with direct seeding being the most cost-effective, and sod installation the most expensive.
- Quality of End Results. All three methods can create great lawns. Hydroseeding offers even and lush coverage; direct seeding may take longer to achieve a mature lawn; and sod installation provides immediate results. It’s important to keep in mind that the older lawns get, the more their starting differences will even out.
- Ease of Maintenance. Early on, hydroseeding can be easier to maintain than direct seeding. Sod typically requires the least initial care.
Because hydroseeding falls in the sweet spot of so many points, it makes sense for most lawns. However if you want a lawn immediately, or enjoy the traditional aspects of direct seeding, these are good options and we’ll make sure they’re done right.
We tend to recommend hydroseeding whenever possible, because of how even and thick the coverage is, the relative ease of keeping the seed and soil moist, and the way it minimizes weed growth. Even so, we can also direct-seed or install sod, depending on your needs, preferences, and budget, depending on the time of year and on the needs of your specific lawn.
Surface preparation for a great lawn
You may be wondering if one method needs a lot more surface preparation than another.
The short answer is no. All types of lawn creation benefit from a well-prepped surface. The underlying soil is the foundation for your healthy lawn, so it’s important to give it the strongest foundation possible.
We do this by testing the pH of the soil, removing weeds, rocks, and debris, aerating, laying new topsoil, compost, fertilizer or pH adjustments as needed, and grading it to perfection.
It is true, though, that sod can tolerate a harsher surface because it comes with its own soil and root system. But we think that if you’re going to go to all the work of installing sod, it’s best to do it right, and give it the best possible start with a great prepared surface.
How to maintain your newly seeded or reseeded lawn
Well-executed sod installation or hydroseeding means not only an attractive end result, but an easier path to that lush green grass. It’s not as hands-on or needy as you might assume, or as you might have experienced in the past. The daily or almost-daily watering will be very easy to keep up with. Here are some tips on caring for your newly planted sod or other grass:
- Too much water is as bad as too little water. Choose frequent light waterings during the day over heavy soaks. Your main goal is to cool the grass during the day, so the seeds or nascent grass can soak up the water before it evaporates under the harsh sun.
- Water the grass more heavily in the evening, so that the water can seep down to the roots and stay there a while before the sun comes up.
- Mushroom growth or a soggy feel underfoot means that you’ve watered too much.
- Brown spots, a lighter shade of green, or shrinking of the sod seams mean you’ve watered too little.
- Lush dark green color and moist roots mean your watering is right over the bull’s-eye.
Grab the brass ring and make your grass sing
Don’t hire us if you are bashful about your lawn becoming envy of the neighborhood. Believe it or not, some people don’t want to have the best lawn on the block.