Backyard Lawn

Maintaining your backyard grass is just as important as planting it in the first place. When we installed sod in our front and backyards last year, it was an extremely arduous task that required a large expense of more than $1,000, lots of hands-on contributions from friends and family, and three weeks of dedicated watering until the lawn rooted.

For a backyard lawn, either seed or sod could be used, but I recommend sod, which can be self-installed and provides an instant lawn. When I spoke to 5 different landscapers before deciding on my backyard lawn, I got conflicting advice that generally discouraged sod because of the expense. However, since then, I have spoken to my three other families, all of whom installed seed, and all of whom regret it. The reasons for this are myriad.

  1. Seed does not allow for an instant backyard lawn, and because it is very young grass, it needs to be treated extremely carefully and it is more susceptible to weed infiltration and dead spots than sod.
  2. Even though sod is cut at the roots and therefore is weaker than mature grass, it is easier to walk  on (although this is not recommended) for purposes of moving sprinklers. When you are moving sprinklers on new grass, you are essentially walking through mud puddles the whole time.
  3. Sod can be installed by anyone with enough time, strength, and a 2-minute tutorial about mashing the ends together. Seed on the other hand, is best applied by a landscaper using a large machine to uniformly spread seed and pulp to help keep the seeds moist. A landscaper probably will spread a mixture of grass seed species and will have to come back a time or two to add seed in places that he missed or where the seed failed to germinate. In any case, both seed and sod are time-intensive, but sod is more easily installed by a nonprofessional.

I also found that our sod was better equipped to deal with the dry week of 90-degree weather that we had after the sod had been planted for a year. At this point, sod and seed are both considered mature backyard lawns, but my neighbor who installed seed the same year as I installed sod did not have the same backyard lawn resilience that I had. I attribute this to the more vigorous growth and resistance of sod.

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