toh tv landscape contractor roger cook seeding a lawn
Photo: Kindra Clineff
Sow, spray, lay, or plug?
The answer depends on your patience, your budget, and the grass you want.

Seed
Benefits: Inexpensive—about 2 cents per square foot—and requires only a rake, spreader, and shovel. A wide variety of grasses to choose from.
Drawbacks: Unpredictable germination, greater chance of weeds and erosion, limited planting times in spring and fall.
Wait time: Four to six weeks before you can walk on it. Mow when 3 inches tall.

Hydroseeding
Benefits: Mixture of seeds, water, pulp mulch, and fertilizer sprays on bare ground in less time than traditional seeding. Mulch limits erosion, smothers weeds, and ensures high germination rate. Application by a pro: about 10 cents per square foot.
Drawbacks: Need to book well in advance of busy fall or spring seeding seasons.
Wait time: Four to six weeks before you can walk on it. Mow when 3 inches tall.

Sod
Benefits: A green lawn, instantly, at any time during the growing season. Useful for covering bare patches or slopes.
Drawbacks: Costly; about 50 cents per square foot. Fewer types of grass to choose from. Perishable; must be planted the same day it's delivered.
Wait time: None. Start mowing in two weeks.

Plugs
Benefits: Cheaper than sod. Chunks of potted grass are the preferred (or only) way to install some Southern grasses. Planted 6 to 12 inches apart, they colonize the space in between. Cost: 10 to 15 cents per square foot.
Drawbacks: Takes two to five months to fill in completely.
Wait time: Avoid walking on them until ready to mow, in four to eight weeks.
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