Monday, July 07, 2008

Should I sod or seed my lawn?

July 2008 - For the past month and a half, my wife and I have been working on installing a new concrete patio. While we still have a few things to wait on, finally our hard work has paid off. To be 100% honest, we did outsource a significant part of the construction, but there is work involved in that and I'm counting it.

The majority of our "real work" was tearing out the old wooden deck and landscaping around the new, stamped concrete, patio. Tearing out the deck took, what I would consider, little intellectual thought. The landscaping on the other hand, was both a cerebral and manual challenge.

We have a slight water problem in our basement. When it rains hard, or if snow starts to melt too quick, we end up with water pooled against the back of the house. Even though our basement is poured (rather than blocked), water finds its way in quickly. We only get "seepage," but any water in the basement stinks. Being we were getting a new patio, we thought it would be a good time to use some creative landscaping to help circumvent the water problem.

After pilling two cubic yards of black dirt, we ended up with a small hill separating our lawn from the neighbor's. The goal is for water to hit the hill, then flow either down the West side or South side of the house. In years past it traveled right up to the house with little to stop it.

Now to my point. The new hill, and the area surrounding the patio, needed grass. My wife, who is a fan of alacrity, wanted to sod it. She felt that sod would be the quickest way to get the project finished. Not to her surprise, I took a contrary point of view and felt seeding it would be best. Why you may ask? First of all, when I put the two cubic yards of dirt in, I was very careful to control my depth in relation to the new patio. I wanted the grass height to be short of the patio instead of overhanging it. Second, I was concerned about economics. That is, I had it in my mind that sod was far too expensive. But was it?

Seeing my lawn cost $85 dollars. That's $12 for three pounds of seed, $13 for fertilizer and $50 for an erosion mat. An erosion mat is that green mesh that you put down over seed to keep rain from washing the seed away. The new hill desperately needed one.

Sod at the local Bachman's in Apple Valley is $5 for a 2.5 x 6 foot role. I figure the area we wanted to cover is 250 square feet. Meaning I'd need about 15 rolls for a total of $75. I'm thinking that since my car is pretty small and my wife's is new, we'd need delivery. While I didn't check on prices, let's assume divert is $25 (they are right down the road).

My calculations leave me with seed costing $85 and sod costing $100. Though the numbers are closer that I thought, I went with seed. Today, after learning some of the benefits of sod (better for erosion areas), I may have went with sod. However, the seed was cheater and easier to plant. And if it wasn't for the erosion mat, seeding would have been a no brainier for my small section.

After the grass is in, or if it is washed away and we decide to sod, I'll provide everyone an update on where we're at.


Kelly said...

For future sode purchasing, check out Menards. I purchased rolls there for $3 / roll and borrow someones truck to save on delivery; which is typically $45+ for rock, but probably the same for anything else at Menards. Also, a neighbor called up a sod farm and told them how many rolls that he would need. He was able to save money since they were delivering to the same area and would just bring a small pallet for him at a price of $2.50/roll (including delivery).

Mac Noland said...

Thanks Kelly! I'll have to check that out. Only about half of my seed has made it so far, so I might have to sod the rest. Or replant.

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