At some point of the house construction, or quickly after, there is a moment when the focus moves to the garden area all around the house. Usually this happens after the winter, when the snow melts and you’ll suddenly see all the work that needs to be done in order to get to a state where you would not need rubber boots to walk there. Not talking about garden dinners with friends or some relax.

If you have a desolate piece of ground like I had, you would need to start from a scratch. The sooner you start, the better as growing takes time. You can shorten the time by paying more to someone, who did the growing job for you. So then you could purchase already semi-grown trees, or hire someone who does the whole garden design, prep and finalization work for you.

It is probably wise to balance the approach, which is probably also budget efficient, but I’ll let the decision on each one of you depending on your set of skills, time you can invest and individual abilities. You may not want to wait your entire life to see the trees growing from seeds into something bigger than you, but you don’t have to be scared starting new lawn from seeds for instance.

Seeding vs Sod lawn

I personally got mixed messages when thinking about the best ways how to start the new lawn. As we were on a new road where the houses were build practically within the same time frame, I could somehow compare the differences.

I did choose seeding. The main reason for that was that I could do it myself (cost and trust factor) and also because:

  • I was also installing the garden irrigation system myself, so I could properly time the continuity of events
  • I could choose the right seed mixture for the climate location I live in
  • The seeds grow on the site and the roots develop in the final soil. As a result, they can go deeper to get water as opposed to the transplanting the grass in a blocks with rooted grass by sodding, which are prone to quick drying.

And yes, you don’t get the wow effect by having the lawn nice and ready within a day or two, but garden experts would tell you to not walk on it before the grass roots thoroughly anyway.

I’m not an expert in growing and farming, I can only tell how it went in my case, how long it took and what was the end result.
It’s all a matter of your personal preference what method you choose.

Please note, that it all depends on many factors so it might not work the same in your case. Things that impact the potential of success growing are mainly:

  • Soil quality
  • Seed type and freshness
  • Climate and timing of the seeding
  • Watering
  • Weather conditions
  • Animals (birds eating the seeds)

Now the main differences between seeding and sodding from my opinion:

  • Time – Choosing lawn type of sodding is an instant lawn. One day prep and the day after you basically have finalized nice looking lawn, which creates the real wow factor of a nicely shaped garden. This is what the commercial developers usually choose as they get a quick visual result. Please make sure that sod has been cut no longer than 24 hours before delivery to ensure freshness. On the other hand, starting a lawn from a seeds takes time (two to three months in my case to get consistent grass coverage and nice lawn after the first cut.
  • Price – The seeding is cheaper, but you are responsible for it to happen properly. You need to prepare the soil, level the surface making it as even as possible, and seed it.
  • Watering – Transplanted grass requires heavy watering compared to the seeded one. Also, the garden company usually limits the warranty to cases where the soil was not properly watered. Our neighbors complained about the water utility bill after the first year, as the garden center set their irrigation system to enormously high amount of water to protect themselves from not successful grass growth. But, the be fair here, watering needs to be done in both cases, especially once the germination starts (one to four weeks from seeding).
  • First walk – Although the instant grass “carpet” might look ready just on the day of the application, they usually recommend not to walk on it before the grass roots thoroughly. So even though the lawn might look ready much quicker, you still want be able to do a picnic or play badminton there, which you obviously would not want to do in case of just seeded lawn either.

The growth from seeds

To facilitate the growth I had to properly prepare the surface for seeding, adding an extra layer of composed material because the original soil quality was not convincing. Images in timeline below illustrate the real growing progress in my small garden.

Preparation for a new lawn
Days before seeding | Irrigation and garden lights are being prepared
Soil preparation for a new lawn
Days before seeding | Soil is being prepared
Soil preparation for a new lawn
Days before seeding | Finalization of the surface before seeding
Grass lawn seeded
Day 0 | Seeding
After 3 days from seeding
Day 3 | Watering in operation multiple times a day ensuring the right level of moisture
After 4 days from seeding
Day 4 | Seeds started germinating
After 4 days from seeding
Day 4 | Detailed look might give he impression that the soil has more coarser pieces and woody debris, these are residuals from the composed materials. In the end these serve the nutrients for the future growth.
After 14 days from seeding
Day 14 | Grass growth visible, however not all areas are fully covered yet
After 24 days from seeding
Day 24 | Coverage improved, still some areas not properly covered that require overseeding with new grass seed
After 29 days from seeding
Day 29 | First cut
After 34 days from seeding
Day 34 | Almost final look of the lawn, some edge areas still require some overseeding
After 54 days from seeding
Day 54 | Almost two months after seeding the lawn looks very nice
After 123 days from seeding
Day 123 | Image captured four months after seeding, nicely grown lawn
Half a year after seeding a winter period comes
Half a year after seeding a winter period comes
After more than a year from seeding
Another capture after more than a year from seeding, whole garden fully recovered

So you don’t have to be scared to try it yourself, it is not that complicated! 🙂

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