Pros and Cons – Sod, Seed & Plugs

Many homeowners don’t quite understand the differences among sod, plugs, or seed on their lawns. There are benefits and downsides to each; so before picking one, take some time to learn about these different methods of adding turfgrass to your lawn.


The right choice for you will depend on your unique property and some personal preferences.

  • Have an approximate budget in mind, and measure the area that you need covered so that you can make some expense calculations as you weigh your options.
  • Have an idea of what time of year you plan to repair your lawn, as well as how much time and effort you’re able to put into the installation.
  • Do you know what kind of grass is already on your lawn? Different grass species are better installed using one method or the other.


Sod consists of mats of pre-grown grass and a small portion of topsoil that have been rolled or cut into swaths. These are then laid on top of freshly-scoured soil and watered generously. Since the grass already has an established root and shoot system, with the right amount of water it will quickly take to your lawn and provide a lush look in minimal time. Our warm-season grasses such as Zoysia, Bermuda, and St. Augustine grass are commonly used for sod and plugs. While sod is the most expensive option – approximately $1.35/sqft on average – it is the fastest and most sure-fire way to repair large areas or completely damaged yards.


Plugs are small clumps of grass–just a couple square inches each. They’re also a great way to plant warm-season grasses on your lawn, and come in handy if you only need to fill in small areas. They are more quickly installed than either sod or seed, and cost about $0.50/sqft. You need a plug tool to spear the ground and create the holes, then sprinkle lawn starter fertilizer into the holes before adding the plug and watering it thoroughly. The area will look patchy at first until the plugs grow in over the course of about a year, so while you can get the plugs in the ground quickly, this solution requires time and patience for the area to fully develop. While you’ll have to deal with some bare areas for a while, plugs are a less expensive way to grow a warm-season turf.


Seeding your lawn is a great way to quickly cover large areas of bare soil. However, cool-season grasses tend to take better from seed than warm-season grasses–in fact, St. Augustine grass is not even available as a seed! If your lawn looks patchy as you enter the winter season, it’s a great idea to overseed your turf with a cool-season species like ryegrass. These grow in quickly and help deter weeds from taking over the bare areas. Overseeding an entire lawn can take a bit of time since you need to scarify it before throwing the seed down, but it is extremely cost-effective at about $0.10/sqft. Grass grown from seed will germinate in about 30 days, which is better than plugs but not as immediate as sod.

Have further questions? Call Big Earth Landscape Supply – or visit one of our 4 area locations today.