Checkout Lane: 3 choices for a new lawn

Shaunna Gately

If you plan to get rid of the crabgrass and dandelions in your yard, calling a professional landscaping company to install a new lawn might be the quickest and easiest way to have your lawn looking its best.

When choosing a method to either grow or install a new lawn, there are three approaches you can take: dry-seeding, hydroseeding and sod installation.

Dry-seeding is the least expensive option, said Greg Morton, owner of Morton's Yard Sculpting in Quincy, Mass., with a cost of about 5 to 10 cents a square foot. The problem with dry seeding is its poor germination rate, or the ability of the seeds to grow. It can also take up to a month to produce results.

Hydroseeding has a much better success rate and costs about 15 to 25 cents per square foot, Morton said. This method could have a new lawn grown in as little as 10 days, as the lawn patch mix - which combines seed, fertilizer and mulch - is sprayed over the lawn's surface.

Installing sod or pre-grown grass cut into strips and rolled out like carpet is the fastest, but also most expensive choice, Morton said. That approach can cost as much as 80 cents per square foot. 

There will be additional costs to consider in the preparation for your new lawn that may include leveling the ground, adding a few inches of loam or dirt and clearing your yard of debris. Depending on the work that needs to be done, it can run around 20 to 30 cents a square foot.

It's also important to pay attention to the type of grass you are planting. There are species of grass seeds that are better suited for sunny areas or shaded ones.

“There are some very nice varieties of lawn seed that produce fantastic results, but you have to water them every day,'' Morton said. “Other types can withstand a little abuse. Therefore, it is important to choose one that fits your budget, lifestyle and time constraints.''

It is important to note that new lawns must be watered every day. Any guarantee a company offers could be voided if you aren't keeping up your end.

You should ask for references when choosing a company as well as before-and-after pictures, said John Weir, owner of Norm's Landscaping in Kingston, Mass.

Contact Shaunna Gately at sgately@ledger.com.