Unlike seeded lawns, which take one to two years to mature, sod gives you a carpeted lawn almost immediately. But how much is that luxury going to cost you?
On average, sod costs between $0.30 to $0.83 per square foot. If you want the sod installed by a professional, bump that up to $0.87 to $1.76 per square foot to cover labor and materials.
Sod type, yard size, and soil prep will all affect your final bill. Want to install a sprinkler system? That service is going to cost you extra.
When sodding a 1/5-acre lawn, which is 8,712 square feet, homeowners typically pay between $2,813 to $7,603 for the sod. Professional installation will bring that cost up to $6,623 to $13,681.
How Much Does Sod Cost?
- Average Range for Sod: $0.30 to $0.83 per square foot
- Average Range for Sod and Labor: $0.87 to $1.76 per square foot
- How Much Does Sod Cost?
- How Much Does Sod Cost for a 1/5-Acre Property?
- Cost Estimator by Sod Type
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Extra Services
- Cost of DIY Sod Installation
- Cost of Sod Installation by Location
- FAQ About Sod
How Much Does Sod Cost for a 1/5-Acre Property?
- Average Range for 1/5-acre of Sod: $2,813 to $7,603
- Average Range for 1/5-acre of Sod and Labor: $6,623 to $13,681
The numbers above are national averages and should help you estimate how much sod or sod installation will cost you. Remember that your total project cost will vary depending on many factors, including your yard’s size, obstructive landscape features, and terrain.
Expect to pay between $0.30 to $0.83 per square foot of sod. If you’re skipping the DIY route and want professional sod installation, most sod installers charge an additional labor fee between $0.57 to $0.93 per square foot. You can expect to pay between $0.87 to $1.76 per square foot for both labor and materials.
If you have bought the sod already and all you need is to pay for the labor, some companies charge an hourly rate for installation, typically between $37.50 to $77.50 an hour.
Most sod farms sell their sod by the pallet. A pallet usually contains 450 square feet of sod cut into squares or rolls. Some pallets can cover up to 650 square feet, depending on the supplier.
A 450-square-foot pallet of sod typically costs between $133 to $363. Some suppliers do sell sod by the square yard or roll, though keep in mind that roll dimensions will vary from supplier to supplier.
Cost Estimator by Sod Type
The type of sod you install can have a significant effect on the quality of your lawn. Some grass types have higher drought, disease, and foot traffic tolerances than others, making them more expensive.
The higher quality sod type you buy, the more you can expect to pay per square foot. Take a look below to see the average sod prices for common grasses.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Your sod project’s final bill won’t always fall in the expected price range. That’s because there are several elements at play that can determine your total sod installation cost.
Factors like the shape of your yard, delivery charges, and ground prep work can all run up the bill. We will go over these items in detail so you can better calculate how much your sod project is going to cost you.
Size of area
The larger your yard, the more sod you’ll need, and the more you can expect to pay.
The average yard size is 8,712 square feet or 1/5-acre. Homeowners with 1/5-acre yards typically pay between $6,623 to $13,681 for sod and labor or $2,813 to $7,603 for the sod alone.
It’s difficult to determine an overall national average cost for sod installation that homeowners can use to estimate their sod installation cost. That’s because a national average includes lawn sizes from all over the country, lawn sizes that might be nowhere near the size of your own yard.
It’s better to calculate your total cost by square footage for a more accurate estimate rather than using an overall national average.
Shape of area
It’s easier to lay sod in a perfectly square or rectangular yard than an oddly shaped or curved yard.
Professionals will need to take extra steps to make accurate alignments in an oddly shaped yard, such as cutting the turf. Because of the additional labor that’s required, you may be charged a higher labor rate.
Access to area
If the installers don’t have adequate access to the area that needs sodding, they may raise their labor rates.
For example, if you have a large yard or piece of land that requires the installers to carry the sod over a great distance, this will require more time and labor.
Some suppliers charge sod delivery fees. When estimating your total cost, add a delivery fee ranging from $63 to $233 on average.
Ground prep work
Before laying down sod, you’ll need to prepare the ground. You can prepare the ground yourself or hire a professional to do the work for you. Ground preparation is a separate service from sod installation and will cost extra.
Typical ground preparation includes:
- Removing weeds and old grass
- Tilling and grading the soil
- Soil testing
- Installing topsoil
Existing landscaping such as rock gardens or hardscapes can make the installation process difficult.
If a professional landscaper needs to install sod around obstacles in the landscape, it will take more effort to achieve correct alignment and may lead to higher labor costs.
Since remodeling the lawn is on your mind, why not consider a few extra services to boost your yard’s curb appeal? You may even find you prefer one of these services over sod installation. While sod installation does give you a green lawn quickly, there are other options to get green grass.
Seeding your lawn may take time to show results, but it’s a much cheaper option than sodding. Seeding also comes in handy if you’re sodding and encounter a few bare areas that need filling in.
The typical cost for seeding a lawn ranges from $336 to $1,010, with most homeowners paying $668. Remember that these averages include various lawn sizes and may not always apply to the area’s size that you need overseeded or reseeded.
Homeowners looking to save on water and landscape maintenance may be interested in opting for synthetic turf.
On average, artificial turf installation costs $12.33 per square foot, usually ranging between $5.50 to $18.75 per square foot. Expect to pay between $3,104 to $7,245 for artificial turf installation in a 500-square-foot area, with most homeowners paying $6,165.
Before laying down sod, you may want to consider the convenience of a built-in sprinkler system. You won’t have to worry about finding the time to water your lawn, and you can rest easy knowing your turf is staying well hydrated.
The average cost for installing a sprinkler system in a quarter-acre yard (10,890 square feet) runs between $2,080 to $3,520.
Cost of DIY Sod Installation
One option for installing sod is to do it yourself. Remember that preparing the ground is back-aching and time-consuming work, and you may not always get the same results as hiring a professional. You’ll also need to invest time to learn how to install sod the right way.
|WHAT YOU WILL NEED||AVERAGE COST||PURPOSE|
|Sod||$0.30 to $0.83 per square foot||Typically costs between $2,813 to $7,603 for a 1/5-acre|
|Fertilizer||$5 to $10 per 1,000 square feet||To maintain the lawn|
|Tape Measure||$10||To measure yard space and sod|
|Home soil test||$14||To test the soil|
|Lawn roller rental||4 Hours $14 / Full Day $21 / + $25 Deposit||To flatten and smooth out the sod|
|Shovel||$24||To remove soil or old grass in small areas|
|Garden knife||$27||To trim the sod|
|Tamper||$50||To tamp down and level the soil|
|Rototiller rental||4 Hours $53 / Full Day $76 / + $50 to $150 deposit||Soil preparation|
|Sod cutter rental||4 Hours $64 / Full Day $91 / + $150 Deposit||To remove old grass in large areas|
|Fertilizer spreader||$81||To spread the fertilizer|
|Wheelbarrow||$90||To transport sod, soil, and other materials|
DIY cost vs. professional sod installation cost
Good DIY projects are popular for saving money and providing professional results. But when it comes to DIY sod installation, material and rental costs can add up fast, and you won’t always get the professional touch you’re looking for. Installing sod yourself also takes lots of time and physical labor.
When you hire a professional, sod installers will do all the heavy lifting for you, including delivering the sod, preparing the ground, and installing your new lawn. Hiring a professional often will prove more economical than laying the sod yourself.
Cost of Sod Installation by Location
This pricing guide covers the national average cost of sod and sod installation. On a local scale, these sod prices may vary depending on where you live. If you live far away from sod suppliers, you can expect your delivery fees to rise. Sod farms in your area may also have higher or lower sod rates than the national average.
FAQ About Sod
Sod is a thick layer of grass growing on 1 to 2 inches of soil. It’s typically sold by the pallet and placed on nutrient-rich soil to take root. Sod provides an instant green lawn, whereas a seeded lawn can take one to two years to mature. Sod is more expensive than seeding but is far more affordable than artificial grass.
Sod will usually take root within 14 days. You’ll know the root system has developed once the sod becomes difficult to lift off the ground. Do not disturb your sod during the two weeks it’s taking root.
A pallet of sod usually covers 450 to 650 square feet, with 450 square feet being the most common. Always ask your supplier how much he or she provides in a pallet of sod.
Buying sod is the easy part. Laying sod is back-straining work. Consider hiring a professional to install your sod — that way your hardest work may be tamping down the new sod with your bare feet. (That’s all LawnStarter’s former editor-in-chief Dan Ray had to do when he had sod installed at his Austin home.)
Remember, you can expect to pay $0.87 to $1.76 per square foot for labor and sod or $0.30 to $0.83 per square foot for the sod alone. If you have purchased the sod and only need to pay for labor, some professionals may charge an hourly rate that’s typically between $37.50 to $77.50 an hour.
These sodding prices will vary depending on several factors, including the sod type you buy and the amount of labor required for prep and lay down your new lawn.
Main Photo Credit: Henry Burrows / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0