Hydroseeding makes it easier and faster to grow in a thick lush lawn. It is more expensive than traditional overseeding but cheaper than laying sod.

Hydroseeding costs between $425 to $3,500. The cost per sq. ft. is $0.08 to $0.25. Price varies depending on the size of the lawn and the seed type used. An average residential US lawn size is 10,500 square feet (¼ acre) and would cost $750 to $2,000 to hydroseed with everything included.

Some companies will try to quote you by the hour, but a fixed price is the way to go. That way, no matter how long they take, the price will not change.

National Average: $ 1,200
Low Estimate: $425
High Estimate: $3,500

Hydroseeding Cost Guide 2021
ServiceQuantityLowHigh
Hydroseeding cost per sq ft1 sq. ft.$0.08$0.2
Hydroseeding cost per hour1 hour$55$125
Hydroseeding cost per ¼ acre¼ acre$750$2,000
Average Hydroseeding cost7,500 - 20,000 sq.ft.$425$3,500

Chances that you will get hydroseeding quotes based on square feet (size of your lawn) are quite high because it’s most preferred among lawn care companies in the US. The average hydroseeding cost in the country based on lawn size ranges between $0.08 to 0.25 per square feet.

The rate offered might vary slightly from one company to the other and also based on specific conditions on your lawn. For instance, the contractor might raise their hydroseeding rates if you have a lawn with steep slopes, lots of obstacles such as trees and other solid objects or if the soil is in very bad condition.

how much does hydroseeding cost

Hydroseeding Cost Per Hour

Some companies prefer to quote hourly rates in the United states meaning the total cost will be determined by the number of hours spent hydroseeding your lawn. I think this is to be avoided as the price is blow-out to be much larger than expected. Always ask for a written estimate or quote. The national average for hydroseeding and pretty much any other landscaping job ranges between $55 to $125 per hour.

Hydroseeding Per Acre

Large lawns above 10,000 square feet or more than an acre in surface area are normally quoted based on acreage. Expect to pay amounts between $2,500 to $7,000 per acre for hydroseeding. The cost should include everything including machinery, labor, materials, and other requirements. Note that some contractors would prefer that you purchase the hydroseeding slurry and only pay for the services but should be clearly stated in the quote.

Cost to Hydroseed By Lawn Size

Yard sizeAverage cost
2,500 Square feet$250 - $600
5,000 Square feet$400 - $1,000
10,000 Square feet$750 - $2,000
½ acre$1,500 - $4,000
1 acre$2,500 - $7,000
3 acre$7,000 - $15,000

Note: The average hydroseeding cost with all the requirements catered for (labor, machinery, and materials, grain slurry) is roughly $0.08 to $0.2 using the current market rates.

Hydroseeding Vs Sod - Which Is Cheaper?

Another alternative to planting new lawn grass is to use sod. Using sod involves transferring a fully grown mass of turf from one lawn to a bare patch of lawn. Sod is usually bought in bulk from landscaping companies that grow and maintain different types of lawn grass for sale.

It is significantly cheaper to use hydroseed as compared to sod. On average 70 – 80% cheaper in fact. Fully grown grass is more expensive and requires a lot of resources to grow, then dig up, transport and lay. Sod is great for smaller lawns if you want instant grass, but if you are willing to wait, then you will save a lot with hydroseeding.

As a comparison, a single acre of sod bought from a landscaping company costs between $10,000 to $15,000 depending on the type of grass and size. Add other expenses such as labor, machinery, and transportation to the site and you could be looking at amounts in the range of $25,000 to $40,000. Compare that to an equivalent amount of hydroseed that costs between $2000 to $3000 and could cost anything between $8,000 to $8,500 to apply on an acre of lawn with the help of a hydroseed contractor.

ServiceQuantityLowHigh
Hydroseeding1 sq. ft.$0.08$0.2
Hydroseeding¼ acre$750$2,000
Hydroseeding½ acre$1,500$4,000
Laying sod1 sq. ft.$0.32$0.85
Laying sod¼ acre$3,200$8,500
Laying sod½ acre$5,800$14,500

Cheapest: Hydroseeding = 4.2 X times cheaper

Difference Between Hydroseeding And Regular Seeds

Hydroseeding differs from regular seeding in the way the seed and other necessary components are applied to the soil. When hydroseeding, all the components (water, fiber mulch, seed, fertilizer) are mixed into a thick slurry and sprayed onto the soil. On the other hand, regular seeds are applied separately and the other components are added before or later to help germination. Hydroseeding is generally faster and more effective than regular seed planting although it might cost a little more. At the same time, hydroseeding is the most preferred method for large lawn sizes above 5000 square feet.

ServiceQuantityLowHigh
Hydroseeding1 sq. ft.$0.08$0.2
Hydroseeding¼ acre$750$2,000
Hydroseeding½ acre$1,500$4,000
Regular seeding1 sq. ft.$0.025$0.04
Regular seeding¼ acre$270$450
Regular seeding½ acre$480$890

Cheapest: Regular seeding = 3 X times cheaper

Average Cost to DIY Seed By Brand

Purchasing hydroseed slurry on your own and having someone else spray it on your lawn is a possible approach to reduce costs. There are several brands producing ready to apply hydroseed in the United States. See below a table showing how much it would cost to purchase hydroseed slurry from popular brands in the country:

BrandPriceCoveragePrice per square ft.
Scotts$25600 square feet$0.04
Hardboard siding labor cost$401000 square feet$0.04
Other job supply cost$351,400 square feet$0.025

Hydroseed products are quite inexpensive as you can probably tell from the estimates above. You will however have to spend a little more to either hire spreading equipment or have a lawn care/ landscaping company to prepare and properly apply the slurry on your lawn.

hydroseeding a large quarter acre property

Do I Need to Prepare the Lawn Before Hydroseeding?

You need to do several things before hydroseeding a lawn starting with preparing the soil ready for planting. Mixing and spraying any amount of slurry on unprepared soil will not have the desired effect especially if there is existing vegetation like dried grass or weeds. Dry compacted soil will need to be tilled and watered to absorb the hydroseed slurry more easily. In the case of existing lawns, proper aeration is required before hydroseeding to ensure the new seed and nutrients seep into the soil more easily.

Here are some of the things you need to do to prepare a lawn for hydroseeding:

  1. Start by applying herbicide to the entire perch of land to kill any existing vegetation ready for a new lawn. Wait for a few weeks for the herbicide to eliminate all the grass before you rake them away.
  2. Next, use a tractor or any method you prefer to “till” the soil, ready for seeding. Seek professional help if you need to grade the lawn or are unsure of how to prepare the soil. Ideally, you should work for hand in and with the licensed hydroseeding company at this point or have them prepare the soil as they see fit.
  3. Ensure the necessary soil tests are done to ensure it is ready for seeding. You can test for PH levels, nutrient levels, water levels, and do the necessary corrections where needed with the help of your gardener or hydroseeding company.
  4. Prepare the hydroseed slurry as you continue watering and loosening the soil ready for hydroseeding.

How to DIY Hydroseed

Here is what you need to do should you decide to go the DIY route:

Preparation

Start by preparing your lawn as described in the steps above. Preparation may involve clearing existing vegetation on the lawn, tilling and preparing the soil for seeding, and raking any dirt and dead grass off.

Hiring the Equipment

You will need to hire or purchase all or most of the following equipment for the hydroseeding project:

Jet agitated hydroseeder

This machine will help in mixing and spraying the slurry. There are different sizes available depending on the volume and other measurements. A typical 400-gallon jet agitated hydroseeder goes for around $6,000 to purchase and $500 to $800 per day to rent. Smaller capacity models cost less and are cheaper to rent. Jet agitation machines are generally cheaper than paddle agitation machines.

The downside to using a jet agitation machine is that it’s only capable of spraying lightweight or thin slurry. This means they are not good for hydromulching projects or hydroseeding erosion-prone grounds.

Paddle Agitated hydroseeder

This is an alternative to jet agitation and can be used for heavier slurry using heavy components such as wood-based mulch. A typical 100-gallon paddle agitated hydroseeder costs between $3,000 to 4,500 to purchase new although you are better off renting one when you need it.

What Is Hydromulching?

Hydromulching refers to the mixing of mulch, water, and seed to form a thick slurry that can be used to grow a new lawn where there are low nutrient levels in the soil. Hydromulching in this context therefore indicates that a big portion of mulch will be added which will result in a thick nutrient-rich slurry. The resultant slurry ensures better germination and grass health as it has more dead plant matter perfect for soil health and germination.

However, hydromulching is also used to describe the creation of a protective slurry consisting of mulch, water, and other components to prevent soil erosion during revegetation. The hydro-mulch slurry could contain any type of seed besides grass depending on the requirements. For clarity, think of hydromulching as the mixing of mulch slurry with other components with mulch being the main component.

Hydroseeding Material

Hydroseeding Material

You will need to purchase enough mulch, seed, fertilizer, and other components needed to mix your desired hydroseeding slurry. The hydroseeding machine you hire or purchase will also have mixing capabilities. Alternatively, you could go for any of the popular off-the-shelve hydroseeding mixes out there and mix them with water as opposed to creating your mix.

After gathering the materials and equipment, the next steps are pretty straightforward as you will only need to spray the slurry on your lawn systematically covering every inch. Allow it to sit and for the seed to settle into the soil before you start watering it and adding additional fertilizer and mulch where required.

Cost Per Square Foot to DIY Hydroseed Your Lawn

With all the materials and other requirements factored in, it will cost between $0.10 to $ 0.15 to DIY hydroseed your lawn given that you will not be paying for any labor. This is roughly 50 percent less than what you would spend with a licensed hydroseeding company. However, hydroseeding is a labor-intensive job that may end up taking a lot of your time and effort to do properly. Costs may go up if you have to hire extra help and spend multiple days with the rented equipment.

Should I DIY Or Hire A Professional?

Hiring a professional and licensed hydroseeding professional may be a bit more expensive but it has its benefits. The professional team will save you the trouble of having to hire and operate expensive equipment. They will also use their expertise and experience to ensure that your lawn is properly prepared and seeded for healthy grass.

The choice between hiring a professional and going the DIY route, however, comes down to you. If you have the time and understand how to operate the equipment, then DIY hydroseeding would make more sense because it’s cheaper.

FAQ's

Hydroseeding is the process of planting new grass using a liquid mixture of grain, mulch, water, fertilizer, and other components using a spraying machine. It differs from other planting methods in the way all the components are mixed and applied at the same time. Hydroseeding is the most preferred method for large lawns above 10,000 square feet.

It could take between a few hours to a full day or multiple days to hydroseed depending on the size of a lawn. For instance, a standard 10,500 square feet lawn could take between half a day to a full day to properly hydroseed provided the slurry had already been mixed and available at the start. Hydroseeding is a faster planting method than regular grain application or laying of sod.

You can walk on freshly laid hydroseed without causing too much damage but it is preferred that you give it a rest for a few hours to settle. The mulch -grain mixture has to form an even blanket over the surface so that you have even grass growth. Disturbing freshly laid hydroseed could create uneven patches later.

There is no perfect time to hydroseed especially since you will be using an artificial sprinkler system to water the lawn. However, during or just before fall and spring are considered ideal times due to favorable weather that helps germination and lawn health.

It takes between five to seven days for hydroseeded grass to start sprouting with proper care and constant weathering. You will have a full-grown lawn within a month or so depending on the weather, type of grass, fertilizer used, and other factors.

Water is one of the primary components in creating a hydroseed slurry. You will use the right amounts of water mixed with mulch and grain with other components to create your hydroseed slurry. At the same time, your hydroseeded lawn will need to be watered regularly to allow for germination.

Hydroseed mixes consist of safe materials that are safe for all animals and other living organisms. The mulch, fertilizer, and grain used is mostly organic and non-toxic to living things.

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.