One of the best ways to improve your property’s value while enhancing its curb appeal is installing sod in your yard.
The average American home spends between $1000 – $2,000 for the installation on a 1,000 square foot lawn. These costs might be lower if you choose it as a DIY.
The total costs you can expect to spend on sod installation will mainly depend on the cost of labor, materials, and the yard’s size. For many homeowners, these will range between $1 -$2 per square foot.
Most professionals charge around $35 – $75 per hour, and approximately $0.24 – $0.64 per square foot on material costs.
|Sod cost||per sq. ft||$0.35||$0.85|
|Sod cost (installed)||per sq. ft||$1||$2|
|Sod installation labor cost||1 Hr||$35||$75|
|Sod installation cost 1000 sq. ft. (installed)||1000 sq. ft||$350||$850|
Cost to sod per square foot
The average cost to sod your lawn is $1.50 per square foot, including the materials and labor costs. This will come to around $1,500 for a 1,000-square foot lawn.
You could also opt to purchase materials beforehand, then only pay for labor. For this, you’ll incur between $700 – $1,500, with most pros taking about 20 hours to complete a 1,000 sq ft lawn.
Cost of sodding per ¼ acre
For a quarter-acre lawn, expect to spend between $10,890 – $21,780. The material costs amount to around $2,613.60 and $13,939.20, and the rest is labor costs.
The labor costs are higher since it may take the lawn contractors at least a week to get it ready.
|Sod installation cost||¼ acre||$3,810||$9,250|
|Sodding cost||½ acre||$7,620||$18,500|
|Cost to lay Sod by the acre||1 acre||$15,240||$37,000|
|Sod install cost||2 acre||$30,480||$74,000|
Things that affect the price of sod installation Besides the labor and material costs, the quote you receive for the project might be much higher due to the following factors:
Tree roots – Your contractor will charge you more to remove any tree roots that might have spread through the lawn.
Access – A narrow access pathway to your yard will force the pros to carry the sod by hand, which increases their labor hours.
Topography – If your lawn is steep-sloping, you’ll first have to level that ground before laying sod. This may cost you up to $1,500.
Oddly shaped yards – Contractors charge more for curved lawns compared to regular-shaped lawns since they need more treatment cuts in length for better accuracy.
Existing landscaping – The more landscaping features you have on your lawn, e.g., decorative boulders, pavers, flower beds, the more difficult laying sod will be. This will mean increased labor costs.
Ground Prep – If your lawn needs treatment or manicure before the sod installation, most professionals will charge you an extra $0.50 – $1.50 per square foot to do this.
Removal of old sod – Before laying the new sod, you’ll first have to remove the old sod on your lawn. For small lawns, you can do it yourself or rent a sod cutter for about $100 for a full day.
Sod delivery – Expect to pay an additional $50 – $250 for the sod delivery to your place, depending on the distance from the source farm.
However, some contractors waive this fee for large lawns.
How much does a pallet of sod cost?
It depends on the type of sod. There are three types of sod available in the market:
- Economy or Utility-grade sod
- Mid-grade sod
- High-grade sod
On average, most homeowners spend around $265 for a pallet of sod. Most utility-grade sod cost between $0.20 – $0.30 per sq. ft and mid-grade sod costs $0.50 -$0.65 per sq. ft.
High-grade sod costs between $0.70 – $0.80 per sq. ft. These prices vary depending on your location in the country.
|Utility-Grade Sod||1 Pallet||$100||$150|
|Mid-Grade Sod||1 Pallet||$250||$325|
|High-Grade Sod||1 Pallet||$350||$450|
|Average cost of sod by the pallet||1 Pallet||$230||$310|
How many square feet does a pallet of sod cover?
A pallet of sod covers between 400 – 700 square feet, depending on the sod farm you purchase from. The 500 square foot sod is, however, the most common among homeowners in the country.
What is the cheapest sod to install?
Bahiagrass. This warm season, drought-resistant grass costs between $0.20 to $0.40 per square foot or $90 – $170 per pallet. It has become very popular among homeowners because it can withstand heavy foot traffic.
It also grows with a deep root system and spreads quickly with minimal need for watering and extreme mowing.
Difference between grades of sod
As earlier mentioned, the sod comes in three grades. Each grade refers to the sod’s ability to attach itself to the soil and protect itself from diseases.
- Utility-Grade – Utility grade sod is the cheapest sod but comprises very fragile grass. This sod requires a lot of maintenance to keep it strong and protect it from diseases.
- Mid-Grade sod – This is the standard sod in the market. The strength of the root system and the disease resistance for this sod are good. They also don’t require intensive maintenance.
- Top-Grade sod – This sod is also known as the premium grade. It’s the most expensive, but the grasses in this sod are strong, healthy, and low maintenance. They also have the strongest and deepest root systems.
Sod installation cost by type
The cost to install sod varies depending on the type of sod you choose. There are two types of sod in the market: the creeping type and the bunch type.
The creeping type sod consists of drought-resistant grasses mainly found in the southern parts of the country. The grasses used (e.g., bluegrass, St. Augustine) tend to spread quickly above and below the ground.
Bunch type sod refers to that only spreads from the crown (centre) of the grass, e.g., Fescue and Ryegrass.
Here are the grasses used in sod-formation and their cost.
This is among the most popular cool-season grasses in the country due to its lush color, tolerance to heavy foot traffic, and easy maintenance. Kentucky bluegrass spreads aggressively and can also be used to fill bald spots on your lawn.
Its sod goes for around $160 to $180 per pallet or $0.35 to $0.40 per square foot.
Perennial Ryegrass is a cool-season grass native to Europe and Asia that goes for around $0.50 – $0.84 per square foot. The grass is loved due to its high density, quick growth rate, and excellent cold tolerance.
In many cases, perennial Ryegrass is combined with the annual bluegrass for a healthier and stronger outcome.
A pallet of the grass goes for $160 – $300 or $0.35 – $0.65 per square foot.
Fescue grass is popular among most homeowners in the country’s Northern and transitional parts, thanks to its cold tolerance and drought-resistant characteristics.
The grass is also disease resistant, and develops deeper root systems than most other cool-season grasses. It’s pallet costs between $165 – $295 or $0.35 – $0.65 per square foot.
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass to be among the fastest-growing grasses for lawns. It’s popular among lawn-owners and even football pitches because it can easily tolerate heavy foot traffic. It’s also drought-resistant, pest tolerant, very durable, and it can recover by itself quickly.
A pallet of the grass costs between $160 – $385 or $0.35 to $0.85 per square foot.
The St. Augustine grass is a grass native to the US, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa. It’s popular in these tropical and subtropical areas mainly due to its salt and humidity tolerance.
Compared to other warm-season grass, St. Augustine grows relatively quickly and forms a very dense carpet-like pattern. It also maintains a dark blue-green color on a variety of soils with good drainage.
The grass costs between $0.35 to $0.75 per square foot or around $160 to $340 per pallet.
Over the years, Zoysia grass has grown to be many homeowner’s cure for all lawn problems. It’s a warm-season grass type with good cold, heat, drought-tolerance that thrives in the Southern and transitional zones of the country.
It can also accommodate heavy foot traffic. Another advantage of this grass is that it grows to be dense with low water and maintenance requirements.
A pallet of Zoysia costs between $200 – $300 or between $0.50 and $0.80 per square foot.
Dura blend grass is a variant of the Tall Fescue grass mixed with the Kentucky Bluegrass. This blend allows it to produce a green, dense, and healthy lawn that quickly grows and spreads.
Dura blend is disease tolerant, shade-tolerant, and drought-tolerant. It thrives well when exposed to at least four hours a day. It goes for around $0.40 – $0.68 per square foot, and a pallet of the sod averagely costs $260.
Centipede grass is among the most popular grass in the country, known for its heat-tolerance and low maintenance requirements.
Centipede grass can also stay green all through winter and lacks a true dormancy period like most other warm-season grasses. Many homeowners opt for this due to it’s low maintenance.
A pallet of the grass goes for $340 – $385 or between $0.75 to $0.85 per square foot.
|Kentucky Blue Grass||Per sq. ft.||$0.35||$0.40|
|Perennial Ryegrass||Per sq. ft.||$0.35||$0.65|
|Fescue||Per sq. ft.||$0.35||$0.85|
|Bermuda||Per sq. ft.||$0.35||$0.85|
|St. Augustine||Per sq. ft.||$0.35||$0.75|
|Zoysia||Per sq. ft.||$0.50||$0.80|
|Dura Blend||Per sq. ft.||$0.40||$0.68|
|Centipede||Per sq. ft.||$0.75||$0.85|
Removal of old sod cost
If you need to have your old sod removed before laying the new one, expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 – $2,000 for the complete job. Most professionals will charge between $0.20 to $0.30 per square foot for the removal.
This cost usually includes the disposal of the waste.
For your resodding project, expect to spend anywhere from $1,300 to $7,000. This cost includes preparing and treating your lawn and the complete installation. If your lawn is already prepared, your overall costs will range between $1,300 – $4,500.
Alternatives to sod & their cost
If you don’t think laying sod is the way for your lawn, here are other options you can try:
Hydroseeding, which is cheaper than sod, refers to the process of planting grass over a large area through a pressure water hose. In this method, water-based grass seeds, mulch, lime, fertilizers, and other components are mixed into a slurry then sprayed to give your lawn a healthy start.
Expect to spend between $0.08 to $0.25 per square foot or between $425 – $3,500.
If your lawn is not in bad shape, you can try planting new grass seeds over your existing yard. Overseeding fixes all the bald patches on your lawn, improves its turf density, and enhances the grass colors.
Most homeowners report spending around $275 for overseeding, with the actual range being between $125 – $670.
If your lawn is almost gone and you don’t have a plan to revive it, incorporating hardscaping can actually help give it some life. Hardscaping refers to the integration of hard non-living objects like stones, gravel, and pave ways to your lawn’s landscape.
You can replace your dead grass with colorful gravels or create concrete pavers in the most affected areas.
Cost to install a sprinkler system
The national average cost for installing a sprinkler system for your lawn is around $2,500. Depending on the size of your lawn, the cost of a professional installation may range from $1,700 to about $5,000.
Other factors that may influence the installation costs include the type of sprinkler system, the quality of the parts, permit costs (if any), and the state of your lawn.
Best sod for cooler climates
One of the key factors you have to consider when choosing sod for your lawn is the climate of your area.
If you live in an area with cooler climates, especially the northern states, your lawn needs cool-season grasses. These are grasses that thrive during the chilly winters, fall, and spring.
Examples of such grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, Annual Ryegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, and Fine Fescue.
Best sod for warmer climates
If you live in the country’s hotter southern parts, the best sods for your lawn are the warm-season grasses. These are grasses that can tolerate long spells of a hot desert-like climate.
Examples of such grass include Buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, Centipede grass, and Zoysia grass.
What’s the best time of year to lay sod?
Late summer or early to mid-fall. During this time, the weather is cool, and temperatures are perfect for the grass to grow. However, for warm-season grasses, spring is the ideal time.
How long does it take to sod a yard?
It depends on the size of your yard and the number of people working on it. In most cases, it takes around 90 minutes for one person to install one pallet of sod. For a 1000 square foot lawn, the entire process may take just under four hours.
If you hire a contractor with a large team, they will take much shorter.
How long after install can I walk on sod?
Around two weeks. Your new sod takes the first two weeks to germinate and develop deep, strong roots. But even after these two weeks, avoid playing or unnecessary walking on the sod until you’ve mowed it at least four times.
Do you need a permit to lay sod?
No! For most homes, you won’t need a permit to add new sod to your lawn. The only time you might need a license is if you want to add a fence or if you want to trim any tree on your property.
What prep work is needed before laying sod?
The first step to preparing your site before laying sod is removing any rocks, pebbles, and debris from the site. Next is grading to remove any slopes that may affect drainage, and lastly, fertilizing and adding topsoil to improve your soil’s nutrient content.