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How Much Does It Cost To Install Sod?

National Average Change Location | View National
$1,819
Typical Range
$1,026 - $2,682
Low End
$450
High End
$4,500

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Sod Installation Costs

Sod installation costs homeowners an average of $1,819. Project prices typically range between $1,026 and $2,682 but can be as little as $450 or as much as $4,500. Landscaping contractors will prepare the ground and install at a rate of $45 to $75 per hour.

Sod is real grass you can purchase in rolls that have the appearance of a pre-grown grass "mat." You can lay it yourself, but there is an advantage to hiring a professional, as they have special equipment to lay it more evenly and reduce the look of seams.

On This Page

  1. Average Cost Per Square Foot
  2. Price to Resod a Lawn
  3. Prepping Your Lawn
  4. Cost by Grade
  5. Sod Pallet Price Calculator
  6. FAQs
  7. Is DIY Less Expensive?
  8. Advantages of Hiring a Landscaper

Average Cost to Sod a Yard Per Square Foot

Sod costs $0.90 to $2 per square foot to install, including materials and labor. Exact project rates depend on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the size of the area you wish to cover, the amount of ground preparation required, and the time of year.

Grass Installation Costs

Landscaping professionals charge an hourly rate of $45 to $75 to install, though most charge for this project by square footage.

A quote from a pro will include:

  • labor and equipment to unload, place, and sew in the sod.
  • fertilization and initial watering using the homeowner’s water source

If you require removal of existing grass and other ground preparation, the total project price will increase accordingly.

Size of Area to Cover

The largest single factor in the cost of installation is the size of the area you need to cover. The larger the square footage, the more material you will need, and the more labor you will require to lay it.

Most pros charge by the square foot. If your yard is an irregular shape, the installer should measure the area before giving you an estimate. Curves, small hills, and other such terrain features can affect the measurements of the area. An installer may charge more for laying it in a backyard if there is limited access.

Limited access can include things such as:

  • Less than 7'-wide passage from front to back
  • How far back the backyard is set (often a problem on large houses)
  • How easy it is to get to the backyard (long driveway, stairs, etc.)

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Cost of Grading Steep Sloped Land to Lay New Sod

If your property is on a steep slope, you should probably budget for the cost to reslope a lawn, which runs from about $1,000 to $3,000. If you choose to lay it on a steep slope, you can expect to pay more in labor. If there are many rocks and trees, or if the soil is highly compacted and needs to be rototilled prior to installation, there may be additional charges as well.

Steep slopes require different techniques for prepping and laying the sod. A lot of gas-powered equipment relies on gravity to feed fuel into the system, and if the equipment is at an odd angle, fuel may not be able to get to the system. This means you will have to complete the task by hand, which will take quite a bit longer. You’ll also need to stake the rolls in place to keep them from slipping.

Backyard Landscaping Obstacles

Some of your yard’s existing features may act as obstacles to installation and, as a result, could impact your project price.

  • Tree roots are the bane of rototillers. Roots can run close to the surface where a rototiller could cut them. This can kill a young tree. Or, a large tree could have roots so thick that the rototiller can’t cut through them. In some cases, roots may break the tiller.
  • Large, decorative rocks are another obstacle to a tiller. You should move them, if possible, or you will have to till the ground around them by hand if the grass will go right up to them. If you have rocky soil with numerous smaller, yet problematic, rocks just below the upper layers, they can hamper the installer’s ability to smooth the ground to receive the grass.
  • Existing hardscape features like concrete paths, brick walkways, or water features will need to be removed or worked around. Either way, this will add to the time and cost.
  • When is the Best Time to Put Down Sod?

    While tree roots and hidden rocks can cause unexpected delays, they are minor compared to the weather. A sudden rain can wreak havoc on your prepped yard. Your carefully tamped and fertilized or composted site can quickly turn into a mud pit. If you can’t cover it with a tarp, you may need to re-compost and re-tamp before putting in the new material.

    Temperature is another aspect of nature that can delay your new yard. Generally, you should install in the spring or fall. Extreme temperatures in summer and winter may make it difficult for sod to grow. Fertilizing when the weather is too hot can burn the grass. Installing during cold weather can hamper the roots from establishing themselves. Mild, clear weather is ideal for laying fresh grass and will help keep you from having to buy more to replace the damaged sections.

    Labor Charge for Adding a Sprinkler or Irrigation System

    On average, the cost to install an irrigation system ranges from about $1,800 to $3,400. Prices for a simple system on a bare yard (with no lawn) can be less. If you plan to have one put in, the time to do it is before the grass goes on. Installing one in an existing yard will cost more.

    Having an irrigation system is very helpful for maintenance. If you already have an in-ground sprinkler system, be sure the pro knows about it and where the lines are. If you decide to have one put in, some installers can also add irrigation systems while others will have people they routinely work with do the job.

    Find the Best Sod Installers Near You

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    Cost to Resod a Lawn

    The rate for this service is the same as installing new grass at $0.90 and $2.25 per square foot, including the sod itself. While labor rates to install replacement grass remain the same, removing and disposing of existing material can add between $1,000 and $2,000 in labor to your total project rates. Exact costs will depend on the size of the coverage area and the price of the species you choose.

    Prepping Your Lawn for Sod

    You may need to hire a landscaping professional to prepare your lawn to accept new grass. There are a few steps to this process:

    • Removal of old lawn – $1,000 to $2,000 – The old lawn must come out. You cannot lay sod on top of an existing lawn. This normally requires the use of a special tool called a sod-cutter that cuts away the lawn to the top of the root. You can use a shovel for a very small area.
    • Weeding – Weeds are obstinate things and, once you have removed the old lawn, you must pull all weeds out by the roots by hand. If you don’t, the weeds will use the new grass as a handy source of nutrients. This will allow them to take over your newly-installed lawn in no time.
    • Rototill – Tilling the soil loosens the dirt and allows the grass to establish roots. Tilling should be 4 to 6 inches deep. You can purchase a rototiller for $130 to $150. You can also rent a unit for $50 half-day or $80 for full-day with a $125 deposit.
    • Tamping – You will need to pack down the area until smooth using a tool called a hand tamper, available at hardware stores for about $35. Power tampers are heavy and compact the soil too tightly, so you should complete this task by hand.
    • Fertilizers or composts – The cost to fertilize your lawn will depend on the type of fertilizer you use. Fertilizers or composts should be the appropriate type for the lawn, and you should spread and rake them in evenly. You may need to budget for the cost to test your soil to determine the compost you need. The area should slope away from any buildings and provide adequate drainage.
    • Watering – You should water the prepared area two or three times to encourage the soil to “settle.” During this time, some areas may sink or form holes. Fill these in to keep the area level.

    Get Quotes from Top Local Sod Pros

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    Sod by Grade

    The average cost of sod bought from a home improvement store depends on the grade. The grade is the overall health and strength of the root system. A low-grade version might take a little extra care on the homeowner’s part to maintain and might be a little more prone to common diseases than higher-grade versions. The overall average price per square foot is:

    • Economy Grade: $0.30
    • Midgrade: $0.50
    • High Grade: $0.80

    You can distinguish high-quality from low-quality material based on four main factors:

    1. Soil - Sod should have no more than 1” of soil attached to it. Too much will prevent proper root attachment. Too little won’t allow the roots to survive until they have a chance to take root.
    2. Fertilization - Properly-fertilized soil is drought resistant, more durable, and better looking.
    3. Maturity - More mature grass can handle transplantation better than weak, thin grass. Blades should be at least 2” long. Additionally, roots should look tangled and messy, and grass color should be consistent.
    4. Timing - More than 8 hours between cutting the sod and replanting it leads to weakness and moisture loss.

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    Sod Pallet Price Calculator

    Prices vary by the square foot when sold in rolls or pallets. A pallet will cover about 450 square feet of ground.

    The four most common species of grass used for sod are Zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Fescue. How much each type costs depends on where you live. The species you want may not be very common where you live and will cost more to transport, if it’s available at all.

    There are many other types of sod available, depending on your area. For more information, visit our guide on Sod Prices.

    Zoysia

    A native of the Far East, Zoysia does well in climates that replicate places like Japan and the Philippines. Zoysia is slow-growing, which means you won’t have to mow it as often. However, this also means it will be slow to bounce back from damage.

    The average price per square foot is:

    • Economy Grade: $0.40
    • Midgrade: $0.45
    • High Grade: $0.60

    Bermuda

    Bermuda grass comes from the East. Some people see it as a weed, while others love it as a lawn. Bermuda is a fast-growing and very invasive species. Its root system is about 6 feet deep. It will be very hard to get rid of if you change your mind, but its deep root system makes it very drought tolerant.

    The average price for Bermuda grass per square foot is:

    • Economy Grade: $0.35
    • Midgrade: $0.60
    • High Grade: $0.85

    St. Augustine

    This type is drought and salt tolerant and handles heat quite well. It’s a fast-growing grass that will need frequent mowing, but it can suffer if you cut it too short. It doesn’t handle foot traffic well. It grows best in warm, coastal areas and can handle shade, but it doesn’t do well where temperatures get below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a rich, green color that makes it very popular despite its shortcomings.

    The average price of St. Augustine per square foot is:

    • Economy Grade: $0.30
    • Midgrade: $0.50
    • High Grade: $0.70

    Fescue

    Fescue is one of the most popular grass species. It has about 500 subspecies, the most famous of which is Kentucky 31, which helped recover the land devastated by the Dust Bowl. You can find fescue all around the world. Although the shorter varieties don’t handle heavy foot traffic well, taller varieties do, and can stay green all year round with proper maintenance. Fescue is low maintenance, and you can leave clippings on the grass to serve as nutrients.

    The average per-square-foot price of Fescue is:

    • Economy Grade: $0.25
    • Midgrade: $0.45
    • High Grade: $0.65

    Shopping for Sod

    It is possible to buy your own material and have someone else lay it. This may affect any guarantees the installer might offer, so be sure to discuss it with your pro beforehand. It is beneficial to you, however, because you have direct control over the type and quality you choose.

    Your yard may have an unusual or complex layout. If you’re buying the grass but are going to have a professional install it, the pro will often be the one to do the measuring. They will normally add a little extra to account for difficulties, around 5 to 10 percent of the total project price.

    Hire a Trusted Pro to Install Your Sod

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    FAQs

    How Do You Know How Much Sod to Buy?

    A landscaping professional will measure your yard for you as part of their initial quote. To measure your property yourself,

    1. Sketch the outline of your yard, breaking it into smaller sections, if needed.
    2. Measure the areas in feet, writing the measurements down as you go.
    3. Multiply the length and width of each area and add them all together.
    4. To calculate the amount needed by yard, divide your square feet measurements by 9.

    Be as accurate as possible, as most material is non-returnable once purchased.

    Which is the Cheapest to Install & Maintain – Sod vs. Seeding

    While the cost of installing sod exceeds the cost of seeding a lawn by about $1 per square foot, seed is generally more difficult to maintain over time. Seeded lawns can take up to two years to grow in completely and require consistent weed control. Sod can immediately increase your home’s curb appeal and simply requires initial watering and fertilizing.

    How Long After Installation Can You Use Your Lawn?

    Most pros suggest waiting two weeks to use your lawn regularly. In the meantime, you should only walk on it to water it. After six weeks, roots should be stable enough to resume regular lawn and garden care like mowing and edging.

    How Much Does Sod Replacement & Removal Cost?

    The price to resod a lawn will run $0.50 to $2.15 per square foot, including materials. It can cost an extra $1,000 to $2,000 for removal of existing material.

    What is the Cost to Install Topsoil?

    Topsoil sells for between $12 and $30 per cubic yard, depending on where you live. Topsoil delivery costs range from $15 to $200 or more, depending on weight and distance. Expect to pay $75 to $350 for five cubic yards, delivered. For smaller projects, you may want to consider purchasing bagged topsoil from your local hardware store at a rate of $2 to $5 per bag.

    Since the quality of the topsoil can affect the success of installation, homeowners may want to test their soil quality before starting their project. Home improvement stores and online retailers sell kits for $12 to $20. Local agricultural cooperative extension offices may distribute kits free of charge.

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    Is DIY Less Expensive?

    The total price for a DIY job is about $2,000, not including your time. You may decide that learning how to lay sod is simple enough that you will save money by doing it yourself. But keep in mind that to do a great job, you should have a rototiller and a lawn roller to help prepare the soil and lay the grass evenly and flatly. If you need to rent this equipment, you may save money or break even by hiring a pro. Additionally, if you do not know how to use the equipment, you may regret that you decided to do it yourself after all.

    DIY Sod Installation Equipment and Materials
    Materials PurposeCost
    Spade or shovelGrass removal in small areas$10-$20
    Sod-cutterGrass removal in large areas$80 per full-day rental; $150 average deposit
    RototillerSoil preparation$130-$350 to buy; $50 per half-day rental; $80 per full-day rental; $125 average deposit
    Home soil testDetermine compost needed$12-$15
    Compost/FertilizerMaintenance$10 per 1,000 square feet
    Fertilizer spreaderSpreading fertilizerabout $50
    Hand tamperPacking soilabout $35
    SodInclude a 5-10% overage$0.30 to $0.80 per square foot
    Garden knifeTrimming sod$4-$20
    OverseedOptional$50
    Lawn rollerSmoothing & eliminating air pockets$120-$150

    Reasons to DIY

    The big advantage of DIY is the price. It can cut your cost by around half of what you would pay a professional. Although a pro can sometimes get material at a reduced rate, there are still labor charges, transportation charges, and other factors that affect the overall price.

    • Choice – Not all installers work with all species of grass. You may decide you want a type that isn’t commonly available in your area. Hiring a contractor would cost you significantly more if they even are willing to order that type. By doing it yourself, you can drive where you need to (or rent a truck and drive it yourself) in order to get exactly the kind you want.
    • Scheduling – You do the job on your own schedule. If you remove your old lawn and an emergency comes up, you are free to drop everything and take care of it. You don’t have to re-schedule the contractor; you only have to deal with a partial yard for as long as it takes to handle the crisis. The only caveat is that sod can’t wait after delivery, but if you can protect your yard, you don’t have to have it delivered right away.
    • Knowing the crew – Even though contractors are professionals with qualified crews, some people simply aren’t comfortable with having strangers around their house for a couple of days, even if they are licensed and bonded. You might hire some friends or neighbors to help out, people who you know and who might be willing to help you out in exchange for a barbecue after you complete the job.
    • Control – Even when you hire a contractor, you have a good degree of control. But by doing it yourself, everything is based on your say-so no matter what happens. Any modifications you want to make in the middle of the job are yours to make. There’s no negotiating – you simply design your changes and go for it. For example, if you suddenly decide that installing an irrigation system is a good idea, you don’t have to stop work and figure out the details with the contractor. All you have to do is design and put in the system.

    Talk to a Sod Installer In Your Area

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    Advantages of Hiring a Landscaper to Install Sod

    Many landscapers will charge you a price per square foot that includes both installation and material. The biggest advantage of hiring a pro is the end result. A professional team can hide seams, level the ground properly, work with extreme slopes, and handle things like curvy lawn borders and irregularly-shaped lawns. Other advantages include:

    • Equipment – A team will already have the necessary equipment. A DIY replacement will require you to purchase or rent equipment.
    • Time – It takes one day to prep the yard – removing the old lawn, weeding, leveling, grading – and then another lugging rolls or pallets around to where they need to be – cutting, watering, correcting, filling in imperfections. You can complete it in a weekend, but if you have to go to work on Monday, you will probably still be quite sore and exhausted.
    • Design – What kind of lawn do you want? What species of grass should you buy? How much shade does your yard get? A professional will know what does well in what climates and under what conditions.

    Like most do-it-yourself landscaping, installing on your own also has its drawbacks. Unless you are a professional, you increase your chances for making expensive mistakes. It can take a lot longer to do it yourself as opposed to having an experienced crew, and if anything goes wrong, you are responsible for it.

    • Labor – While you may save money, you are taking on a lot of hard labor. A 2’-by-5’ roll weighs about 35 pounds. Lifting and carrying that much weight might not seem so bad the first couple of rolls, but it will begin to wear on you quickly.
    • Experience – Not all suppliers are alike. Some consistently provide good material, while others have a reputation for not taking care of their inventory or of selling product that contains weeds. A good contractor usually knows where to get the best grass for the best price. They also know what species do well in certain areas and conditions. For example, you may have your heart set on a short fescue, but a contractor may notice that you have very active children and a playful dog, so he may recommend a Bermuda instead for its ability to bounce back from traffic damage.
    • Responsibility – If you install improperly and the grass doesn’t take, or if seams are painfully visible, you have no recourse other than to buy more and try again. This is also true if you buy a species that just doesn’t do well in your area. Laying out the rolls correctly, especially on a steep slope, is critical to keep them from slipping or separating from one another.
    • Liability – A good contractor will have insurance in case of an accident on the job. Since they normally use some power equipment, the chance for injuries increases. If you’re doing the job yourself and suffer an injury, or if one of your helpful friends or neighbors gets hurt, you are responsible for any and all medical bills. You will also be responsible for any damage you might do to your own property.
    • Time – As well as being labor-intensive, doing the job on your own can be time-intensive. Depending on the size and complications of your yard, the prepping alone can take all day. Once they deliver the sod, you should lay it promptly and then water to about an inch within 30 minutes of installation. This step is easier with a professional crew.

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    A Hayes More than 1 year ago
    Very detailed ` all aspects of project covered for an informed decision.  Thanks
    mildred bernier More than 1 year ago
    Information was well given. Not knowing who will be hired for the job, this information give the homeowner insight as to pricing and what takes place on each step of the new lawn. Very, very helpful. thank you.
    Linda John More than 1 year ago
    Gave me well informed informaion and a idea for budgeting the cost.  Also gave me ecellent info about hiring professional versus DIY.  Very informative,  Thank you
    Donald Deal More than 1 year ago
    Sod quality is different by region.   California/Arizona has the highest quality (in my experience), whereas Oklahoma Arkansas has the lowest quality sod delivered.   It depends on the field equipment, delivery costs (including the weight of the sod on the highway) and whether or not the sod farm waters the sod or not (to save highway weight and fees).  
    Donald Deal More than 1 year ago
    Irrigation costs are way too low.  I suggest you contact a national irrigation supplier, like Ewing Irrigation, or Hydroscape, and put together prices of materials alone.  
    Additionally, the type of soil determines the labor to trench, or use machinery to trench.  Rental of a trenching machine runs about $250.  That's 1/4 of your bid, and you haven't even purchased the pipe yet!
    Rosalyn House More than 1 year ago
    Was very informative
    harold caruth More than 1 year ago
    Information was very helpfull
    WILLIAM hilliard More than 1 year ago
    helpful
    joann allwine More than 1 year ago
    Very informative for a lay person like myself
    Mauricio Labrada More than 1 year ago
    very good information,thanks
    simon porteus More than 1 year ago
    very helpfull
    Andy Rondon More than 1 year ago
    Knowledge is power. I am not a maintenance person and I believe that if you want something done right, hire a professional. 
    Now I know exactly what I want, how much it'll cost, labor intensive scale  (8),etc.  
    Thanks Home Advisor 
    Tonnie Williams More than 1 year ago
    Really good information.
    Wayne St John More than 1 year ago
    Knowing the in's and out's of cost were very useful for my application
    John Makinen More than 1 year ago
    Very helpful article.  Covers all aspects to consider when installing a new lawn.
    Katharine Hol More than 1 year ago
    Information was the most comprehensive we have seen.
    Darlene Meyers More than 1 year ago
    Great information.

    Keith Kirby More than 1 year ago
    Brought to light points that I didn't consider before. This was very helpful.
    Clifton Pompey More than 1 year ago
    Everything you needed to know was covered good job.
    Michael Goetz More than 1 year ago
    Vary good info. now I can figure out how and when I can get this done by the pro's
    Heriberto Galarza More than 1 year ago
    Great information for planning 
    Jana Vaughn More than 1 year ago
    Good info
    michael small More than 1 year ago
    Helpful advice that should help me make an intelligent decision.
    Calvin Williams More than 1 year ago
    Explain very well
    Michael Karpilow More than 1 year ago
    Helpful advice that should help me make an intelligent decision.
    Harry Hirsch More than 1 year ago
    Good info to know before hiring a contractor.
    allan burdick More than 1 year ago
    Very clearly provides all necessary to make a decision.
    jesus arredondo More than 1 year ago
    500 bucks it is.
    Dmitry Matyukhin More than 1 year ago
    for what?

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