Installing sod in your yard can provide an instantly beautiful lawn that enhances your home and landscaping. Sod installation is often priced by the square foot, but the overall size, condition, and terrain of your yard can affect the price of the job; considering the features of your yard can help you plan and budget for the project.
Average Cost to Install Sod
The price guide below provides average prices for sod installation.
Installing Sod at Homes and Businesses
The size and characteristics of lawns at single-family homes often vary from those at apartments and businesses, affecting the ease with which sod can be installed. Installations at commercial properties and apartment buildings may cost ten to thirty percent more than a typical residential application.
The accessibility of the location for your new sod can influence the pricing of your project. Installing sod in backyards, which are often harder to reach for the delivery of equipment and materials, is typically more expensive than installing sod in a front yard, since it may take more time and manual labor to prepare the site and move the material to where it is needed. Variations in the size, plantings, topography, and hardscape between front and backyards may also affect the time and materials needed for the job.
The overall size of the installation area will affect the price of your project. Though larger areas require more material and handling to place sod, it may be more efficient to use machinery in these applications, making for a faster installation. So, average prices per square foot tend to go down as the yard size increases.
Laying sod in an area that is 1,000 square feet or less may cost $0.80 to $1.50 per square foot, while it may cost $0.50 to $1.00 per square foot for a larger yard. Your contractor can determine what methods and equipment are appropriate for your job and whether pricing will be affected by the overall size of the lot.
Preparation of Installation Site
The condition of your yard and existing lawn determine what degree of preparation is required before your contractor can install sod. If pros need to perform prep work, such as removing sod, tilling, adding topsoil, and raking, the extra work will increase project costs.
This type of work may be charged by square foot or according to the time and materials that are required, so be sure to consult with your contractor about what work will be needed to prepare your site. You may be able to save on costs by doing some prep work yourself, but be sure to follow your contractor’s recommendations to help ensure the best results from your sod installation.
An irrigation system can help ensure successful transplanting of your sod and provide efficient watering for long-term maintenance. If irrigation is already in place in your yard, your contractor can lay sod over the existing system without any added costs.
If you choose to incorporate a system to irrigate your new sod lawn, expect to pay an additional $0.30 to $2.00 per square foot for the extra installation, depending on its complexity. Discuss how to plan and coordinate an irrigation or sprinkler system for your sod project with your contractor, and if he can complete the entire job or recommend another professional to handle irrigation.
Source of Materials
Landscape contractors typically install sod materials and other plantings from suppliers with which they have established relationships. Quality, accessibility, service, and price influence your contractor’s choice of suppliers, and he may select materials he is experienced with or has particular confidence in.
Though your contractor has access to wholesale pricing for sod, the added level of service and quality may bring the price of materials higher than if you were to source them yourself. Be sure to evaluate whether any savings you make by purchasing your own sod are offset by lower product quality, lack of warranty, added installation costs, or inconvenience with the ordering and delivery of materials.
|$1,750 - $3,000||$2,800 - $5,000||$4,300 – $8,000|
The nature and scale of your sod installation can have a lot of influence on the price of the job. Compare our examples for laying sod in a 5,000 square foot yard to see how the cost of labor and site preparation can affect the bottom line.
DIY Do-Over: $1,750 - $3,000
- • Getting Ready: Installing sod is a labor intensive job, but when you’re doing it yourself it only costs you time and effort, and perhaps $200 to $500 for topsoil or other supplies.
- • Sourcing Materials: If you are able to order your sod from a wholesaler, you could save several cents per square foot over retail prices, which could make a difference of $250 to $500.
- • Labor Costs: Doing the work on your own saves the cost of labor, but buying or renting the tools you will need to cut the old sod, till the soil, or lay topsoil could add a few hundred to the budget.
A Finishing Touch: $2,800 - $5,000
- • Getting Ready: If the ground is bare and just needs a good raking before sod is installed (such as in a new construction setting, or if you have done the prep work), the job should be straightforward and quick for a pro.
- • Sourcing Materials: Pros typically have access to wholesale pricing for rolls of sod, so the cost of materials is often less than when buying it on your own at retail pricing. The same applies for fill and topsoil, so it is often very cost effective to hire the job out.
- • Labor Costs: Since there is a lot of work involved in the job, labor can cost up to twice as much as the materials on a job like this. Pros typically have specialized machinery for the job though, which makes the work go a lot faster than on a DIY job.
Hands-Off Overhaul: $4,300 – $8,000
- • Getting Ready: To makeover an existing yard from start to finish, a pro will need to remove the existing grass and prepare the soil, whether by raking, tilling, adding topsoil, or a combination of steps. The terrain of the yard and condition of the grass and soil can make a difference in the work required.
- • Sourcing Materials: It is practical and cost-effective to have a pro supply the sod and other materials needed for the job, but the grade of grass chosen could make a difference of 20 to 50 cents per square foot.
- • Labor Costs: The extra work involved in a job like this could carry labor costs that more than double the cost of materials, from $1.00 to $1.50 per square foot.
Sod Installation Services
installing sod is a fast and effective way to establish or improve any lawn. Careful planning with your sod installation contractor can help you anticipate the expense of the project as you consider the features of your yard and the variables of your project.