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Sod Installation Cost With AVG Sod Prices

sod installation cost per square footDon’t let your remodeling budget go over-board by hidden surprises – understand what the average Cost to install sod is near you by using our easy to use calculator.

As an experienced licensed home improvement contractor, I know first hand what it should cost for various levels — from Basic, Better, and of course the best.

The cost to install sod estimator will provide you with up to date pricing for your local area. Simply enter your zip code and the number of square ft. needed, next click update and you will see a breakdown on what it should cost to install sod at your property.

Note: 10′ x 10′ feet area =100 square feet

Sod Cost Calculator
Zip Code Sq. ft.
Basic Better Best
Material Prices $210.00 – $220.00 $230.00 – $240.00 $250.00 – $260.00
Installation Cost $650.00 – $750.00 $800.00 – $950.00 $1050.00 – $1100.00
Total $860.00 – $970.00 $1030.00 – $1190.00 $1300.00 – $1360.00
Average sod cost per square foot installed
$0.92 $1.11 $1.33

How much does Sod installation cost on average?

Growing a lawn from seeds takes years, but for $0.85 to $1.40 per square foot, a professional landscaper can turn your outdoor space from brown to beautiful in time for your next barbecue with sod. For a 1000 square-foot yard, a lush carpet of living grass can cost as little as $970 installed — the average homeowner invests $3800.

Average Sod Installation Costs

National Average
per 1,000 sq. ft
$3,800
Low $860
Mid-range $970
High-end $1,360

Depending on the variety, sod costs $.30 – $1.10 per square foot. Professional installation adds $40—$80 per hour, but most contractors estimate costs by the size of the area to be covered — expect to pay $0.80 to $2.10 per square foot.

An average American home lot is 0.22 acres — roughly 9500 feet — but only a portion of that is grass. Nationwide, the cost to sod a lawn, including materials and labor, ranges between $1600 to $7600 — the median price is $3800.

Sod Price Per Square Foot

The total to install grass varies based on a wide range of factors — starting with the price of sod. It ranges in price from $0.30 to $1.00 per square foot based on the grade and variety of grass.

Sod Prices Per Square Foot
Sod Type By Grade Average Cost
Kentucky Blue Grass $0.36 – $0.54
Perennial Ryegrass $0.65 – $0.86
Fescue $0.45 – $0.54
Bermuda $0.52 – $0.79
St. Augustine $0.64 – $0.96
Zoysia $0.74 – $0.87

Sod quality standards vary by state, however, it’s loosely grouped into categories by price.

Utility Grade

Utility grade sod is the least expensive at $0.30–0.40 per square foot. It’s capable of filling in bare spots and mitigating erosion, but it contains fewer blades of grass per square inch, and it could contain weeds. Utility sod doesn’t stand up to foot traffic as well as higher-quality varieties, and the rate of failure is higher because the root system is shallow — but it’s a budget-friendly choice for low-traffic areas.

Mid-Grade

Mid-grade sod is what most homeowners choose — it’s attractive, durable and low-maintenance. Prices range from $0.45 – $.80 per square foot.

Top-Grade

Top-grade sod is similar in overall quality to mid-grade varieties, but it includes grasses bred for their unique characteristics from pest resistance to unusual hues. Expect to pay $0.85–$1.10 per square foot.

How can a homeowner tell if sod is good quality?

Healthy sod should:

  1. Be of uniform green color
  2. Have foliage at least 2 inches high
  3. Feel moist to the touch
  4. Include less than an inch of soil — more prevents the roots from growing into the ground

Cost of Sod by Type

Grasses come in dozens of varieties bred for their color, texture, hardiness and weather-resistance. The type you choose should reflect your needs — is to look at or to play on — as well as soil type, light conditions and climate.

These varieties are among the most popular:

Cost of Kentucky Blue Grass Sod

Kentucky Bluegrass is cold-tolerant — it’s perfect for snowy climates — and it requires little light. Named for its blue-green hue, it’s ideal for installing under shade trees. It is not, however, resistant to drought, and it could wither under a scorching sun. An excellent all-purpose choice, it can handle traffic and will thrive in most average soil conditions. Prices range from $0.30 –$0.70 per square foot, depending on grade.

Cost of Zoysia Sod

If no weekend is complete without a game of touch football, Zoysia is a durable bet. It’s suitable for most climates, and it thrives in both sun and shade. If you hate to mow the lawn, you’ll love Zoysia — it’s a slow grower. It needs a little extra TLC when first installed, but long-term, it’s a low-maintenance choice. Prices range between $0.55 and $0.90 per square foot.

Cost of Bermuda Sod

Like Zoysia, Bermuda sod is tough – it’s a good pick for high-traffic areas, and its drought resistance makes it ideal for dry climates. Maintenance is minimal, but it tends to spread where it’s not wanted — barriers around flower beds and gardens keep it controlled. If you have a large area to fill in, you can’t go wrong with Bermuda sod for $0.55–$85 per square foot.

Cost of Fescue Sod

Fescue tolerates wide-ranging temperatures and soil conditions, making it a good all-purpose grass. It grows quickly in both sun and shade but prefers a little of each. At $0.40 to $0.65 per square foot, it’s reasonably priced top performer.

Cost of St. Augustine Sod

St. Augustine sod is a popular choice for its bright green color and lush texture. At $0.70 to $1.20 per square foot, it’s costlier than most, but it’s salt-tolerant and thrives in coastal areas.

Cost of Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is among the most common grasses in American. It’s suitable for most climates but prized for its heat and drought tolerance — it requires up to 30-percent less water to maintain than similar varieties, making it ideal for dry areas or places where water costs are high. Prices average $.50–$1.00 per square foot.

Factors Impacting the Cost To Lay Sod Grass

A lot goes into installing sod. It’s not complicated, but it takes both expertise and elbow grease.

This is what landscapers consider when they give you an estimate:

Square Footage to Cover

Since sod comes by the square foot — the larger the area to cover, the higher the price. For most projects, sod is delivered by the pallet at roughly $400–$550 each plus delivery fees. Home improvement stores may nix extra charges for purchasing minimum quantities.
Measuring your yard is part of the estimating process, but if you want an idea of how much sod you’ll need, use this process to calculate area:

  1. Divide your year into easy to measure square or rectangular sections
  2. Measure the length and width of each
  3. Add them together for total square footage

That will give you a reasonable estimate of square footage within a 10% margin of error.

Shape of the Area

Sod comes in rolls that are a breeze to install over a square or rectangular space. Trimming it to fit around curves or existing landscape features takes time and adds to the cost of your project.

Yard Access

Power equipment makes laying sod more efficient and cost-effective, but it’s tough to squeeze into small spaces. Yards behind buildings that are close together or remote locations far from a road can be tough to access. Barriers like fences are removable, but sometimes, there’s no other choice but to move and install sod by hand, and the extra labor adds up.

Sprinkler Systems

Working around existing sprinkler heads takes time, but the good news is — if you don’t have a sprinkler system and want one — installing it at the same time is a bargain.

Ground Prep

Ground preparation is second only to the size of area when it comes to the impact on the cost of your project. But sod is alive, and it requires the same attention as a garden to optimize growth.

Preparation includes:

Soil Testing

The pH and chemical make-up of your soil can make some types of grass better than others for your area — a soil analysis is critical. Tests range in price from free through your local cooperative extension service to $50. Your contractor will guide you.

Clearing

Installing a new lawn requires removing old sod. Contractors make quick work of it with mechanical sod cutters — DIY-ers can rent one for about $95 per day. Labor for professional removal ranges from a few hundred dollars to $1500. It may or may not part of the per-foot cost of installation.

Grading

A lawn should slope away from a home’s foundation to facilitate drainage — over time, even the best grading is affected by erosion. Before installing sod, the ground should be regraded if necessary. That can be as simple as filling in low areas or as complex as building an entirely new landscape — the choice is yours. Steep slopes cost more to grade and could add as much as 10% to your project’s total.

Rototilling

Rototilling gives roots space to grow— experts recommending tilling the top 2–3 inches before adding additional topsoil.

Topsoil

A fresh layer of topsoil energizes sod — giving it the vital nutrients it needs. Add 2–3 inches to tilled soil for a total base of 4–6 inches. On average, good-quality topsoil costs $1.00 per foot.

Once installed, sod needs fertilizer and water. Landscapers recommend an all-purpose high-phosphate solution. The first treatment and watering are usually included — subsequent applications are the homeowner’s responsibility.

Sod Alternatives

Grass Seed

For a natural lawn, the alternative to sod is to grow your grass from seed. Preparation costs are similar, but the project cost is lower because seed is significantly less expensive than sod. This approach, however, has drawbacks.

Seeding a lawn can be frustrating. It has to be timed just right — if it’s too hot out, the seed will burn. If it’s too cold, it may not germinate. Unexpected rain can wash seeds away while dry conditions mean you’ll have to water almost continually. It’s a time-consuming process, and what’s worse, it could be two years before you have grass worth looking at, and in the meantime — you shouldn’t walk on it.

Sod costs more, but it eliminates the risks of seeding, and the results are immediate. Install it today, and in two weeks, you can have the family over for a fun day outdoors. You’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.

Artificial Grass

If nature isn’t your thing, you’re not alone. Synthetic grass is growing in popularity, and it’s surprisingly realistic. Water in on occasion to remove dust and bird droppings — that’s all the maintenance it needs.

At $3 to $9 per square foot, synthetic turf is pricey, but if you want curb appeal without worrying about lawn care, it’s worth considering. It’s impervious to road salt, and it’s also ideal for areas plagued by long-term drought.

Hardscaping

Nothing says a yard has to have grass. It’s a traditional look, but many homeowners who want to avoid mowing and watering are turning to hardscaping — the use of non-grass surfaces to decorate their outdoor spaces — instead of synthetic turf.

Rocks, bricks, wood and metal are all attractive mediums when combined with trees and flower beds. In urban areas where growing grass is difficult, it’s a creative and budget-friendly choice.

Costs of Installing Sod: DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

DIY sod installation can save you 35-50%, but it’s hard work that benefits from the skill of a professional. Landscapers have the knowledge and tools necessary to get the job done quickly, and warranties protect you against mishaps.

Sodding small areas by hand is an easy project most homeowners can handle, but the rental fees alone on the equipment required for large-scale installation offsets the savings. A better strategy to save money is to let a contractor handle installation while doing some of the work yourself — such as removing and disposing of old sod.

FAQs

How many square feet of sod are in a pallet?

Pallets contain approximately 500 square-feet of sod.

What’s the best time to lay sod?

Install it anytime, but late summer and early fall are ideal.

How quickly can you use your lawn after installation?

You can walk on your new lawn immediately after installation, but it’s best to wait for 10–14 days for heavy use.

Hiring a Sod Contractor

Having the right contractor on board can make or break your project.

Get off on the right foot with these tips:

  • Get three estimates or more from contractors with excellent references and A+ ratings from the Better Business Bureau
  • Use only companies that are licensed and fully insured for personal injury
  • Ask for detailed estimates spelling out the cost of labor and materials
  • Clarify who is responsible for obtaining and paying for local permits
  • Review any warranties and ask questions before signing a contract

Final Thoughts

A beautiful lawn does more than impress the neighbors — it expands your living space and enhances your home’s resale value. Dollar for dollar, it’s money well spent.

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