How much does it cost to maintain and mow the lawn?
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Lawn Maintenance and Mowing Cost Guide
Updated: November 29, 2022
It takes work to maintain a lawn and keep it looking its best. This is why many homeowners with large lawns or yards hire a professional service to come in each week or every other week to maintain their lawn. The primary service in weekly lawn maintenance is mowing. However, many homeowners receive additional services, depending on the size and features within their yards. These services include mowing, fertilizing, yard cleanup, and more. Every lawn is different, and needs vary based on location, season, size, and how often you have services done.
The average lawn maintenance cost ranges from $75 to $200 a visit, depending on the size of the lawn and when it was last mowed. Most homeowners spend around $130 a visit for weekly mowing of a lawn less than an acre with clippings removal. Prices range as low as $45 for a one-time mowing of a lawn less than an acre to as high as $1,000 for seeding a bare half-acre lot.
Lawn Care Price
|Lawn Care Service Cost
|National average cost
Lawn Mowing Prices by Billing Method
Overall costs for lawn mowing prices are similar in a given geographical area. However, lawn maintenance companies may price their services based on square footage, time, or acreage. In most cases, lawn service companies charge by the hour. If you have a half-acre of hilly land that takes more time to mow, you might pay more than your neighbor with a flat and easily accessible yard.
Other companies charge by the acre or by the square foot. Lawn maintenance companies may price large yards that reach a half-acre in size by the square foot. Yards of multiple acres may incur a charge based on the acreage. Use the following table to get an idea of the prices you may encounter for lawn maintenance based on various billing methods.
|Per Square Foot
|$0.01 - $0.05
|$25 - $60
|$150 - $200
Average Cost of Lawn Mowing per Square Foot
On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $0.01 to $0.05 per sq.ft. for mowing. Mowing costs are sometimes calculated by the square foot, especially for smaller yards and yards that are easy to measure and maintain. Keep in mind that as the size of the area approaches a full acre, your costs may switch to acreage for simpler estimates. However, your professional may still choose to charge by square footage if your yard is bigger than an acre with large, landscaped areas and only a small portion requires mowing.
Lawn Mowing Rates per Hour
The average hourly rate for lawn mowing runs between $25 and $60. For tricky properties with fences, trees, children’s play equipment, and other obstacles, your company may charge by the hour rather than by the job. The more obstacles they encounter, the higher the price. Working around many small odd-shaped landscaped areas may also result in an hourly rate charge. Some yards require multiple workers, making the price per hour increase. However, the total cost should remain the same because the total number of hours will be reduced.
Lawn Mowing Prices per Acre
You can expect to pay between $150 and $200 per acre for average lawn mowing prices. Charging per acre is common for commercial services providing maintenance for large plots of land and for homeowners with yards close to or greater than an acre in size due to equipment needs and the time required to mow significant acreage. Lawn mowing prices per acre are typically a little higher than per square foot, primarily because they will employ a riding lawn mower for the task, which uses more gas. Commercial equipment and riding lawn mowers cost more to buy and maintain, so costs are higher. Mowing a lawn bigger than an acre with a push mower is not practical.
Lawn Mowing Cost by Frequency
It is extremely common for homeowners to sign up for a contract or agree to regular visits from their lawn care company. Mowing grass regularly is easier and healthier for the lawn than mowing it randomly once or twice a season. Some lawn care companies may also offer discounts for customers who agree to set up a contract with a weekly, monthly, or once-a-year schedule. Weekly mowing is helpful during the peak growing season. Although lawn care specialists generally recommend weekly mowing, homeowners with grass that is not a tropical variety may choose a monthly contract without any negative impact on their yard. The lawn care professional will recommend a service frequency that is best for the grass type.
Some homeowners may even switch contract types midyear to account for the summer growing season versus the winter dormant season. A homeowner may choose a yearly contract for a task like yearly grass edging around the property. Sometimes, a homeowner may also choose a single visit rather than a contract, for an average cost between $75 and $200. Homeowners who will soon list their homes for sale may want a single visit to make sure the home is clean and presentable for potential buyers. A homeowner may occasionally choose a one-time visit after a storm or weather event when an extra mow and grass removal is warranted.
|Frequency of Visits
|Annual Contract Cost
|$30 - $175
|$1,820 - $5,200
|$2,100 - $3,600
How Does My Type of Grass Affect Mowing?
Grasses are usually divided into two types: cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses. Zoysia, Bermuda, and centipede grass are considered warm-season grasses and grow the most in the summer. They enjoy locations where it does not freeze often or at all, so they are commonly found throughout the south. Conversely, cool-season grasses, like ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue, are most active in the spring and fall and need more attention in those months. Cool-season grasses are common throughout the northern states.
Different grasses also enjoy different heights when cut, which may impact the mowing schedule or the blade height of the mowers. For example, grasses like zoysia and Bermuda grass enjoy a short, tight cut, which may mean more frequent mowing. Conversely, grasses like bluegrass and ryegrass grow best when left a little taller, which may mean less frequent mowing or higher blade heights during lawn maintenance visits. Lawn care companies tailor their schedule and mowing style to accommodate the needs of the grasses they cut.
|1 - 2.5 Inches
|0.5 - 2 Inches
|1 - 1.5 Inches
|1.5 - 2.5 Inches
|Kentucky Bluegrass (Cool-Season)
|2 - 3 Inches
|3 - 4 Inches
Lawn Care Cost by Billing Method
Simple yards with very few landscaped items may need nothing more than a regular mow. However, many homeowners require additional services from their lawn maintenance company. In such cases, prices increase to accommodate the extra work, time, and tools required for the job. For general lawn care beyond simple mowing, companies price their services by the square foot, the hour, or the acre.
Yard size has a lot to do with how the lawn maintenance company charges for its service. Also, the company’s personal preference impacts the pricing strategy. If your lawn is in poor health and requires extra services like seeding or lawn cleanup, your starting costs may be higher than if the yard only needs routine maintenance. Use the table below to get an idea of how much your lawn might cost for general lawn care services like weed control, mulching, tree care, and debris removal.
|Per Square Foot
|$0.03 - $0.08
|$45 - $85
|$200 - $400
Lawn Care Cost per Square Foot
Though pricing per square foot is not the most common method for pricing this type of project, you can expect to pay between $0.03 and $0.08 per sq.ft. The square foot pricing method is almost always reserved for yard sizes that are less than an acre and may be the preferred method for heavily landscaped or wooded yards. An example of a project with square foot pricing might be a property of one acre where half is heavily wooded and will not receive lawn maintenance services. The other half needs services like tree maintenance, mowing, and weed removal. Only a fraction of the acre requires attention, so it does not make sense to price the job by the acre.
Lawn Care Prices per Hour
Most professionals offer hourly rates on lawn care maintenance, particularly when a job is complicated or requires more than one worker. You can expect to pay from $45 to $85 per hour for these services, depending on the additional maintenance tasks required. It is important to note that this price is per person per hour. If multiple workers are used, the price per hour increases, but the overall cost will not because the time required is lower overall. Companies often price their work by the hour because of the effort required to complete multiple services during the appointment. The simple job of mowing a lawn is easier to price by the acre or square foot because of the relative simplicity of the job versus a lawn care appointment that requires additional tasks like weed removal and pest control.
Lawn Care Costs per Acre
Lawn care prices per acre run from $200 to $400. Like with mowing, large properties are often priced by the acre for services like seeding, weed control, fertilization, and aeration, with many companies performing more than one of these services at a time. Maintenance costs range widely due to the variety of services that may be needed and the bigger and more extensive equipment requirements for large properties. Trimming a 100-foot tree on a 5-acre property may require a boom truck, but a 20-foot tree in a small yard may require a simple rope saw. Some services, like seeding and aeration, are performed and billed separately from mowing. If you have several acres, costs will be higher.
Lawn Service Cost by Frequency
Like mowing, homeowners may enjoy the best results from lawn care that is scheduled at regular intervals with a yearly, monthly, or weekly contract. During the initial consultation, the lawn care company will recommend a schedule it thinks is best to achieve what the homeowner wants in their lawn service.
In some cases, a homeowner may switch service frequencies when the weather gets colder and the growing season ends. Homeowners may also choose a single visit at the cost of $75 to $200 for a visit. A summer rainstorm that breaks tree branches and requires some cleanup may require a one-time visit or service call. Homeowners may also want to spruce up their exterior for guests or when they sell their homes.
|Frequency of Visits
|Annual Contract Cost
|$60 - $150
|$3,380 - $7,020
|$3,600 - $6,000
Yearly Lawn Maintenance
In some cases, a homeowner may choose a single yearly visit, which may include services normally performed once a year, like pruning large bushes, aerating the lawn, and replanting or updating perennials and annuals. Costs may run from $75 to $150 and include a significant variety of services that may occur annually, like leaf cleanup or landscape trimming. Some homeowners may choose a yearly visit in the spring for post-winter yard debris cleanup and a separate contract for weekly visits during the summer to keep the property in good condition during the heavy growing season.
Weekly Lawn Care
Weekly grass maintenance averages from $3,380 to $7,020 per year, depending on the size of your lawn and the maintenance items involved. Your maintenance company may bill you yearly each time you renew the contract, or they may have weekly or monthly payment options available. Most often, contracts include leaf removal, mowing, fertilizing, and aeration. Homeowners may ask for extra services for which the lawn maintenance company may charge extra. Added services include stump removal and landscape edging.
Monthly Lawn Care
The average cost of lawn maintenance if you receive monthly visits is between $3,600 and $6,000 per year. Monthly service most often includes mowing and different maintenance items based on the season. Because different services will be performed each month, your monthly service cost may be higher in some months and lower in others. For example, you might receive extra visits just for mowing services in the summer. You might receive fertilization treatments for the lawn during the growing season and get the trees pruned in the winter.
Lawn Service Cost by Type of Service
Caring for your yard may require regular mowing and many other tasks like weed control, tree trimming, and general yard cleanup. Yard maintenance companies tailor their services for the specific needs of your home and price their visits accordingly. Some companies may provide their services “à la carte,” which means the homeowner chooses from a list of services, which are then billed together. Some tasks are also priced lower when combined with similar services. For example, a homeowner with regular mowing visits may add fertilization four times a year and pay at the lower end of the scale with the bundled services of mowing and fertilizing. Look at the list below to help gauge your approximate cost for various lawn care services.
|$65 - $150/treatment
|$200 - $500/treatment
|$350 - $1,000/treatment
|$80 - $250/visit
|$150 - $550/visit
|$175 - $750/visit
|$200 - $500/visit
|$200 - $700/visit
|$350 - $650/visit
|$700 - $2,000/visit
|$1,200 - $2,000/visit
You can expect to pay $65 to $150 per visit for weeding and preventative applications like crabgrass control. You can choose to have regular weeding throughout the growing season, which may lower your cost, or call for service as needed. Taking care of weeds periodically keeps your grass healthy, makes it look more aesthetically pleasing, and eliminates some of the hiding spots for insects.
As with any living thing, your lawn needs food to help it grow. Fertilizer is its food. You can expect to pay between $200 and $500 per application, depending on the size of the area. Fertilizing in the spring helps your grass bounce back from its winter dormancy. Fertilization in the fall prepares it for the harsh upcoming season and is referred to as winterization.
Pest control is another common maintenance process that costs between $350 and $1,000. The cost varies depending on the size of your yard and the type of pests. Common services to control pests in your yard include tick treatment, earwig treatment, mosquito prevention, and other pests removal.
Aeration of your lawn costs from $80 to $250 per visit. The aeration process entails putting holes into the grass and soil. This process allows the oxygen and nutrients to penetrate down into the soil, where it can better fuel your grass. This process should be used in conjunction with fertilization since fertilizing newly aerated soil helps the nutrients get to the roots of the grass, where the fertilizer achieves maximum effectiveness. Getting the services bundled may also be cheaper with a bundled service plan.
Leaf removal services run from $150 to $550 per visit. Larger yards and yards with more trees cost more. You may choose to have your leaf removal performed in spring or fall, depending on what time of year your leaves fall and whether or not you are in an area that sees snow. If you live in a colder climate, leaf removal in the fall is the ideal option.
Tree trimming is an additional cost you can include in your landscape maintenance which runs between $175 to $750. Tree trimming will often be a one-time occurrence for your seasonal maintenance and may be done for aesthetic purposes or to take care of dead branches and brush. The cost you pay for tree trimming varies widely. The thickness of the branches, type of tree or shrub, and its location play a role in the cost.
If your yard has a large amount of natural debris, you may want to consider a yard cleanup, which costs from $200 to $500 for a visit. While most yard cleanup services include leaf removal, they also include the removal of brush, branches, acorns, and anything else that has fallen in your yard throughout the season.
Whether you have had a recent tree removal or are fighting with a stump that takes up space in your yard, removing it costs between $200 and $700, depending on the size of the stump. Removing stumps from your yard gives you more open space, improves the aesthetic of your yard, and gets rid of a potential home for carpenter ants. The tree stump removal process often involves using heavy equipment to pull out the stump whole, along with any attached roots.
The cost of tree pruning will run from $350 to $650, depending on the type of trees and the number that need to be tended. If you have fruit trees, pruning is essential. This keeps them healthy and helps them produce more fruit. Pruning is different from trimming because it focuses only on dead branches on the tree, keeps the tree healthy, and maintains its shape.
Lawn seeding is a process in which seeds are added to an existing lawn to increase its thickness and health and costs between $700 and $2,000 per service visit. Lawn seeding can fix bare patches in the yard and is helpful when the overall yard is in good condition but needs a little help. The cost of seeding a lawn depends on the type of grass being augmented. For example, clover grass costs less to seed than Bermuda grass.
Another popular maintenance project is landscape edging, which costs from $1,200 to $2,000. Popular options include concrete and brick. Edging can be made from several materials. The cost you will pay for your edging project will be determined by your type of edging, the length that needs to be edged, and whether or not mulch is included in the price.
Benefits of Lawn Care
Keeping your lawn regularly maintained comes with a lot of benefits. The first and most noticeable is the appearance of your yard. When kept in good condition, it can add beauty to the look of your home and even value when it comes time to sell it. Maintaining it also helps you to have healthy grass without unsightly bare and burnt patches. Keeping your yard weeded and properly mowed lowers your risk of pests since it removes one of their most popular hiding spots. Your neighbors may also appreciate the work you put into helping the neighborhood remain beautiful. In the long run, you may even pay less for maintenance.
How You Can Keep Your Lawn Healthy Year-Round
If a healthy lawn is what you want, then year-round maintenance is vital. Your lawn needs different treatments and maintenance depending on the season to ensure that it is properly prepared for the months when it is at its peak for growing. Below you will see some of the most common maintenance tasks performed during each season of the year.
- Fall. During the fall season, the goal is to prepare your lawn for hibernation during winter. You will likely need to continue mowing during this season, though you may be able to move from weekly mowings to bi-weekly mowings at this point. You will want to have all sticks and leaves removed from your yard to allow the lawn to aerate as needed. Special fertilizers will also be put on by your maintenance specialist to protect your grass through the winter and allow for better recovery in the spring.
- Winter. Professionals generally suggest mowing until the grass enters its dormant period and ceases growing for the winter. If you live in a warm climate or temperate region, you may need mowing services as late as December. Aside from that, no maintenance will need to be done during the winter months.
- Spring. The spring season is the biggest time for preparation for the upcoming growing season. There are several maintenance items you will want to perform to help your lawn bounce back from winter and give it a healthy start to the season. Common maintenance during this time of year includes mowing, fertilization, aeration, and application of crabgrass control.
- Summer. Summer is considered the main growing season for your grass and the time of the year when it is considered most on display. During the summer months, it is important to stay on top of mowing, with weekly mowing being ideal. You will also want to make sure that you water your grass frequently during this time of year, making sure to avoid watering at the hottest times of the day. If you have water sprinklers, you can set them on a timer to water your lawn at dawn or dusk, reducing evaporation and wasted water.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Discounts. Your maintenance specialist may offer a discount for regular visits, including weekly or biweekly mowing. Some lawn service companies offer discounts when several neighbors arrange for services provided at the same time.
- Length of grass. The longer your grass, or the more it grows between mowings, the higher your costs are. If you have a quick-growing grass or it is the time of year when your grass grows quickly, your costs will be higher.
- Chemical restrictions. Your town or neighborhood may limit the type of fertilizers and chemicals that can be used on your grass. Check with your community to find out if there are restrictions in your area.
- Gas mower rates. If your maintenance company uses a gas mower, remember that fluctuating gas prices impact the cost. Check with your provider to find out if they have yearly rates or apply temporary surcharges based on high gas prices.
- Inspection. An inspection typically entails a close look at the condition of your lawn to determine the services your lawn needs. Inspections are not mandatory, but signing a service contract often means getting a free inspection. Otherwise, expect to pay an average of $40 to $80 for the service.
- Permits. Your professional may need to obtain permits for tree trimming in certain locations and permits for the chemicals they use if the state requires it.
- Insurance. It is recommended that you choose a professional that carries general liability or workers’ compensation insurance for their workers because they work with dangerous equipment, and injury is a concern.
- Cost factors. The final cost of lawn care considers several factors that include the size of the treatment area, type of grass and foliage, and the number of additional services required beyond mowing, like aeration and fertilization.
- Location and weather, The location of your home may determine the overall cost because of treatment frequency. Homes in the south may require winter treatments, while homes in the north may freeze and not require the same number of treatments per year.
- How often do you mow your lawn?
Lawn mowing frequency depends on the season, grass type, and environmental factors like rain and heat. Most lawn care professionals recommend weekly mowing, but only during the summer growing season. Winter mowing, if done at all, is usually monthly.
- How much does it cost to mow 1 acre?
You can expect to pay between $150 and $200 to have one acre of yard mowed. The total cost you pay will be determined by the way the professional charges and the type of ground and landscaping contained in the yard.
- Is it worth paying for lawn care?
It depends on the individual. If you have the time and energy to do the mowing yourself, then no, but many people find the convenience worth the cost.
- Does frequent mowing thicken grass?
Mowing your grass may make it thicker since the tips of the blades of grass contain hormones designed to restrict horizontal growth. By trimming these, you remove the tips which can allow it to spread. Yet, the best way to thicken your grass is by adding more seed.
- How do I keep my lawn green in the summer?
Frequent watering and fertilizing keep your grass green in the summer. Also, weeding and adding new grass seed to bald areas improves the overall color of your yard.
- Does watering my grass in the sun burn it?
No, the sun simply evaporates the water before it penetrates the soil and benefits your grass. Therefore, it is best to water in the early morning or evening. If you choose to water midday, be sure to run the water longer so it will be able to get to the roots before evaporating.