If you want an instantly green, lush lawn without the struggle of growing grass from seed, sod can make a great addition to your property. Sod is grass that has been grown for 18 months in a controlled environment. Then, it is cut into strips and shipped to your home so that you can lay it down and create an instant, living carpet. After a few months, it takes deep root in your lawn, giving you a perfect, green yard.
Sod material and installation cost considerably more than hand-seeding or hydroseeding. The average cost of lawn installation for a 5,000 sq.ft. lot of Fine Fescue grass ranges from $5,800 to $7,200. Most people pay around $6,750 for the job. The cost for sod material and installation may be as low as $1,750 for 2,000 sq.ft. of Bahia grass provided by the customer and installed on a flat, prepped lawn. The cost may go as high as $7,750 for ⅕ acre of Perennial Ryegrass, with extensive prep work and grading required before installation.
|New Sod Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$6,750|
The price to lay sod depends on several factors, including the type of grass, shape of the area, land prep work required, and landscape obstacles. The average sod price per square foot ranges from $0.30 to $0.80. The price of sodding a yard ranges from $0.85 to $1.75 per sq.ft. when both the sod and installation are combined. The cost largely depends on the size of the yard.
|Size of Yard||Cost to Install Sod (Labor Included)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$850 - $1,750|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$1,700 - $3,500|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$2,550 - $5,250|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$3,400 - $7,000|
|5,000 sq.ft.||$4,250 - $8,750|
Larger yards will require more sod and more labor. Landscape companies charge based on the size of the yard. Today’s homes have traditionally smaller yards than in the past, but it doesn't mean everyone has a tiny space to sod. Larger cities and urban areas generally don’t allow for much grass, while suburbs and rural areas boast of ¼ acres size and up. You can expect to pay $36,150 to $76,700 per acre for sod and installation costs.
|Size of Yard in Acres||Cost to Sod a Lawn (Labor Included)|
|⅛ Acre||$4,520 - $9,585|
|⅙ Acre||$6,025 - $12,780|
|⅕ Acre||$7,230 - $15,335|
|¼ Acre||$9,040 - $19,170|
|⅓ Acre||$12,050 - $25,555|
|½ Acre||$18,075 - $38,335|
|1 Acre||$36,150 - $76,700|
You can also purchase sod in a roll. It is a less common choice but readily available. The typical size roll is 2 x 5 feet to cover 10 sq.ft. at the cost of $3 to $8. Some larger manufacturers only sell to contractors. The rolls are much larger, requiring special machinery to install. These sizes run as large as 42 inches wide by 90 ft. long and cover 315 sq.ft. A bigger roll is handy when you need to cover larger areas in a shorter amount of time. Rolled sod prices are $0.28 to $0.45 a sq.ft. with an additional $1 to $2 per sq.ft. for installation.
The way your lawn looks is directly affected by several considerations. These include climate, weather, maintenance, quality of the sod, lack or overages of minerals within the soil, type of soil, and the type of grass. Some grass, such as St. Augustine, is better in hot, humid climates. However, it still requires lots of water. Other types, such as ryegrass, are better suited to colder, drier areas. Your sod installation specialist will help you determine the best option for all factors involved. Sod cost per sq.ft. ranges from $0.20 to $0.90. The sod cost per pallet averages $90 to $390.
|Sod Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)||Average Cost per Pallet to Cover 450 Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Bahia||$0.20 - $0.35||$90 - $150|
|Perennial Ryegrass||$0.30 - $0.60||$125 - $265|
|Kentucky Bluegrass||$0.30 - $0.60||$130 - $260|
|Fine Fescue||$0.35 - $0.70||$145 - $305|
|Bermuda||$0.45 - $0.85||$200 - $375|
|St. Augustine||$0.45 - $0.90||$185 - $390|
|Zoysia||$0.50 - $0.75||$215 - $325|
|Bentgrass||$0.55 - $0.65||$240 - $300|
|Tall Fescue||$0.60 - $0.65||$270 - $295|
|Centipede||$0.80 - $0.85||$350 - $385|
Bahia grass pallet price is $90 to $150, and the per sq.ft. price is $0.20 to $0.35. Known for its ability to stand up well under heavy foot traffic, Bahia is a warm-weather grass that handles drought and lack of rainfall very well. It likes direct sunlight and does not tolerate shade. A hot climate with lots of sun is the place for this grass. It does not require many nutrients or fertilizers, so it is a low-maintenance lawn. Because it is a perennial grass, you can expect this sod to last year after year as long as it is properly maintained. This grass forms deep roots, so it can be difficult to replace.
Priced at $0.30 to $0.60 per sq.ft. and $125 to $265 per pallet, perennial ryegrass germinates and grows quickly, returning year after year with little need to reseed. It is a cool-season grass that grows best in the spring and fall, going more dormant in the summer. It does best in northern climates but is often used in warmer areas as an overseed. This means that homeowners use perennial ryegrass in combination with some other type of warm-season grass like Bermuda. This creates a lush green lawn during the winter when the warm-season grasses go dormant.
Homeowners should expect to pay a square footage cost of $0.30 to $0.60. Pallets will run from $130 to $260. This is a cool-season lawn, meaning that it grows the fastest during the cooler months of the year. It is perennial, so it returns year after year without reseeding. It handles the cold better than most other grasses. Kentucky Bluegrass colors vary and can be anything from a rich green to blue. Its leaves are textured and provide a lush lawn. Kentucky Bluegrass is a nice alternative for lawns with lots of pedestrian traffic.
To sod your yard with fine fescue, expect to pay $0.35 to $0.70 per sq.ft. and $145 to $305 for a pallet. As an evergreen grass, it is also a low-maintenance grass. It grows well in any climate and does not require much water or fertilizer. However, drought-tolerant fine fescue goes dormant during cooler months. It becomes a brown color and looks like it has died. Also, it isn’t a good solution for areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. Fine Fescue prefers shade, however, so it is good for areas with lots of nearby trees.
A pallet of Bermuda sod costs $200 to $375 or about $0.45 to $0.85 per sq.ft. Bermuda grass 1 does best in warm climates. It likes full, direct sunlight with little shade and is drought-tolerant. It has fairly shallow roots, about six inches down, and grows all summer long. More maintenance is required for Bermuda grass, but it is resilient and bounces back easily. This aspect makes it a nice solution for higher traffic areas.
The St. Augustine grass pallet price is $185 to $390. The price per sq.ft. is $0.45 to $0.90. It is a compact, blue-green grass that is salt-tolerant. It is mostly used for hot, tropical areas with humidity, heat, sun, and rain. It is slow-growing and stiff in texture rather than soft. It is somewhat hardy but is prone to disease and pests. It isn’t the best answer for lawns as it does not withstand foot traffic.
The Zoysia sod 2 price runs from $0.50 to $0.75 a sq.ft. or $215 to $325 a pallet. Zoysia takes longer to establish itself in a lawn because it is an incredibly thick, dense grass that grows an intricate root system. It is so thick that it helps prevent weeds from growing in your yard. The invasive characteristic of Zoysia results in it creeping into flower beds and even a neighbor’s yard. Zoysia is prone to patch disease and doesn’t recover well from heavy foot traffic. However, it does well in nearly every climate.
The price for Bentgrass is $0.55 to $0.65 a sq.ft. and $240 to $300 a pallet. Bentgrass produces a rich, dense, lush lawn with a shallow root system. It does best in cold climates, growing rapidly during the cooler months of the year. It does not do well in very hot direct sun or droughts. This sod isn’t normally used in the Southern states except on putting greens as it cannot handle the heat and bugs and is prone to disease. It also doesn’t hold up well under foot traffic.
Tall Fescue sod pallets cost $270 to $295 and $0.60 to $0.65 per sq.ft. This grass is similar to fine fescue in many regards. It also does well in all climates and prefers shade. It may be faster-growing than fine fescue and can put down roots very quickly. If you want your lawn to establish fast, this is a good choice. Tall fescue features a coarse textured grass with dark green rolled leaves that provides a thick, easy to maintain lawn. It is a great option for heavy traffic areas.
A pallet of Centipede sod costs $350 to $385. By the square foot, expect to pay $0.80 to $0.85. Centipede is a yellow-green grass that is slow-growing and low-maintenance. It does not require a lot of mowing, fertilizing, or watering to grow. If left unwatered, Centipede will go dormant, turning brown. The good news is that it will return to its usual color once it receives water, unless it is winter. It does best in warm climates but can handle some cooler temperatures. Centipede grass requires even ground when growing and isn’t a match for higher traffic areas.
When you purchase sod, costs vary because of its grade or the overall health and strength of its root system. Economy sod is moderate quality and may not have the same tolerance as other types. Mid-grade sod has a better root system and costs more. The best grade is high or premium grade and is mature, dense, and disease-free. It has the deepest base for easy installation with no bugs and a thick root system. Sod costs per grade range from $0.20 for economy to $0.85 for premium per sq.ft.
|Grade||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Economy-Grade||$0.20 - $0.40|
|Mid-Grade||$0.45 - $0.60|
|High / Premium-Grade||$0.60 - $0.85|
Labor cost to install sod varies depending on several factors, including the slope or grade of your landscaping, soil condition, and shape and layout of your yard. Expect labor costs to start at around $0.55 a sq.ft., with most companies charging about $0.95 a sq.ft. The hourly rate runs from $40 to $80 an hour. Flat rates are not typical due to the differences in size, shape, and type of grass. For a 5,000 sq.ft. lawn, this makes labor costs between $2,850 and $4,650 out of the total.
Buying or building a new home comes with lots of perks. One of those is brand new grass. Because the ground is already prepared when the lot is graded to build the house, new construction lawn installation costs less. However, all of the other factors still apply, including the type and quality of the grass, the size and shape of the area to be sodded, and any special landscaping needs. The pricing for the sod, $0.25 to $1.10 per sq.ft. and the labor, $0.57 to $0.93 per sq.ft. will be the same for new construction.
It happens quickly. You begin to notice small patches of brown in your lawn. Before you know it, the small patches become larger, and you are getting letters from the HOA. It looks like you need to replace your sod. Replacing sod is fairly expensive, sometimes more than installing sod on a yard without any existing grass. The reason is that the old sod needs to be removed. This is done to ensure that the new grass has plenty of room for its roots to take hold and wipe out any bugs or diseases that may have killed the existing turf. The sod replacement cost is $0.85 to $2.05 per sq.ft. plus an additional $1 per sq.ft. for sod removal cost, including tiling and treating the soil.
Laying a new lawn is a great time to install a sprinkler system. When a sprinkler system 3 is installed, the grass suffers as it must be pulled up to put in all of the components of the system. If you have the system installed before the new grass, you won’t have to worry about any damage. Sod needs a lot of water in the first two weeks. A sprinkler system helps you achieve this more easily. Additionally, a sprinkler system takes the margin of error out of making sure your lawn is watered as needed regularly. Adding a sprinkler system along with new sod costs an average of $9,800 to $14,200.
The size of a pallet of sod varies, depending on who sells it. Pallets may cover anywhere from 450 to 650 sq.ft., with 450 sq.ft. being the most common.
Calculating the amount of sod you need is fairly easy. Although your contractor handles this, all you need to do is multiply the length by the width of your yard to get an idea of the cost. The cost depends on the type and quality of grass you purchase. It is better to have too much sod than not enough. When calculating how many pallets you need to complete your job, round up to the nearest full pallet rather than down.
|Square Feet||Number of Pallets Needed|
|1,000 sq.ft.||2 - 3|
|2,000 sq.ft.||3 - 4|
|5,000 sq.ft.||7 - 12|
|8,000 sq.ft.||12 - 18|
|10,000 sq.ft.||16 - 23|
Unless you recently had other land clearing done, you will likely need your yard prepared for the sod. Expect this to add another $1 per sq.ft. to your installation costs.
Any old grass or sod should be removed. If it is dead or shallowly rooted, it can be pulled or scraped aside easily. Otherwise, it should be tilled. Tilling involves using a machine to cut the existing grass into the soil, preparing it for the new sod. Tilling ensures that any weeds, stones, and other debris do not hinder the growth of the sod. The edges should be squared and prepared to handle the new sod. The entire area should be fertilized to make sure that it has the nutrients needed for the new grass to take root. Your contractor may need to test the soil to ensure that it is the correct balance. This costs $700 to $1,800. If the area doesn’t have at least 3” to 4” of soil after tilling, enough dirt should be added to bring it to this level. Finally, the surface should be packed down slightly but not too hard to make it easy for the roots to grow into it.
If you have trees or stumps that need to be removed, this should be completed before the sod installation. Stump removal costs around $200 to $700, and tree removal runs $400 to $900. Additionally, plants that interfere with the job must be relocated.
If your lawn is not already flat or has more than gentle slopes, you may need it graded or resloped before laying sod. On average, it costs around $1 to $2 a sq.ft. to reslope a lawn. If your lawn requires grading, expect an additional $1,500 to $2,600 for a 1,000 sq.ft. lawn including topsoil and sod. Once completed, you can schedule your sod installation.
There are four separate characteristics to look for when choosing a quality sod. These include harvest timing, soil consistency, maturity, and fertilization. Wise consumers spend a few minutes looking for these features and possibly save themselves money in the long run. Quality sod ensures a durable, long-lasting lawn that will make your yard beautiful and functional. When gauging these features, look for the following:
The recommended amount of time between the cutting of the sod and the installation is eight hours. The way to tell how long a pallet of sod has been harvested is one of a few ways. First, you can check pieces of sod underneath the top one. If they are not green, it is likely the pallet has been sitting too long. Second, remember, the moment the sod is cut, it begins to lose moisture. Check the edges of the sod for dryness. Third, place your hand on the top pieces of sod. If they are hot, the sod has been sitting too long.
Soil is the foundation of your sod. Once it is placed on the ground in your yard, it takes a few days to root. In the meantime, the sod that surrounds the sod pieces will be what keeps it alive. Crumbling soil indicates poor nutrients. Soil that is too compacted keeps the roots from adhering properly to the existing foundation. There should only be about 1” of soil in the sod. If there is more than that, the roots cannot get to the foundation below. If there is less, the grass isn’t properly supported.
Grass blades should be at least 2 inches long, thick, and have a consistent color. Variations in color indicate immature grass or even diseased sod. The roots of your sod should resemble a spider web, looking like a tangled mess. This gives them the strength to withstand being cut and replanted. Keep in mind that immature grass may not be able to withstand being transplanted.
The resiliency and health of your sod greatly depend on proper fertilization. Sod that lacks the right nutrients will be weakened and prone to disease, weeds, bugs, and wilting. It won’t hold up well under drought conditions or in heat or cold. Check with your professional to find out the fertilization schedule used for your sod. Make sure you maintain the proper fertilization after the sod is installed.
Adding sod is a big investment. The frugal homeowner will want to take care of their new grass to be long-lasting and beautiful for years to come.
Keep people and animals off of your new lawn for at least 14 days. Mowing should only be done after the roots have firmly taken hold, usually about 14 to 21 days. Fertilization should be done by a professional company to ensure that your sod has everything it needs to grow and flourish. Expect to pay $200 to $500 for these services.
Watering is key for the life of the turf but especially key when the roots are settling in the yard. After sod is installed, start by watering heavily. After the first irrigation, the water should be 3-4 inches deep. The first watering needs to be a lot since the ground is dry when applied. Initially, water needs to be heavily applied to the soil to saturate it. Once the soil is saturated underneath, it then takes frequent lesser waterings to keep the soil/sod moist. Do not let the sod dry out. After the first watering, the key is to keep it moist, not soaked. Fungi and other diseases can be caused by too much water.
The most common issue we see in the first 14 days is that fresh sod doesn't receive enough moisture to survive! For best results, water your sod uniformly with an irrigation system. The most efficient and even watering is done with a sprinkler instead of a hose.
When creating a lawn, you can choose between laying sod or putting down seeds. There are benefits and disadvantages to either method. For instance, when homeowners install sod, there is no need for protection as there is with seed. Sod can also be placed at any time of year, while seeds are only useful in fall or spring. In addition, sod has less need for maintenance and works well on difficult areas of the lawn.
Sod can also be sourced locally to support farmers in the area. When choosing seed, it tends to be less expensive, and you may have more choices. It is simple to install and often has a stronger root system. However, seed tends to be cheaper, costing about $0.09 to $0.18. Sod is priced at $0.87 to $1.76 per sq.ft. installed.
|Type of Lawn Installation||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Seed||$0.09 - $0.18|
|Sod||$0.85 - $1.75|
Grass plugs are small pieces of grass with roots that are planted a short distance apart. Sod is different in that the pieces are placed side by side and create a quick, solid surface yard. Grass plugs are less expensive at about $30 instead of $108 for sod per 200 sq.ft. However, grass plugs leave you with bare spots and a checkerboard look. This takes several weeks to begin to fill in. Plugs are great for filling in small areas but are cumbersome to plant in large areas.
|Grass Type||Cost for 200 Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Plugs||$25 - $35|
|Sod||$60 - $110|
Sod provides an instant lawn, but it is not the only way to get that look. Artificial grass also gives the appearance of a fresh green lawn instantly. While sod is living grass that needs to become established, watered, and cut, artificial lawns are much lower in maintenance. They do not grow, so they do not require cutting, fertilization, and water.
Artificial grass is much more expensive to install, with average costs around $30,000 to $75,000 for a 5,000 sq.ft. lawn. Sod costs around $5,800 to $7,200 for the same area.
|Grass Type||Cost for 5,000 Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Sod||$5,800 - $7,200|
|Artificial Grass||$25,000 - $62,500|
While possible, it is not recommended because the new sod may not take root. Starting with nutrient-rich and debris-free soil ensures that grass will root properly and grow to a rich, lush turf. If old sod is left, the new roots struggle to deepen and create a strong foundation.
New sod is especially sensitive to heat and cold. Hotter temperatures result in the grass drying out and dying, while colder temperatures cause the sod to go dormant and fail to root properly. This means that spring and early summer are the ideal time to lay sod.
If given the right amount of water, sun, and nutrients, sod begins to take root in just two to six weeks. Take note that you should be careful not to allow a lot of weight on the sod during the rooting process, as this can inhibit growth. It can take as long as 18 months to establish.
This is best because it prevents the sun from drying up the grass before the water is absorbed. Additionally, strong sunlight may burn the grass if the watering is done during the hottest part of the day.
It is best to wait at least two to six weeks before putting any pressure on the new sod. This is because the roots need a chance to grow deep and form a good foundation. If they are constantly disturbed, it can prohibit the necessary root system.
The question isn’t a simple answer. Most sod becomes dormant in hotter or cooler weather, depending on the type of sod. If the grass is brown, it may not be dead but only asleep (dormant). In some cases where sod has been allowed to get dried out or diseased, it can be revived even if it looks dead.
Overwatered sod appears soggy and muddy. Although new sod needs a lot of water to survive, overwatering results in rotted roots and the inability to root. If you notice yellow or brown blades, you are most likely overwatering.
Sod is real grass that is grown in a carefully monitored situation with the right nutrients and watering. It is then removed from the ground and cut into pieces for delivery to residential and business areas.