If you’re looking to create a new vegetable garden or add flower beds to your yard, it’s essential to factor in the cost to remove the existing grass. The average cost for grass removal is $1.75 per square foot, with most homeowners paying between $0.95 and $2.65, including labor and materials.
That means the size of the area where you need grass removed is the most significant factor in the overall cost. For example, for a small garden area of 100 square feet, you can expect to pay about $175 to remove grass. But, if you need your entire 10,000 square foot lawn cleared out, it can cost you $17,500.
On this page:
- Average costs
- Cost estimator by size
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related services
- Pro cost vs. DIY cost
- Cost by location
Average grass removal costs in 2024
|National average cost||$1.75 per square foot|
|Typical price range||$0.95 – $2.65 per square foot|
|Extreme low-end cost||$0.75 per square foot|
|Extreme high-end cost||$2.65 per square foot|
The table above shows the national average costs and price ranges per square foot for grass removal. The prices relate to different methods used for grass removal, including digging it up, applying herbicides, solarization, and sheet mulching.
The prices will differ depending on the removal method. Still, homeowners nationwide pay no less than $0.75 per square foot, and no more than $2.65, with most paying between $0.95 and $2.65, including labor and materials.
Removing the grass with a shovel is the best way to keep costs down. The most expensive way would be to hire a professional to apply glyphosate to your entire lawn (which is not recommended unless the area is very small).
Grass removal cost estimator by lawn size
The first thing to take into account when estimating how much grass removal will cost is the size of the area you need to be cleared. It might sound obvious, but it’s the most important consideration since most companies charge based on square footage.
The table below shows the estimate for different lawn or garden sizes, considering the average cost of $1.75 per square foot.
|Project size||Average overall cost|
|100 sq. ft. (small flower bed)||$175|
|200 sq. ft. (vegetable garden)||$350|
|500 sq. ft. (large garden)||$875|
|1,000 sq. ft. (medium-sized patio)||$1,750|
|10,000 sq. ft. (average yard)||$17,500|
Other factors that affect cost
Besides the size of the area of grass that you want to be removed, other factors might influence grass removal costs, including:
There are four ways to remove grass, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages, including effectiveness and cost.
|Removal method||Average cost|
|Physical removal (sod cutter or shovel)||$0.35 per square foot|
|Herbicides||$60 – $120 per visit|
|Solarization||$10 per square foot|
|Sheet mulching/composting||$45 – $130 per cubic yard|
Removing grass with a shovel or sod cutter is the fastest and most common method since the other ones usually need weeks before they start working. However, removing grass using this method is also more physically demanding, and it’s not as effective for deep-rooted grass like Bermuda or weeds like nutsedge.
Professionals may charge $0.35 per square foot to remove the grass with a sod cutter, or they might charge by the hour at a rate of $40 – $160.
You can remove grass and weeds by using a post-emergent herbicide like glyphosate. Getting a professional to apply broad-spectrum herbicides can cost between $60 and $120 per application. However, you may need to apply more than once for complete grass removal.
Besides, herbicides can harm the environment and your soil’s biology, and you will still need to dig up your lawn to remove the dead grass.
Solarization is the process of covering the area where you want grass removed with a sheet of plastic for 6 to 8 weeks until the grass eventually dies off (along with weeds and pests). This method works better in sunny regions with warm climates.
In addition, homeowners can do solarization themselves since it only requires clear plastic sheets and bricks or rocks to hold them down. It just requires patience, as it takes longer. Clear plastic sheets cost an average of $10 per square foot.
Sheet mulching, also known as lasagna gardening, is a technique that involves smothering grass with multiple layers of mulch, including paper, cardboard, and organic materials.
It can cost nothing, as you already have most of the materials at home (paper, organic waste such as food, etc). Alternatively, you can buy mulch for between $45 and $130 per cubic yard.
Removal of obstacles
The price of grass removal can be relative to the number of obstacles on the property. For example, professionals may need to remove tree stumps or a water sprinkler system, which takes time and skill and costs money.
Removing an entire sprinkler system costs between $50 and $95, and removing tree stumps costs between $180 and $525.
After the grass is removed from your yard, you will be left with debris and yard waste. You can pay someone to load and haul away all that waste, or you can lay the old sod (if you used a sod cutter) with the grass side down and spread compost over it to return nutrients to the soil.
The costs to haul away yard waste and debris average between $120 and $290. Either way, if you do not have your yard waste removed or taken care of, there is an increased chance of attracting pests, and that’s more trouble than it’s worth.
If you’re looking for a way to add curb appeal or value to your home, or you just want a new healthy lawn, there are some additional services that can help you in this endeavor.
New lawn installation
If you’re looking to replace your grass, there are two options: sod or seed. Laying sod is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but it will create an instant lawn. On the other hand, seeding your lawn is easier and cheaper, but it will take longer for the grass to mature and establish.
|Type of installation||Average costs per square foot||Average costs per ⅕ acre|
|Sod||$0.90 – $1.80||$7,840 – $15,680|
|Seed||$0.10 – $0.19||$870 – $1,655|
Maybe you’ve decided to remove your grass because lawn maintenance isn’t for you. In that case, why not install artificial grass? Artificial grass can be installed on any flat or sloped surface and comes in various colors and styles.
The costs of installing artificial grass usually fall between $2,970 and $7,100, with most homeowners paying an average of $10.75 per square foot.
With the increasing popularity of vegetable gardens, it is no surprise that people are getting rid of big chunks of their lawns to make room for them. Some people have even made money by selling the vegetables they grow in their vegetable gardens.
Making a vegetable garden might require an initial investment of an average of $220. Still, it can vary depending on the garden size and if you’re planting it in-ground or on a raised bed.
You don’t have to have an entire garden. You can plant small flower garden beds in different spots around your yard, costing between $650 and $3,000 per flower bed.
There’s nothing prettier than a colorful garden of flowers that can make your yard look like a dream. Whatever kind of flower you choose—whether it’s roses or lilies —they’ll add a pop of color to any space and make it more alive.
Walkways or pathways can be useful and make your yard stand out. They can help you navigate the yard and get from one destination to another without harming your turfgrass.
If you want a specific look, walkways can have many textures, colors, and patterns. A professionally installed walkway can cost between $1,080 and $2,160, depending on the size and material.
Pro cost vs. DIY cost
If you want to remove your own grass instead of paying someone else to do it, you have a few options for going about it. First, if you don’t care about waiting several weeks until your grass is removed, you can do it practically for free using solarization or sheet mulching.
On the other hand, if you want the job finished in a day or two, you will need to dig the grass up. The tables below show the costs for physically removing grass using a flat shovel, a sod cutter, and a rototiller.
Warning: Don’t forget to call 811 at least three days before you do any digging, so they can come and mark the utility lines.
Costs of using a shovel to remove grass
|DIY equipment||Average cost|
|Buying a lawn edger||$95|
|Renting a lawn edger||$47 per day|
|Total DIY costs with buying a lawn edger:||$298|
|Total DIY costs with renting a lawn edger:||$250|
The average price for removing grass DIY with a shovel is between $250 and $298 if you don’t have any lawn care tools at home. Of course, these prices can drop even lower if you already have most of these tools, but the project will cost a lot of hours of sweat.
Costs of using a sod cutter to remove grass
|DIY equipment||Average cost|
|Mulch/compost||$45 – $130 per cubic yard|
|Buying a sod cutter||$5,255|
|Renting a sod cutter||$110 per day|
|Total DIY costs with buying a sod cutter:||$5,535|
|Total DIY costs with renting a sod cutter:||$390|
The average cost for removing grass with a sod cutter can range between $390 and $5,535. Remember that adding compost to the grass-side-down sod is not mandatory but a recommendation to help return nutrients to the soil.
In addition, most homeowners already have these tools at home, so you’d only be left with the costs to rent a sod cutter. However, they can be hard to maneuver for the inexperienced, so don’t hesitate to call a pro if that’s the case.
Costs of using a rototiller to remove grass
|DIY equipment||Average cost|
|Mulch||$45 per cubic yard|
|Buying a rototiller||$120 – $1,000|
|Renting a rototiller||$75 per day|
|Total DIY costs with buying a rototiller:||$280 – $1,160|
|Total DIY costs with renting a rototiller:||$235|
The average cost for removing grass with a rototiller ranges between $235 and $1,160. The costs will depend on how powerful the rototiller is.
Remember that each method has pros and cons, and you will need to evaluate which works best for you.
Cost of grass removal by location
The cost of grass removal is not a one-price-fits-all situation. The costs can vary depending on where you are located.
Generally, if you’re in a metropolitan area, expect to pay more for the same service than in a rural area. However, people living in big cities usually have a smaller yard, and for that, the price for grass removal is going to be lower than for someone with a 20,000 square feet yard in the suburbs.
You should dig your soil with a flat-end shovel 3 to 4 inches deep to get most of the grassroots. It’s important to note that you will also be removing topsoil, which contains many nutrients.
The fastest way to remove old grass is with a sod cutter, a motorized machine that slices soil, cutting grass at the roots and creating grass strips. Removing grass when the soil is moderately damp is best because it’s easier to dig up.
It depends. You should remove your entire lawn and replace it with a new one when at least 50% of what was supposed to be grass is bare ground and weeds.
Regarding the time of year, the best time to remove your grass – especially if you’re planning on laying down new sod after removing the old – is in early spring, during the active growing period.
Grass removal is not a quick job at all, and it would probably be a whole lot easier with a few good machines. Professionals usually have these machines and charge about $1.75 per square foot to remove your grass for you. So find a pro near you today, and save yourself the time and effort.
Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.
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