On average, sod itself costs between $0.35 and $0.80 per square foot nationwide. If you hire a professional to install your sod, the price will be between $0.90 and $1.80 per square foot, which includes the sod, labor, and other necessary materials. For example, a project to sod a 1/5-acre lawn would cost between $7,840 and $15,680.
Suppose you have lawn installation experience and feel confident in your ability to lay sod correctly. In that case, you may be able to save on labor by installing the sod yourself. But it’s still crucial to consider the cost of tools and materials, which will likely be around $1,700.
In this article:
- Average costs
- Cost estimator by size
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related Services
- DIY Cost
- Cost by location
Average sod costs in 2023
|Sod installation cost (materials and labor)|
|National Average Cost||$6,810|
|Typical Price Range||$4,780 to $8,050|
|Extreme Low End Cost||$780|
|Extreme High End Cost||$17,760|
The average cost of sodding is about $6,810 for a standard project. However, various factors such as yard size, grass type, ground preparation needs, and site accessibility can all affect sod installation costs. The price range for installing sod typically falls between $4,780 and $8,050.
You can expect to pay less if you’re working on a smaller project or installing the sod yourself. A homeowner can often get by with as little as $780. On the other hand, if you’re hiring a professional to install your sod or the project is large and complex, you can expect to shell out closer to $17,760.
The cost of materials and yard size will make up most of your total project expense, with labor costs coming in at a close second.
Sod cost estimator by size
|Sod per square foot|
|Average price of sod per sq. ft.||$0.35–$0.80|
|Average price of labor + materials per sq. ft.||$0.90–$1.80|
|Total sod for 1/5 acre lawn|
|Average price of sod for 1/5 acre||$3,050–$6,970|
|Average price of labor + materials for 1/5 acre||$7,840–$15,680|
The first thing to do is calculate the size of your lawn to determine how much sod you need. The average lawn in the United States is ⅕ acre, which is about 8,712 square feet.
The national average price for sod itself is $0.35 to $0.80 per square foot, so the total cost of sod for a ⅕ acre lawn would be about $3,050 to $6,970 total. However, the price will be proportionately lower if you have a smaller yard.
Of course, simply buying sod is not enough – you’ll also need to pay for installation if you choose to hire a professional. Besides the cost of sod, you’ll need to factor the labor cost into your overall budget.
The cost of labor and materials for sodding a lawn can range from $7,840 to $15,680 per ⅕ acre. The cost of professional installation will be between $35 and $80 per hour if you already have the grass. For a rough estimate, expect to pay a professional installer between $0.55 and $1 per square foot of lawn for installation. However, the actual cost may vary depending on the size and condition of your yard.
|Project Size||Average overall cost|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$870 – $1,760|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$1,740 – $3,520|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$2,600 – $5,280|
|4,000 sq.ft.||$3,480 – $7,040|
|5,000 sq.ft.||$4,350 – $8,800|
Other factors that affect cost
The type of sod you choose and other factors such as your home’s location, your soil’s condition, and any special features or landscaping you want to add to your lawn will impact your final bill.
The cost of sod itself will depend mainly on its grade, which refers to the health and strength of the sod’s root system. Cheaper low-grade sod may take more care on your part to keep it healthy and protect it from diseases so that it could cost more in maintenance over time.
Economy-grade sod typically costs $0.26 per square foot, while mid-grade and high-grade sod may cost closer to $0.48 and $0.83 per square foot, respectively.
Cost by grass type
The type of sod you select will have the single biggest impact on the cost of your project. The most common types of sod used in home lawns are:
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Tall fescue
- St. Augustine
A wide variety of other options are also available. The following is a breakdown of average costs for the most popular types of sod grass:
|Type of Sod||Low End (per sq. ft.)||High End (per sq. ft.)|
Because installing sod is a significant investment, picking the best kind for your yard is critical. Keep in mind the following features of each grass type:
- Sun and Shade Tolerance
- Drought Tolerance
- Foot Traffic Tolerance
- Maintenance Needs
Your yard’s size and shape
When calculating the amount of sod you need, take into account not only the size of your yard but also its shape. A square or rectangular lawn will be less expensive to install than one with a curved edge, and different edge treatments may require more cuts in the sod to achieve a more precise fit.
Homeowners usually pay between $40 and $135 to have sod delivered to their location. The delivery fee will depend on how far away you live from the supplier and how much sod you need. Typically, delivery will cost you less (or nothing at all) if you order more than 1,000 square feet of sod, but that’s not a rule.
If the area where you want to install the sod is difficult to access, this will also affect the cost. If the delivery truck has to drive over a long distance of soft ground or through a narrow gate, the supplier may charge you an additional convenience fee.
Obstacles in your yard
The more obstacles in your yard – such as trees, bushes, or other landscaping features – the higher your sod installation cost will be. That’s because the sod company may have to do some extra work to get the sod around these obstacles, which could add to the project’s overall cost.
When you have your new lawn installed, you may be tempted to add some additional lawn care and landscaping services to the job to have your yard looking as good as possible. Here’s how some of those services might add to your costs.
Preparing the soil
The condition of your soil will have a big impact on the success of your sod project. If you have poor quality soil, it will be more difficult for the sod to take root and establish itself. Sometimes, you may need to amend the soil before laying down sod, which would increase the project’s cost.
Removal of old grass or weeds
On average, it costs between $1 and $2 per square foot to have a professional prep your lawn for sod installation by removing old grass, weeds, and other vegetation. The price will depend on the size of your lawn and how much work needs to be done. For example, prepping a 1,000-square-foot lawn could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. Grass removal typically costs $1.75 per square foot.
A professional can test your soil to determine what amendments it needs to help your new sod grow thick and healthy. This test will tell you which type of grass grows best on your lawn and whether the soil can support it. Soil testing typically costs $15 to $20 per sample.
Leveling the land
If the ground you’re covering with sod is pretty flat and even, you may only need to do some light raking and leveling before you lay down new sod. But if you have an uneven lawn that presents a particular challenge, you can hire a professional to level it for you at a typical price of about $1,250 to $3,500.
If your soil is very dense or has high clay content, it may require extra work, like rototilling or adding amendments, before you can lay sod.
If your lawn needs a fresh layer of topsoil to support the new grass’s growth, you can expect to pay between $12 and $45 per cubic yard. Most properties will need 3 to 4 inches of topsoil, so plan on adding enough for at least that much coverage. The average cost of topsoil is $600.
|Cost per bag of topsoil||$2 – $6|
|Cost per cubic yard of topsoil||$12 – $45|
|Cost of topsoil delivery||$14 – $135|
Fertilizer and herbicide application
Applying fertilizer and herbicides to your lawn before you lay down new sod can help give the grass a head start and make it more resistant to weeds. Typically, the lawn fertilization cost ranges from $0.02 to $0.08 per square foot, which means that a homeowner will pay between $120 and $480 total for this service on average across the country.
Want your new grass to stay green and perky even when you forget to water it? Consider adding a new sprinkler system to your project (since all your grass will be pulled up anyway). On average, having new sprinklers installed will cost anywhere from $2,400 to $4,200.
Choosing the correct type of sprinkler system for your yard can be a complex process, so it’s best to consult a professional to get an accurate cost estimate. Professional sprinkler system installation can vary significantly in cost, depending on the size of your lawn and the type of system you choose.
Sod replacement cost
The cost to replace sod varies depending on the reason for replacement. If you are simply removing and replacing dead patches of grass, the cost will be lower than if you remove an entire lawn.
Generally, the price to replace sod falls between $0.87 and $1.76 per square foot and is based on the type and quality of grass you choose. In other words, 100 square feet of grass costs an average of $83 to $200 total. Keep in mind that if you need to replace your entire lawn, it will cost between $1,000 and $2,000.
Sod vs. seed cost
|Broadcast seeding cost per sq. ft.||$0.08 – $0.19|
|Sod cost per sq. ft.||$0.87 – $1.76|
The cost of sod vs. seed is essential when deciding how to establish your new lawn. Broadcast seeding a new lawn generally costs between $0.08 and $0.19 per square foot, depending on the type of seed you choose. Therefore, seeding a 1,000-square-foot lawn would be between $80 and $190 total.
In contrast, the cost of sod is typically between $0.87 and $1.76 per square foot. While sod is more expensive than seed, it offers many benefits that make it worth the extra cost. For example, sod establishes more quickly than seed so that you can enjoy a beautiful lawn immediately. In addition, sod is less likely to be damaged by weeds, pests, or disease.
Artificial grass vs. sod cost
|Artificial grass cost per sq. ft.||$5.50 – $19.75|
|Sod cost per sq. ft.||$0.87 – $1.76|
Can’t decide whether to install artificial grass or real, living sod? Maybe cost can be the final decision maker. The average cost of artificial grass is $5.50 to $19.75 per square foot, while the average price of sod is $0.87 to $1.76 per square foot.
Artificial grass as a grass alternative is becoming more popular because it is low maintenance and does not require watering or mowing. The initial cost of artificial grass can be high, but it pays for itself over time in water and lawn care savings.
Cost of installing sod DIY
The cost to sod a yard by yourself depends on your yard’s size, the terrain’s difficulty, and the type of grass you want. On average, it will cost you approximately $1,700 to sod an entire yard. Most homeowners can install sod within 2 – 3 days.
Sod installation is a labor-intensive job but can be rewarding.
DIY cost breakdown
|Soil test||To know the quality of the soil in your yard and what it needs in terms of amendments||$18|
|Ergo Grip Garden Trowel||To help with the soil test||$10|
|Tape measure||To measure the size of your yard||$15|
|Wheelbarrow||To transport soil, amendments, and sod||$72|
|Tiller||To break up the soil in your yard||$63 daily rental|
|Rake||To level the soil||$18|
|Lawn roller||To help compact the soil||$36 daily rental|
|Topsoil||To create a smooth surface for the sod||$29 per cubic yard|
|Spading Fork||To help aerate the soil||$34|
|Starter fertilizer (optional)||To help the new sod grow||$160 – $465|
|Fertilizer spreader (optional)||To help apply the fertilizer||$48|
|Irrigation system (optional)||To help water the new sod||Sprinkler – $15 to $25|
Garden Hose – $38
|Sod knife||To cut sod||$18|
|Shovel||To properly pat down sod||$22|
|Sod||1 pallet (covers 450 sq. ft)||$135 to $374|
How to install sod in 13 steps
*For more detailed instructions, see How to Install Sod.
1. Test your soil to learn what amendments it needs before it can support healthy grass.
2. Measure your lawn area to determine how much sod you need.
3. Transport garden soil, topsoil, and grass turf to your lawn using a wheelbarrow.
4. Break up your soil with a rototiller to prepare it for new sod.
5. Smooth out the dirt with a rake.
6. Use a lawn roller to compact the soil and firm it.
7. Amend your soil with topsoil and compost to fill low areas.
8. Spread starter fertilizer over the area (optional).
9. Lay down the sod in rows, starting at one end of the lawn.
10. Use a sod knife to cut the turf or sod to fit around obstacles like trees.
11. Use a shovel to pat down the sod and ensure there are no gaps.
12. Install an irrigation system (optional) and water the sod immediately after installation.
13. Keep the sod watered regularly for the first few weeks to help it establish roots.
DIY cost vs. professional cost
The expense of sodding a yard by yourself depends on the size of your lawn, the land’s features, and the type of grass you want. On average, it will take you approximately $1,700 to sod an entire yard. Most homeowners can install sod within 2-3 days.
|Cost to install sod DIY||Cost to have sod professionally installed|
|$1,700/project||$35 – $80 per hour or $0.55 – $1.00 per square foot|
The cost of having a professional install sod for you ranges from $7,840 and $15,680, including the sod, labor, and other materials for a ⅕ acre yard. The installation cost will be lower if you take the time to prep your yard beforehand.
The decision to sod your yard yourself or hire a professional largely depends on your budget and the size of your yard. If you have a small yard, it may be more cost-effective to do it yourself. If you have a large yard or rugged terrain, it may be worth it to hire a professional.
Cost of sod installation by location
The price of sod can be affected by your region and local climate. In areas with hot, dry summers and cold winters, it’s important to choose a type of grass that can withstand extreme temperature changes and still look good. And remember, different types of grass vary widely in price.
For example, tall fescue grass can withstand most winters in the Pacific Northwest because it’s more cold-tolerant than, say, perennial ryegrass. The average cost of tall fescue grass is $0.54 per square foot, while perennial ryegrass costs an average of $0.68 per square foot.
Remember, if you live in an area with a warm climate, you may be able to install sod year-round. The best time to install sod in colder climates is spring and summer. The installation cost will be higher in colder climates since sod is less readily available.
1) What is sod?
Sod is the grass that is grown on sod farms. Sod farms are similar to regular farms, but instead of growing crops, they grow grass. The grass is cut into strips or sections and then sold by the pallet. The most common sizes available for sod are 4’x4′ and 4’x6′.
2) How much does a pallet of sod cover?
A pallet of sod typically covers 450 square feet.
3) What is the best time of year to install sod?
The best time to lay the sod is in the spring or early summer when temperatures are not too hot or cold. Hotter temperatures can cause the grass to dry out and die, while colder temperatures can damage the sod and make it difficult for new roots to grow.
4) How can you keep your sod looking beautiful?
- Mowing – The number one key to beautiful sod is regular mowing. Mowing promotes new growth, keeps the grass looking green, and prevents weeds from taking over.
- Watering – If you want your sod to stay healthy, water it regularly.
- Fertilizing – Fertilizing your sod will help it grow thick and green.
- Weeding – Without consistent weed maintenance, your lawn will soon become overrun. Be sure to pull any weeds that appear in your sod.
- Pest control – Pests can damage sod and make it difficult for new growth to occur. If you notice any pests in your sod, contact a pest control professional to diagnose and handle the problem ASAP.
5) Where can I find the right tools for sodding my lawn?
The best place to find the tools you need for sodding your lawn is at your local home improvement store or garden center. You may also be able to find some of the tools you need for sodding online. Some of them may be available for rent at your local hardware store.
6) How long does it take for sod to root?
After installation, the roots of your new sod will start to grow within a few days. It can take up to two weeks for the roots to fully establish themselves.
The project cost to install sod will depend on the size of your yard, the quality of the soil, whether or not you need to amend the soil, and other factors. The average cost to install sod is between $0.90 to $1.80 per square foot, including the cost of the sod itself, labor, and other materials.
Pricing for this project is different in every area, so it’s essential to get several estimates before hiring a contractor. On average, you can expect to pay between $7,840 to $15,680 to cover a ⅕ -acre (8,712-square-foot) lawn.
Sodding your lawn is a great way to improve the look of your yard. It’s important to prepare the soil correctly and choose the right time of year to install your sod. Be sure to care for your sod properly by regularly mowing, watering, and fertilizing it. With proper care, your sod will last for many years.
Photo by Anna Shvets