How Much Green Does It Cost to Install Sod?

by Team eLocal
Gardener applying turf rolls in the backyard

If your lawn looks more lackluster than lush, installing sod is the quickest way to give it a facelift. Reseeding is usually cheaper and easier, but it doesn't provide the instant results of sod installation.

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If you're ready to give your lawn a makeover in time for the warmer months, understanding what factors affect sod installation costs can help you choose options to suit your budget.

How Much Does Sod Cost?

According to Lawn Love, you should expect to spend between 35 cents and 80 cents per square foot for the sod itself. Therefore, the materials to install sod cost around $3,050 to $6,790 for an average 1/5-acre lawn, excluding installation labor.

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How Much Does Sod Installation Cost?

Professionals typically charge between 55 cents and $1 per square foot for sod installation services, not including the cost of sod. Alternatively, your installer may charge by the hour. Expect to spend between $35 and $80 per hour in labor costs to install sod on an established lawn.

Total Project Costs

Overall, sod installation costs 90 cents to $1.80 per square foot, including labor and materials. Therefore, most homeowners spend between $7,850 and $15,680 in total for sod installation on a typical 1/5-acre lawn.

How Much Do Different Types of Sod Cost?

There are various sod types available, and which one you choose can significantly impact your project costs.

Sods come in various grades determined by their health and root strength. Low-grade sod is the most affordable option, but it typically requires more maintenance to keep it healthy. Therefore, it could be more cost-effective to install mid-grade or high-grade sod in the long run.

Generally, you should expect to pay around 26 cents per square foot for low-grade sod, excluding installation. Mid-grade sod typically costs about 50 cents per square foot, and high-grade sod often retails at about 83 cents per square foot.

The grass species can also affect the cost of sod installation, and choosing a type that suits your yard's soil conditions and local climate is essential. Some sod types tolerate footfall better than others, so you should consider how you use your yard before deciding. A professional installer can recommend the best options for your yard if you're uncertain.

Kentucky bluegrass is the cheapest per square foot, followed by tall fescue. St. Augustine and Bermuda are going to be the most expensive options.

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What Other Factors Affect the Cost of Sod Installation?

Various other factors can affect how much sod installation costs, and considering your lawn's condition and features can help you estimate your outlay more accurately.

Sod Delivery Fees

You'll usually pay sod delivery fees unless you have a suitable vehicle for collecting the sod from the supplier. Prices depend on the amount of sod you order and how far you live from the supplier, but delivery typically adds between $40 and $135 to your project costs. However, some vendors waive delivery fees for orders over 1,000 square feet.

Suppliers may charge higher-than-average delivery fees if your yard has accessibility issues. For example, delivery could be more challenging (and expensive) if your contractor needs to navigate the truck through a narrow entry.

Lawn Area and Shape

The larger your lawn, the more sod you'll need and the higher the costs of installation labor. Therefore, you'll usually spend significantly more installing sod in a larger-than-average yard.

Generally, installing sod on a rectangular lawn is cheaper because you won't need to cut the sod edges to fit your yard. Conversely, installing sod on a lawn with curved borders or unusual edge treatments takes longer and is more expensive.

Lawn Features

Expect to pay higher sod installation fees if your lawn contains obstacles, such as fountains, bird baths or shrubs. Obstacles make sod installation more complex because your installer must cut the strips to accommodate them.

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