Installing Sod Costs

Laying sod for new lawnEveryone loves a beautiful new lawn, especially when you take the time to have sod installed at your home. When you look out your window and see a yard that is thin, patchy and frankly ugly, it’s time to do something about your landscaping plans and make sure you put in a lawn that will last through the seasons.

Homes are frequently remodeled, and so are yards. Here’s your guide to remodeling the turf around your home, so the outside looks just as good as the inside. These techniques work on new construction projects too, where no yard is in place.

Developing a healthy lawn through the use of sod, plugs or seed are your three best options. Let’s take a look at each one, including the costs of lawn replacement and improvement.

Time of Year is a Factor in Choosing Sod, Plugs or Seed for your Lawn

Fixing the lawn is an excellent springtime home improvement project. All three options are viable at this time of year. Sod can be installed in the fall too, and plugs will work in the fall in milder climates.

Seed can be used in warm climates in the fall, but in cold climates, there usually isn’t enough time for a lawn to take root and get to a sustainable level before the frost comes.

In most climates, you should not try to grow turf from seed, plugs or sod in mid-summer. It takes too much water to keep it growing, and it can burn out easily, wasting the effort and money you put into the project. Most sod and plug companies won’t ship material from mid-June through August, depending on the specific climate.

Preparing the Soil for Sod, Plugs or Seeding

Start by using an herbicide on the existing grass and weeds. Follow instructions carefully, and make sure enough time passes before installing the new material.

Once the old vegetation is removed, cultivate the soil to a depth of one to two inches, loosening it so the new roots can get a good start. Install the sod, plugs or seed, and keep the soil watered according to the grower’s recommendation.

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns from the University of California Agriculture and Resources Department provides all the details for preparing the soil, installing new turf or seed and keeping it irrigated.

Sod Installation Costs

Keys to the cost are the amount of work required to prepare the soil—removing old vegetation, grading and cultivating – and how large your yard is. Costs go down per square foot as the yard gets larger. That is true with plugs and hydro-seeding too.

Depending on these factors, you can expect to pay $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot. The Homewyse sod cost calculator will help you determine your costs based on the size of your yard. It breaks sod installation costs down by material costs, labor costs and equipment costs.

Sod Plug installation Costs

Sod plugs are clumps of sod either 3 inches or 4 inches square. They are planted in a grid one foot apart in both directions. The plugs send out shoots to fill in the spaces, which usually takes one to two growing seasons depending on the climate.

Plugs are often used installing high-end grasses like Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass (also called Zoysiagrass). You generally won’t find full Zoysia sod – it must be installed in plugs.

There is less material cost, but there is more labor cost for installing sod plugs. Therefore, you can expect to pay $0.40 to $0.55 per square foot for Zoysiagrass plugs and other types of plugs.

Hydro-seeding Installation Costs

Hydro-seeding has become very popular in the last decade. A wet mixture of seed, mulch to hold water and fertilizer are sprayed onto the dirt. It must be watered like sod or plugs.

The seed germinates and is held in place by the mulch until it can take root. Advantages of hydro-seeding include the ability to plant a large area quickly and higher germination rates than you get with standard broadcast seeding.

Hydro-seeding costs range from $0.30 to $0.45 depending on the size of the lawn and the type of grass you wish to grow.

Video Showing How Sod is Installed

Other Sites to Learn about Installing Sod and the Costs of Installing Sod

In addition to what is already on this page, we wanted to share these other great sites with info about sod installation.

  • Modern Turf – A great article that covers not only sod, but also how to maintain a worry free and healthy lawn for the future!
  • Diana Digs Dirt – Has a great number of pictures of ugly landscaping! If your yard looks like any of these… you might want to think of a change soon!
  • Chuck Wade Sod Farm – Find a nice calculator to let you learn how much sod you are going to need to put on your lawn.


One Response to “Installing Sod Costs”
  1. Karim says:

    I am looking for a new capnomy to do my lawn care this year. I would like an estimate of what you would charge to do an aeration/overseed as well as monthly or every 6 weeks treatment in fertilizer and weed management. I had been using Nutrilawn but had a lot of problems with them last year.the address for service is House 26- 25515 Township Rd. 511A T7Y 1A8the location is 13.5 km straight south down 215 st. from the whitemud freeway. I am on Blackhawk Golf Course.Thanks

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