The national average cost to install sod is roughly $500–$800 for a 1,000 square foot project. The cost of sod installation—which can transform a bare patch of ground into a new lawn to enjoy—depends on how much space will be covered with new sod and whether the ground needs to be prepared first. If you don't want to haul out the wheelbarrow, sod cutter and lawn roller to do it yourself, hire a pro to lay sod. But first, let’s break down the costs associated with sod installation for a new or refurbished lawn.
What's in this Cost Guide?
- How Many Square Feet Does a Pallet of Sod Cover?
- Sod Installation Cost Per Square Foot
- Cost by Type of Grass
- What Affects the Cost of Sod Installation?
- Sod vs. Artificial Grass
- How to Save on Sod Installation Costs
How Many Square Feet Does a Pallet of Sod Cover?
A pallet of sod is 450 square feet. Use this number to estimate how many pallets you'll need for your project, and ultimately, how much it will cost. Alternatively, a 2-foot by 5-foot roll will cover roughly 10 square feet, and can bolster pallets when you need extra sod to cover borders. New sod comes in these carpet-like rolls of already-sprouted grass, with part of the soil beneath it held together by its roots or a piece of thin, biodegradable material.
Sod Installation Cost Per Square Foot
Sod prices range from $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot, or between $120 and $280 per pallet, depending on the variety of grass. Laying sod is more expensive than growing a lawn from seed—but it’s ready to enjoy much sooner. New lawns created from sod can be walked and played on within four or five weeks of sod installation. It can take months for new lawns grown from seed to fill in enough to walk on.
Cost by Type of Grass
Although the varieties of grass available vary depending on the region you're in, a few types of grass are commonly used, and sod costs and lawn care vary for each. For new lawns, the grass used is either a creeping type, such as bluegrass or St. Augustine, which spreads via above- or below-ground runners, or a bunch type, such as fescue and ryegrass, which spreads from the crown of the plant.
Cool Season Grasses
- Blue Grass: $0.30 per square foot
- Rye Grass: $0.20 to $0.50 per square foot
- Fescue: $0.25 to $0.65
Warm Season Grasses
- St. Augustine: $0.30 to $0.70 per square foot
- Bermuda: $0.40 to $0.80 per square foot
- Zoysia: $0.40 to $0.70 per square foot
What Affects the Cost of Sod Installation?
On top of the size of the area you need to cover and type of grass you select, delivery fees, optional irrigation systems, and ground preparation work all affect the total cost of sod installation.
Sod Delivery Fees
The average cost of delivery fees is $50–$100, though many companies waive the fee for larger home-improvement projects. Sod installers typically charge this fee to haul the sod from the source (whether a warehouse or sod farm) to the job site.
Irrigation systems typically cost between $600 and $800 per sprinkler zone, on top of sod installation fees. A sprinkler system zone refers to groups of sprinklers that operate together using one common irrigation valve. Each valve (and thus each zone) is operated by the irrigation system’s timer. A standard-size yard with an irrigation system typically has three to five zones.
Ground Prep Work
Existing ground may need to be manicured or treated prior to sod installation. Most professionals who lay sod can also do the prep work, and charge on average $1 per square foot on top of sod installation costs. Prep work includes removing existing grass and getting the ground ready with fertilizer or new soil as needed. It may also include:
- Removal of weeds, existing grass and debris
- Ground treatment—tilling or grading
Additional Material and Labor Costs
If a yard is somewhat irregular in shape, it’s a good idea to have the sod installer measure it before providing a cost estimate and ordering new sod. (Many sod installers will want to see your yard in person before giving you a cost estimate.) It's not easy to get a lawn roller over a rocky hill or install sod on a curve. Built-in landscape features such as waterfalls, raised garden beds or decorative boulders also make laying sod difficult, and can raise the total cost of the project significantly if more materials are required and it takes longer to install sod.
Sod vs. Artificial Grass
In drought-prone zip codes, such as those in California, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, new lawns of synthetic grass are growing in popularity. With an average cost of $5 or more per square foot, including materials and sod installation, a new lawn of synthetic grass costs significantly more than a new lawn of natural grass. But long-term, lawn care costs for artificial grass are less than for natural varieties because it needs no mowing or irrigation.
How to Save on Sod Installation Costs
Some people take a different approach to home improvement in an effort to lower sod installation costs. They purchase the sod themselves from a sod farm or hardware store, have it delivered and hire a professional to complete the project, thereby saving time and ensuring that the sod installation is done properly. Most pros charge 25 cents to 60 cents per square foot to lay sod customers have provided for their own home-improvement projects.