How Much Does a New Lawn Cost?

Wondering how much a new lawn costs and how the cost is calculated? Expect an average price range of $400 to $4,520 to have a lush green lawn installed. Here’s what you need to know about new lawn costs.

By Brie Greenhalgh | Updated Apr 1, 2022 11:48 AM

How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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  • Typical Range: $400 to $4,520
  • National Average: $1,456

The sight of a new, lush green lawn warms the hearts of many homeowners. It represents a lot of hard work with an above-average payoff: a boosted curb appeal and a yard that can be enjoyed without excess dirt or mud. Laying sod is the most common way to install a new lawn, though there are also options for seeding grass and laying turf. No matter the method, starting the process of putting in a new lawn can seem intimidating and costly at first.

It’s common to ask “How much does a new lawn cost?” The answer is that a new lawn costs approximately $400 to $4,520, with an average cost of $1,456. The total price is largely dependent on the method of installation you choose, the amount of sod or seed you’ll need, the type of sod or seed you choose, prep work, and labor. Laying sod or planting seed for an entire yard is no small feat, but it’s worth every penny after you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Factors in Calculating the Cost of a New Lawn 

There are a lot of factors that influence seed planting or sod installation cost, and they’ll apply to just about every homeowner planning to replace a lawn. The size and shape of the yard directly affects how much sod to buy, not to mention the type of sod, the current condition of the yard, the prep work that’s needed, and labor and delivery fees. Keep reading to estimate the cost of sod or other lawn replacement methods.

How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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Yard Size and Shape 

Sod costs are calculated by the square footage of the yard, so you’ll need to estimate the total area where you want to lay sod. It’s best to add a 10-percent buffer to the calculation to make sure you’re not short on materials, since it’s hard to increase a sod order after it’s been grown and delivered. Just buying sod usually costs between $0.35 and $0.85 per square foot without installation. Many homes have approximately ⅕ acre (8,712 square feet) of yard, so it could cost at least $3,050 to purchase the sod for the yard.

Some yards can be challenging to calculate the total area. Circular edges or odd-shaped lawns with a lot of landscaping will require some extra measuring to make sure the right amount of sod is ordered. It also takes more time to cut and shape the sod to irregular shapes. The same goes for any slopes or hills in the lawn. More sod is needed to account for the extra surface area, and the sod installer will be able to estimate the correct amount.

Installation Method

As you consider how much a new lawn costs, it’s worth mentioning that there are a few types of ways to install a new lawn: hand seeding, hydroseeding, sodding, and installing artificial turf. Hand seeding is the method of casting grass seeds over the dirt, and it costs $400 to $1,600. Hydroseeding sprays a liquid mixture of seed, mulch, fertilizer, and water to seed the lawn for a cost of $500 to $4,000. Laying sod has a wider average price range at $450 to $4,520, and installing artificial turf is the most expensive of all at $6 to $20 per square foot, but it also requires the least maintenance.

Type of Grass

Depending on where you live, you can choose from a few different types of grass that are best suited for your climate. Some grasses are strong enough to handle heavy foot traffic from children and teens; others do well with little watering or in drier regions. Some of the most common types of grass are fescue, Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, centipede, and zoysia. Sod is often sold by the pallet at $150 to $450 each, and talking with a sod installation company is the best way to determine the right type of sod for your needs.

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Yard Condition, Accessibility, and Obstacles

Sometimes, lawn replacement is needed when a yard is full of overgrown weeds or the grass has died completely. In this case, the cost of a new lawn may be higher due to the extra costs of removing all the old debris. Additionally, if there is only limited access to the yard, it may cost more since the laborers will have to bring in the sod manually. And if there are a lot of landscaping obstacles, sod installers will have to take extra time to cut and shape the area around trees, curbs, and sidewalks.

Prep Work

Beyond removing any landscaping debris that exists, it’s important to do adequate site preparation before laying sod. Skipping this step can risk wasting the investment in the sod. It’s best to remove rocks from the top layer of the soil since they are not conducive for root growth and will cause lumps in the grass. If the ground is already packed hard, it’s helpful to use a rototiller to loosen the dirt and provide a softer, aerated surface for the grass. This is a good idea even if adding in fresh topsoil (which is recommended). Finally, the ground needs to be leveled to avoid depressions and rises that will affect the watering—and overall health—of those patches of grass.

Labor

According to Angi, it costs around $35 to $75 per hour for a laborer to install a new lawn. This rate generally applies to just installing the sod. If there is extra site preparation needed, such as regrading the ground, it may cost more overall. Generally, a pro installer takes about an hour to install 25 square yards of sod. Having a pro do the hard work of a lawn replacement will run $1 to $2 per square foot for labor and materials.

Delivery Fees

Sometimes delivery fees are included in the estimate from the installation company. If not, expect to pay between $75 and $350 for 5 cubic yards, depending on your location. A delivery for topsoil usually costs $15 to $200.

Location

Geographic location will influence the cost of a new lawn. Urban areas tend to have higher labor rates than suburban and rural areas. On the other hand, it could cost more to have sod and topsoil delivered to a rural area due to the distance. In addition, some areas that have a lot of home construction often see higher prices for sod due to demand.

How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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Additional Costs and Considerations

There are other considerations to make as you plan your lawn replacement adventure. Some of these situations may or may not apply to you, but it’s helpful to read through them to understand how they can affect the cost.

Removing the Existing Grass

When an existing lawn has been severely neglected, it’s important to remove the old grass instead of laying new sod on top of it. This process requires special equipment to remove the sod and roots before prepping the ground for new topsoil and sod. It could cost $1,000 or more to remove existing grass and debris, according to HomeAdvisor.

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Fertilizer and Topsoil Delivery

It’s important to provide grass with the best start possible, which means you’ll need to have fertilizer and fresh topsoil ready. Fertilizer will stimulate the roots to grow deep and strong, and it costs $80 to $380 to apply it. Adding topsoil can help provide the roots with healthy, aerated soil that’s free from clay, sand, or acidity. Depending on your location, topsoil costs $12 to $30 per cubic foot, and a delivery of 5 cubic yards could cost between $75 and $350.

Maintenance

The ongoing cost of a lawn is the maintenance, but it’s an important task. You’ll need to factor in the cost of watering, fertilizing, cutting, and aerating the lawn throughout your growing season. However, it’s cheaper and easier to install sod than tenderly maintaining grass seeds that can take up to 2 years to develop into a lush lawn.

Regrading or Leveling

Sometimes the slope in your yard is acceptable due to the terrain, but other times, it needs adjusting. If regrading or leveling is needed for a new lawn, expect to pay $1,000 to $3,000, which includes labor and equipment. Be aware that this could also require the removal of gates or fences if heavy equipment is needed.

Additional Components and Customizations

In many regions, it’s advised to have a sprinkler system installed to provide automatic watering. This should be done before any fresh topsoil is laid. Sprinkler systems cost between $1,750 and $3,550, but this can vary by location and other factors.

Any additional landscaping, such as adding bushes, trees, flower beds or a garden, should be done ahead of time. It’s better to install sod around a tree and curb rather than damage fresh sod by digging and treading heavily on freshly laid grass.

How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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Types of New Lawn Installation Methods 

Installing a new lawn usually means a homeowner is planning to lay sod and enjoy immediate benefits of a grassy yard. However, there are some alternatives, such as hand seeding, hydroseeding, and installing artificial turf, each of which has a different price point.

Hand Seeding

Hand seeding is the cheapest method to install new grass. On average, it costs $400 to $1,600 to seed a new lawn. The per-square-foot average price is $0.10 to $0.20. This method requires more maintenance and time than sod and could require several applications. However, hand- seeded grass develops into a strong and healthy lawn that can resist pests and disease.

Hydroseeding

Hydroseeding is a seeding method that sprays a mixture of seed, fertilizer, mulch, and water over the dirt for a more even application. At $500 to $4,000, it’s more expensive than hand seeding, but it’s still less than laying sod. This is a popular option with a higher success rate since the seed is “planted” with fertilizer and mulch.

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Sodding

Sodding is the fastest way to install a new lawn, but it’s also more costly since you have to pay for the time and cost of growing and delivering the sod. The average cost is $1,850 to install sod, and you only need to stay off the lawn for 10 to 14 days once it’s installed.

Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is a popular option for homeowners who want a green lawn with no maintenance. It has a higher up-front cost of $6 to $20 per square foot. The downsides are that it can get quite hot, and any pet waste needs to be sprayed off to avoid smells. On the other hand, the cost is eventually offset since there’s no need to water, mow, or fertilize it, which makes it convenient in the long run.

How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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Reasons to Get a New Lawn Installed

A neglected lawn will show plenty of signs that it needs replacing, but sometimes there are other conditions that warrant having a new lawn installed.

Patchy Spots

A patchy spot here and there could be solved over time with some careful hand seeding, but if there are a significant number of dirt patches, and you’re watering the entire lawn consistently, it might be better to start over. Tilling the lawn and adding new topsoil could solve whatever caused some of those dirt patches.

Significant Disease

Some diseases in grass are tenacious. Once they take hold, they can spread despite your best efforts. If a noticeable portion of the lawn is diseased, it’s important to make sure a pro thoroughly removes all the affected grass and soil to prevent contaminating the new sod.

Too Many Weeds

Weeds are stubborn little plants that sap the nutrients and water from the grass. Many fertilizers also have a weed-controlling ingredient, but some lawns might just be more prone to weeds due to the area. An overabundance of weeds in the grass will eventually kill the grass in patches and expose more dirt. If the lawn is overgrown with weeds, it might be best to remove it entirely and start over with a more dense and hardy type of grass.

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Poor Drainage

Sometimes lawns end up with poor drainage due to a slope or poor leveling. It’s possible to correct the problem by properly aerating the lawn and exposing it to more oxygen, but if that doesn’t solve the issue, it might be best to remove the sod, regrade the site, and lay new sod or seed.

Grass Type Preference

There are several kinds of grass to choose from depending on location. Some grasses are heat or cold tolerant, and others resist drought and heavy foot traffic. If the type of grass you currently have is just not standing up to the climate or the amount of use it’s getting, it might be worth laying a new type of grass that’s better suited for your needs.

Improved Curb Appeal

A lawn or yard that’s in disrepair hurts the overall value of the house and can turn off potential buyers. Laying new sod can instantly improve curb appeal and help you enjoy your property more.

How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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New Lawn Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

Many homeowners opt for a DIY sod installation thinking it will save them money, but there are still a number of costs associated with this method—not to mention the homeowner’s time. According to Angi, it costs around $2,000 and takes about 40 hours to install sod yourself on an average-size lawn. Beyond the price of sod itself, you’ll also need fertilizer, a shovel, a tape measure, a wheelbarrow, and a number of tools such as a tamper, lawn roller, rototiller, and more. It’s likely you’ll have to buy or rent some or all of these tools before getting started.

There’s also the consideration of how backbreaking the work is to haul and lay sod after laying and leveling the topsoil. When all is said and done, it’s not always cheaper to install sod yourself once you factor in your time, and it could result in an injury that requires expensive physical therapy to overcome.

The easiest option is to have a landscaping company do the installation and pay it the well-deserved labor rates that save your back from the tough job of hauling and laying sod. These pros have all the right equipment and tools available, so you can avoid the hassle of renting and returning the equipment. A professional will also know how to estimate the total area and cut the sod to match any irregular shapes in the lawn. Plus, a pro can help determine the best type of grass for the yard to make sure it can withstand the local climate and your personal use.

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How to Save Money on a New Lawn

Laying sod can become a costly activity for homes with large yards, but there are ways to save money on a new lawn.

  • Determine whether you need to replace the entire lawn or just part of it.
  • Ask a sod farm about any remnants it may have from larger jobs if you only need to replace some of your lawn.
  • Consider hand seeding or hydroseeding if you don’t need a new lawn immediately and want a less costly option overall.
  • Reseed poor sections of your lawn yourself.
  • Opt for a type of grass that works in your climate but is still affordable.
  • Keep up with maintenance each year to avoid neglecting the grass and prolong the life of the lawn.
  • Do your own prep work and debris removal of old grass, weeds, and landscaping.
  • Compare quotes from multiple companies.
  • Check with the local sod farm and see if it’s cheaper to purchase the sod yourself. Also factor in delivery costs if you don’t have a way to haul it yourself.
  • Plan ahead and order sod before spring when demand goes up.
  • Ask about volume discounts. Some sod farms offer a discount when neighbors order for their yards together, which might also save on delivery fees.
  • Get quotes from several landscaping companies so you can choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
How Much Does a New Lawn Cost

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Questions to Ask Landscaping Contractors About Installing a New Lawn

Having all the information you need up front will help to avoid miscommunication and clarify what you need in your new lawn. Use these questions when you speak with local landscaping companies about the cost of a new lawn.

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Can I review a portfolio of your work?
  • Will you come to my house and provide a free estimate?
  • Do you provide a design plan if I’m also having you do extra landscaping?
  • What type of sod is best for this area?
  • How much sod will I need, and how much extra will you order?
  • How much is sod?
  • What will you charge to remove old grass, debris, or landscaping?
  • Will we need to regrade my yard? If so, how much will that cost?
  • How long will it take to get the sod once it’s ordered?
  • Can I order the sod and pick it up myself?
  • How long will it take to install?
  • How many workers will you send?
  • Do you subcontract out to other companies?
  • Will you fertilize the lawn?
  • How long will I need to stay off the lawn after work is complete?
  • Do you offer any warranties or guarantees?
  • How often should I water my new grass considering how much shade and sun it gets?

FAQs

Planning your budget for a new lawn can feel a little overwhelming since there are a number of options to factor in. The information above should provide clarity for most questions, but in case you still have a few, consider the answers to these frequently asked questions.

Q. Is it cheaper to repair or replace a lawn? 

It depends on the extent of the damage. Minor patches of dirt or diseased grass can be repaired or replaced at a fairly low cost, but once a measurable percentage of your lawn is damaged, it will be cheaper in the long run to replace it. Proper maintenance throughout the year is the best way to avoid a damaged lawn. You could search for a sod calculator cost for a rough price estimate as you begin this process.

Q. When should I install a new lawn? 

Whether you’re seeding a lawn or laying sod, it’s best to do it in spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate. If it’s necessary to install sod in the summer, try to do so at a time that’s not excessively hot and make sure to water the grass quickly. In addition, try to avoid laying sod right before a heavy rain, as that can ruin a lot of the work you did laying and leveling topsoil.

Q. How long does it take to install a new lawn?

Just laying sod—not counting all the prep work—takes several hours or even days, depending on the size of the yard. One professional can take about an hour to lay a pallet of sod, which is about 225 square feet. If many people help, the job goes much faster.

Q. How long does a new lawn last on average? 

Much of this depends on how well the lawn is cared for. With proper maintenance, a healthy lawn can last 30 to 40 years, though lawns can show signs of age before then.

Q. Is it hard to install a new lawn by myself? 

Installing a new lawn is a labor-intensive process that takes hours of work and lots of equipment. If you’re used to working outdoors on yard maintenance, then it won’t seem as hard as other DIY projects. However, for most homeowners, the task of installing a new lawn could feel daunting and exhausting if doing it alone. Part of that is due to how much site preparation is required even before laying the sod.

Q. What tools do I need to install a lawn on my own?

Aside from the common tools of a tape measure, shovel, and wheelbarrow, there are several other tools that are necessary or helpful, including a soil test kit, lawn roller, tamper, garden knife, rototiller, fertilizer and a spreading tool, and even a sod cutter if you need to remove old sod. Make sure to factor in these rental costs when determining how much a new lawn costs.

Q. Should you replace your lawn before selling your home?

It’s a wise idea to improve the outside appearance of your property before putting your home on the market. Prospective home buyers can lose interest in a home if there are obvious signs of neglect in the yard. They might not have the time or interest in tearing out bad sod and installing new sod. However, if you replace the sod and boost the curb appeal, you can usually sell your home for a slightly higher price since the yard is in good shape.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Homeserve

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