How Much Does Hydroseeding Cost?
A new, lush lawn is every homeowner’s dream. Hydroseeding has numerous benefits over other lawn-seeding methods, and hydroseeding cost is reasonable at $500 to $4,000, or a national average of $1,000.
- Hydroseeding a lawn has a typical price range of $500 to $4,000 and a national average cost of $1,000.
- The final hydroseeding cost can depend on the size, slope, and condition of the lawn; the type of hydroseeding mix used; and the cost of labor.
- Hydroseeding is a cost-effective way to create a lush lawn. Other benefits include easy installation, uniform lawn coverage, erosion control, and healthy germination.
- Hydroseeding requires specialized equipment, making it difficult for an inexperienced homeowner to DIY; for this reason, it’s generally recommended that homeowners hire a professional to hydroseed their lawn.
Every homeowner dreams of a bright green, healthy, long-lasting lawn, and hydroseeding can make that dream come true. Hydroseeding is a fast, cost-effective, eco-friendly way to distribute liquid grass seeding to jumpstart a new lawn that will boost a home’s curb appeal. Developed in the 1940s, this popular method sprays a slurry consisting of grass seed, water, mulch, and fertilizer to grow a lush lawn. It is particularly attractive for large lawns and those with slopes that need help controlling erosion.
As an alternative to laying sod and dry seeding, hydroseeding is reasonably priced and presents many benefits such as quick and easy installation, uniform lawn coverage, and healthy germination. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost of a new lawn using hydroseeding ranges from $500 to $4,000, with a national average cost of $1,000. This works out to $0.06 to $0.20 per square foot.
Factors in Calculating Hydroseeding Cost
Hydroseeding prices can vary depending on key factors such as lawn size, yard slope, condition of the yard, ingredients in the slurry, labor costs, geographic location, and climate. Each factor is described in more detail below.
Lawn size is one of the most important factors in determining the price of a hydroseed project. The larger the yard, the more homeowners can expect to pay. Hydroseeding companies typically charge by the square foot but can also charge by the acre for large areas. The average price is $0.10 per square foot or $3,500 per acre, though discounts may be available for oversize properties. On the other hand, landscapers may charge by the hour for a smaller yard, such as one measuring less than 500 square feet—the rates range from $24 to $30 an hour on average. Also, sometimes smaller jobs are less expensive because they require fewer hydroseeding supplies. The following are some average hydroseeding prices based on lawn size.
|Average Hydroseeding Cost (Labor Only)
|500 square feet
|1,000 square feet
|5,000 square feet
|10,000 square feet
The slope of a yard can impact the cost of hydroseeding as well. The steeper the lawn, the higher the price, since it requires a more intensive process and additional slurry is necessary to get the job done right. The reason is very simple: Gravity can cause the seed to slide down a hill, especially during a rainfall. The increased potential for runoff and drainage requires more materials, which raises the price. A flatter lawn, with a slope under 5 to 10 degrees, is much easier to work with and less expensive. Prices typically go up when there is a slope above 20 or 25 degrees. It is pretty common that twice the amount of seed, fertilizer, and water will be needed for a higher-sloped area. The going rate is between $0.06 and $0.20 per square foot for hydroseeding based on slope. One way to avoid higher rates is to reslope the lawn before the hydroseeding project begins. It can cost anywhere from $1,000 and $3,000 to bring in a professional for this type of work.
The condition of the yard prior to a hydroseeding project can affect the price. If the soil is in poor condition, such as being compacted and hard, it will be more difficult to break through the surface. This will, of course, raise the fee. In general, a lawn in subpar condition that needs work will require more fertilizer, seed, and water. Homeowners can address these types of issues to better prepare for hydroseeding by pulling weeds (since they can affect grass growth and use up too many nutrients) and watering dry spots on the lawn (to keep the soil hydrated and ready for seeds to germinate). With some proactive TLC, the yard will be in better shape when it’s time for the seed, which can save some money in the long run.
Hydroseeding calls for a mixture of seed, mulch, fertilizer, and water called a slurry. The type of ingredients in this mixture can dictate the overall price of the hydroseeding service. While organic and more specialized seed varieties and fertilizers can increase the cost, cheaper brands can reduce the overall cost of the project. A basic hydroseed mix is about $20 per bag compared to a special erosion control mix at the high end with a price tag of $180. By talking to a hydroseeding pro, homeowners can find the best mixture for their needs and budget.
As with any home project, the cost of labor can drive the total for the job. The good news about choosing hydroseeding over sodding or hand seeding is that the labor is both less intensive and less expensive. It takes only three people to get a typical hydroseeding application done compared to six workers for sodding. While prices can vary depending on location and season, with steeper prices in larger cities, the average rate for hydroseeding is $30 per hour for both labor and equipment. Less experienced contractors might charge about $24 or less. Another consideration factored into the labor fee is the type of application the landscaper uses. Application methods include hand-held sprayers, hydraulic pumps, and mechanical rotors. Hand-held sprayers are the least expensive, while hydraulic pumps and mechanical rotors are pricier.
Where someone lives can impact the price they pay for hydroseeding. Each region of the country sets a price for hydroseeding based on a number of factors, such as labor, materials, transportation, and demand for the service. For example, since transportation costs can be higher in remote areas, that can drive up the price of hydroseeding for residents in those places.
Climate can also play a role. In regions that experience dry, hot weather, the cost of hydroseeding can be higher, since the yard will need to be watered more often. On the other hand, in cool, wet conditions, hydroseeding can be more effective and need less frequent irrigation. Droughts and water restrictions can also affect how much hydroseeding will cost. Water is a key ingredient of the slurry, so landscapers may need to raise their rates depending on the local water supply. Finally, in areas where there is an erosion threat due to wind and water, the cost to hydroseed may be a bit higher.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Prior to the start of a hydroseeding job, there are some additional considerations for homeowners to keep in mind that can factor into the total cost, such as the differences between other grass-growing options and readiness of the yard for the hydroseeding process. Once the process is complete, there are additional steps to ensure that the lawn continues to thrive. These include fertilizing, mowing, and removing leaves. Homeowners will want to make sure they factor these additional costs into the overall budget.
Seeding vs. Hydroseeding vs. Sod
With three ways to jumpstart a fresh and healthy lawn, it is helpful for homeowners to compare sod vs. seed vs. hydroseed. The least expensive option is grass seed, which can easily be tackled as a DIY project. Grass seed costs only about $0.24 per square foot or between $1.50 and $6.40 per pound. Most homeowners spend under $700 for professional seeding on an average-size yard. The problem with seeding is that it takes a few weeks for the grass to fill in. It tends to be a good option for repairing a section of the lawn that is damaged by heat, for example, as opposed to starting from bare soil. Hydroseeding is an attractive option when homeowners are considering the cost of a new lawn. Hydroseed grows faster than traditional seed, and while hydroseed costs more, it is still more cost-effective than sod. Finally, the most expensive but quickest option is sodding, which involves laying pregrown rolls of grass onto the soil to create an instant plush lawn. Sod prices run $150 to $450 per pallet or $0.35 to $0.85 per square foot, not including installation fees. Prices vary due to location, grass choice, and lawn size. Besides the pricier materials, more labor is needed to install sod, with prices ranging from $1,050 to $2,800.
Making sure the yard is ready prior to hydroseeding can add some cost to the overall process. Most contractors will not hydroseed over brown or dead grass and prefer that freshly prepared soil is on the surface so the seed can germinate and root properly. Homeowners may also want to test the soil before hydroseeding to assess the health of the soil, such as its nutrient levels, to make sure it is able to grow grass. Soil testing and topsoil analysis costs between $7 and $10 per sample. Additional ways to prepare the lawn for hydroseeding include removing any rocks larger than an egg to protect the hydroseeding equipment, raking dead debris like leaves, removing crabgrass, and avoiding chemicals or fertilizers for at least 1 week prior to the project. A landscaper will charge about $50 to $100 per hour to get this land preparation work done.
Once the hydroseeding job is done, it is imperative that homeowners keep up with maintenance so that their lawn flourishes. One important step is to fertilize the lawn appropriately. It is recommended that the lawn be fertilized three to five times each year once the hydroseed grass matures. To have the lawn professionally fertilized, homeowners can expect to pay an average of $400. This price depends on factors like yard size, condition of the grass, and local labor rates.
To keep a lawn looking fresh and attractive, it needs to be mowed on a regular basis. Mowing can begin 4 to 6 weeks after hydroseeding. This is a simple DIY project for many homeowners. They just need a lawnmower, which can cost anywhere from $115 to $3,070 on average, depending on the type of mower, features, and brand desired. Others prefer to hire a professional lawn service to come in and do the mowing and edge trimming. The best lawn care services tend to charge about $30 to $70 per hour or $50 to $210 total, depending on the size of the lawn and time required to get the job done.
Leaf removal is another potential added cost that may be required both before and after hydroseeding takes place, especially for properties with a lot of trees. Having too many leaves on a lawn can suffocate the grass and cause lawn diseases and pests to appear. The cost of professional leaf removal using proper equipment ranges from $155 to $600. The price can be affected by the type of leaf removal, such as leaf blowing, bagging, or vacuuming.
Types of Hydroseeder Mulch
Hydroseeder mulch helps protect the seed and seal moisture in the slurry. It can be made from wood, paper, or a mixture of both. Blue or green dye is typically added to the mulch to make sure the mix is thoroughly applied to the lawn. The type of mulch used for hydroseeding can impact the total price of the project. While the quality of the mulch is reflected in the price, it can improve the overall outcome.
Bonded Fiber Matrix Mulch
Held together by a water-resistant bonding agent, this type of mulch consists of a continuous layer of elongated fiber strands. Bonded fiber matrix mulch is known for eliminating impacts on the soil from rain that creates holes not larger than one millimeter. It also prevents gaps between the product and the soil, boosting its water-holding capacity. It does not prevent plant growth and will biodegrade completely into materials that are beneficial to plant growth. This type of mulch is quite expensive and is recommended only for lawns with high slopes.
Wood Fiber Mulch
Mulch made from 100 percent wood fiber is the highest-quality option yet the most expensive as well. It is heavier, protects the seeds more effectively, and retains more water than paper mulch. This type of mulch is particularly beneficial for lawns requiring a high degree of erosion control. Some brands of wood fiber mulch have additional ingredients such as tackifiers (chemical compounds that increase the mulch’s stickiness) to help hold the seed and fertilizer in place. As the grass grows, the environmentally friendly tackifiers will break down and enhance the quality of the soil.
Blended mulch consists of a combination of both wood fiber and paper, usually 70 percent wood and 30 percent paper. It is both an effective and popular option to use in hydroseeding slurry. While blended mulch is more affordable than wood fiber mulch, it is not as protective as a 100 percent wood product. The mix still does a good job with erosion control, since it absorbs water well.
Paper mulch, which is made from chopped-up newspaper, is the least expensive option. According to the International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals (IAHP), 100 percent paper mulch performs well and is the best choice for jet-agitated hydroseeders. It is a good option for homeowners on a tight budget and works well when hydroseeding over an already existing soil bed. Most contractors use paper mulch because of its low price point, but it does not retain water as well as wood mulch.
Benefits of Hydroseeding
Besides its reasonable price, hydroseeding offers many important benefits for homeowners to consider when choosing the best option for putting in new grass. These include easy installation, consistent and uniform lawn coverage, erosion control, healthy and quick germination, high-quality results, and eco-friendliness.
Hydroseeding grass is attractive, since it is more cost-effective than other options like sodding and hand seeding, especially for larger areas or those with challenging soil conditions. Hydroseeding typically costs 50 percent to 80 percent less than sod for material costs and installation expenses. The results are impressive without breaking the bank. Plus, it takes less time than other options. Hydroseeding is more economical than hand seeding because of the time that is saved—it can take about a half day to hand seed a lawn but only an hour or so to hydroseed.
One of the best parts of choosing hydroseeding is the easy installation that results in quick results. Overall, professional hydroseeding is a faster and less labor-intensive process than other grass planting methods. It can cover a large area in a short period of time and reach difficult places because of the sprayer forcefully distributing slurry. Hydroseeding is certainly faster and easier to install than sod, not to mention cheaper. After the lawn is hydroseeded, the lawn will start to grow within a week and be fully established and ready to mow in 4 to 6 weeks.
Another major benefit of hydroseeding is that it produces high-quality grass that is healthier, greener, and longer lasting than other grasses. This is because the slurry is spread evenly and allows grass roots to embed into the soil faster and deeper than would happen with sodding or hand seeding. The hydroseed fibers interlock, creating a mat that produces strong roots and a plush lawn. In addition, hydroseeding strengthens topsoil, produces fewer weeds, does not layer soil, and uses a tackifier coagulant that will not wash out. It is even possible to customize the grass seed to meet homeowners’ quality expectations.
Homeowners who want a seamless, plush lawn will benefit from choosing professional spray grass seed, since hydroseeding delivers uniform coverage of fertilizer, mulch, seed, and water with the right amount of pressure. Plus, the slurry mix contains a coagulant that keeps it in place to ensure the grass grows quickly. With sod, unappealing seams are visible on the lawn, and hand seeding tends to produce bare patches. Hydroseeding is the best option for a lawn that is flourishing and flawless.
For those looking to control erosion, hydroseeding is the best option. Hydroseed keeps in moisture effectively and protects against erosion due to rain, wind, sun, and pests. Because of its mat style and tacky texture, which helps keep it in place, hydroseeding does a great job of stabilizing the soil even on steep slopes in heavy rain.
Hydroseeded grass grows faster for a number of reasons. First, the slurry includes seeds, mulch, and fertilizer all in one form, which helps the seeds germinate faster than with other grass application methods. Next, the hydroseed stores up to 10 times its weight in water, which results in quick seed germination. Finally, the mulch fiber eventually decomposes to add nutrients to the soil, which in turn stimulates germination.
Another important aspect of hydroseeding is that it is safe and gentle on the environment. The slurry used in hydroseeding is nontoxic and not a threat to wildlife, pets, or children. Since the slurry has such effective rates of water retention, the process allows for high plant survival as well. Hydroseeding also promotes the use of native grasses, which is better for the environment because they are already adapted to growing in the local area and will not require lots of pesticides. Native grasses help with water conservation, too, since they are used to the climate.
Hydroseeding: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
DIY hydroseeding is not recommended, since it requires expensive equipment and expertise to make sure the slurry is blended and applied properly. Some states even require a license to apply some of the additives in a hydroseeding mixture.
However, except in locations where a license is required, it can be done as a DIY project if the homeowner has enough knowledge and follows the proper steps: After selecting the seed, homeowners will need to perform a soil test; remove weeds, rocks, and other debris; grade the soil about 3 inches; and apply a 2-inch layer of topsoil and compost. Then they’ll prep the hydroseeder by turning on the tool’s agitator to mix up the slurry; apply the seed using the sprayer and hydraulic machine; and, finally, water and fertilize properly. Of course, there are several expenses to consider. A hydroseeding machine costs anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 but can be rented for $300 to $500 per day. Store-bought hydroseed costs $0.20 to $0.50 per square foot. A DIY hydroseeding kit, which helps with touching up small dead patches of lawn, costs about $25 to $35 per 100 square foot.
Most people opt to hire a professional to take care of hydroseeding. Trained professionals have the tools and expertise to determine how much slurry to apply on a yard given the size, slope, composition, and other complex factors. They also know how to quickly take accurate measurements. If a homeowner does not know how to do this properly, the DIY project could end up costing more than professional lawn service. Before hiring a pro, homeowners will want to make sure the company services the neighborhood, confirm the exact services they provide, check that the scheduling is doable, get a quote, and ask if their work is guaranteed.
How to Save Money on Hydroseeding Cost
With so many factors influencing the cost of lawn hydroseeding, homeowners will benefit from these tips on keeping costs on the lower end so they can save money and stay within their budget.
- Take on some of the work. Save money on lawn care, such as fertilizing, mowing, and removing leaves, by doing it yourself.
- Choose a basic mix. Opt for a basic hydroseed mix to keep costs down.
- Go with a cheaper option. Choose paper mulch, the least expensive mulch option.
- Work in stages. Replace only part of the lawn, such as hydroseeding just the front and then doing the backyard at a later time.
- Shop around. Find the least expensive hydroseeding service by requesting quotes from several of the best landscaping companies.
- Be proactive. Keep up with maintenance to prolong the life of the lawn.
Questions to Ask About Hydroseeding
Having all the information about a project up front will help homeowners avoid any confusion or incorrect information when wondering “How much does hydroseeding cost?” from start to finish. They can refer to the following sample questions when speaking with local landscapers who offer hydroseeding services to be sure they get all their questions answered up front.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Can you provide a free estimate?
- What will you charge to remove old grass or debris?
- What type of mulch do you use?
- Do you have different mixtures to choose from at different price points?
- How many workers will you send?
- How long will the project take?
- How long will I need to stay off the lawn after the work is complete?
- When will the grass begin to grow in?
- When can I mow the lawn?
- Do you offer any warranties or guarantees?
- How often should I water my new grass considering how much shade and sun it gets?
For those homeowners who are trying hydroseeding for the first time, the following questions and answers can be very helpful in explaining how the process works and how they can ensure that their lawn flourishes.
Q. What is the best time of year to hydroseed?
There is not necessarily a best time to hydroseed, but different times throughout the year can work. Fall and spring are great times for those looking to save money and water. Hydroseeding in the summer also works if homeowners want the grass to grow as quickly as possible, since hotter weather speeds up the germination process. However, the lawn will need to be watered more often this time of year. It’s generally advisable to avoid hydroseeding in the winter, as grass is usually dormant in the cold weather.
Q. Can hydroseeding be done on any type of terrain?
While hydroseeding can be effective on most types of terrain, it is best to avoid areas that have steep slopes and/or are rocky. These conditions can wash away the slurry before it even has a chance to take root or prevent it from taking root. No matter the terrain, the area needs water, fertilizer, sun, and proper care to germinate and grow into a healthy, plush lawn.
Q. What are the most common mistakes made with hydroseeding?
If hydroseeding is not administered or cared for properly, results could be disappointing. Common mistakes include applying too much or too little slurry, underwatering or overwatering the grass, allowing pets to urinate on the lawn, using weed killer before the lawn is mature enough to withstand the treatment, and not fertilizing three to four times annually with a good-quality fertilizer.
Q. Are hydroseeding and hydromulching the same thing?
No, hydroseeding and hydromulching are not the same application. While they are similar, hydromulching does not use seed like hydroseeding does.
Q. How often should I water my lawn after hydroseeding?
To ensure that the lawn stays as plush as possible after hydroseeding, it’s recommended that homeowners water it three times per day for approximately 10 to 20 minutes with each watering. This will ensure that the hydroseed stays moist, which is necessary for germination. The best times to water the lawn are 4 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4 p.m. (homeowners will want to avoid watering after dark). Watering frequency can be adjusted given the weather, such as more often in the hot summer months. After 4 to 6 weeks, homeowners can reduce watering to 30 minutes per day.
Q. What are the advantages of hydroseeding over traditional seed planting methods?
Hydroseeding offers numerous benefits over other seed planting methods. Compared to sodding, hydroseeding is more economical, leaves more uniform coverage, and provides an easier and faster installation. Another major benefit of hydroseeding is its effectiveness with regard to erosion control compared to other methods.
Q. How long does it take for hydroseeded grass to grow?
Hydroseeded lawns typically start to sprout within 1 week, although local climate, watering frequency, and seed mixture ingredients can affect this time frame. Within a month, the grass should reach about 3 inches in height. Proper maintenance, including watering and fertilizing, is critical to keep the lawn thriving.
Q. When can I mow my lawn after hydroseeding?
By 4 to 6 weeks, the lawn will be ready for mowing for the first time. To avoid damaging the new seedlings, homeowners are advised to mow the lawn with a push mower when it is dry.