What Are Sod Prices?
Laying new sod is an exciting adventure that helps improve the curb appeal of your property for an average price of $150 to $450 per pallet. Understanding the factors affecting sod prices can help homeowners know what to expect when installing grass sod.
- Typical Range: $150 to $400 per pallet
- National Average: $300 per pallet
When it’s time to upgrade the appearance of a worn-out lawn, two options are available: seeding grass or laying new sod. While seeding grass can be cheaper, it’s a much longer process that can take up to two years for a thick, lush lawn to fully flourish. For a quick and effective method to instantly up your curb appeal, laying new sod is an attractive choice for most homeowners.
Sod prices can vary due to regional differences, the type of grass, and the amount of sod that needs to be laid. Sod can be sold by the pallet, per square foot, per square yard, or by the roll. The average price per square foot is $0.60, which does not include installation. Though laying sod over a large lawn can seem like a daunting task, enjoying healthy, green grass within a matter of days may be worth the cost and effort to boost the appearance and value of your property.
How to Calculate Sod Prices
Sod prices are based on a number of factors that include the unit of measure (roll, square foot, pallet, and more), the variety of grass, installation costs, delivery price, and regional location. Purchasing sod for 1/5 of an acre costs on average $3,025 and $8,025. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install grass sod is $1,800. Choosing to install sod on your own may require the use of additional equipment such as a sod-cutter to remove old grass, compost/fertilizer, a tamping roller, topsoil, and more. These items are included during a professional installation, which means the flat rate may be cheaper than a DIY installation. The price of a pallet of the most popular kinds of sod grass range between $160 to $385 per pallet.
How to Estimate Sod Quantity
Now that you know how to calculate sod prices for purchasing and installing new sod, it’s time to figure out how to calculate sod quantity. The final price will vary based on the type of sod you choose, but these calculations can help determine the overall sod quantity needed.
- Draw a diagram of the area that will require new sod. It’s okay if it’s not a perfect square or rectangle, simply draw the triangle-shaped areas too.
- Measure the lengths and widths by foot of each side of the area to be sodded and make a note of them on the diagram.
- Any rectangle or square areas can be multiplied length times width, and any triangular areas can be multiplied base times height, then divided by two. For example, a lawn that measures 20 feet by 20 feet would be 400 square feet.
- Add the results of all calculations to determine the entire area’s square feet, then add an additional 10 percent to ensure adequate sod is ordered for the entire space. This is important especially during peak seasons when a nearby sod supplier may be backordered for several weeks.
- If purchasing new sod by the square foot, multiply the total square feet by the square foot sod price like so: 2,383 x 0.55 = $1,310.65.
- If purchasing by the pallet, ask the supplier how many pieces come on a pallet and divide the total square feet by the number of square feet provided on each pallet to know how many pallets will be needed.
- If purchasing by the square yard, divide the number of square feet by 9, then calculate the new total by the square yards provided on each pallet.
Factors in Calculating Sod Prices
Determining the cost of sod for sale in your area should be a fairly easy process. Geographic location and its climate is the first factor in prices to ensure the purchase of the right kind of grass for your region. Some varieties of grass are priced differently due to their hardiness to survive well in cool temperatures and others in warm temperatures.
Lawn Sod Type
Most lawn sod is sold by the pallet or square foot. Homeowners can expect to pay around $150 to $450 per pallet. Some grass varieties may not be available in your area, but local distributors will have several varieties to choose from that work best for your climate.
Warm-Season vs. Cool-Season Grasses
Laying sod is best done during spring or fall in most regions when the temperatures are less extreme. Some sod varieties have a high tolerance for longer periods of cooler weather, such as Kentucky bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Fescue. Others do well in warmer climates with long periods of hot weather, such as St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia.
Some varieties of grass sod cannot be purchased locally if they aren’t well-suited for that region’s climate. Local suppliers will grow a variety of the best sod and often have a lower price point than Home Depot sod for large purchases. Purchasing sod directly from the grower will also help ensure the sod is fresh and healthy.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Sod prices can vary within the three growing regions across the country. Delivery costs are another factor for sod prices if you don’t own a truck or trailer to pick it up yourself. Other considerations may include installing a sprinkler system, physically laying the sod, or removing old sod.
There are three climate zones suitable for different grass varieties in the United States: cool, transition, and warm. The cool climate includes the mid- to upper-half of the country; the transition zone includes the top portion of the lower half of the country; the warm climate includes the lowest regions of the southern states.
Ordering sod from a local wholesaler can be more cost-effective for large purchases. In general, the cost to have sod delivered ranges between $90 and $350. For homeowners who have their own trucks or trailers, picking up your own order is usually free. Be sure to have sod delivered or picked up when it’s ready to be installed to avoid stressing the grass.
The labor costs to install sod with a professional landscaping company include all equipment and tools needed to prepare, install, and fertilize the new sod. On average, it costs $250 to $1,250 to install new sod, and that range can depend on how much work the installers do compared to any DIY prep completed by the homeowner.
Old Sod Removal and Ground Preparation
If old sod needs to be removed first, a sod-cutter can be rented for approximately $80 per day. A professional company typically charges between $1 to $3 per square foot of grass that needs removal. The old soil would need to be tilled to provide a freshly aerated base for the new sod, or new topsoil can be laid and leveled. Adding compost to the soil layer can help boost the growth of new sod grass.
Installing a sprinkler system in dry climates is recommended before the last layer of soil is leveled and sod installed to avoid digging up and damaging the grass. Most homes need at least three to five sprinkler zones and each zone costs $600 to $800 on average to install.
Sod Prices: Types of Sod
There are nearly a dozen common varieties of sod that are frequently installed in yards. Sod prices are determined by the region and the variety that’s available or best-suited for that climate. Here are the most common types of sod for sale and their average costs.
This is a warm-climate friendly grass with a wide blade that resists drought and heat but doesn’t tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s popular in several southern states, fast-growing, and pest-resistant. On average, it costs between $160 and $340 per pallet.
The average cost for this sod variety is $180 to $270 per pallet. It’s known to be a highly tolerant type of sod when it comes to sunlight and water variables. The blades are fine and soft, which make it a preferred variety for golf courses in warmer climates since it also grows slowly.
Bermuda sod is a tough grass that can handle heavy foot traffic like you’d find at a sports field or park. Roots grow at least 2 feet deep and seed heads sprout to propagate quickly if it’s not mowed frequently. The average cost per pallet is $160 to $385.
This is a cool-weather grass that can grow between 4 to 79 inches tall, making it a great choice for ornamental grass or in-the-rough grass on golf courses. It’s one of the most common grass choices and tolerates poor soil conditions and high elevations. A pallet costs on average $160 to $295.
This warm-season variety can tolerate shady areas while growing a low, dense lawn. It can tolerate drought and heat, as well as sandy or acidic soils, but doesn’t do as well with heavy foot traffic. The average cost per pallet is $340 to $385 from a hardware store and may be less from a local wholesaler.
The average cost of this grass is $90 to $180 per pallet. This is one of the least expensive types of sod and works well in warm climates. It’s tolerant of heavy foot traffic and lawn care mistakes like overwatering and resists soil erosion thanks to the strong root system.
This cool-season sod is durable enough to handle foot traffic while also resisting weeds and pests. Regular mowing and watering is needed to maintain the lush, green appearance. On average, the cost per pallet is $270 to $295.
Kentucky Bluegrass is designed for cool climates that do not experience extreme heat or drought. It can tolerate full sun or partial shade with regular fertilizing and watering, but cannot handle much stress from disease, pests, or weeds. The average cost per pallet is $160 to $180.
This type of sod sells for $225 to $315 per pallet on average in most cool-weather climates. It can tolerate heavy foot traffic and resists pests and disease during cooler, wet months, but requires extra care during warmer months.
This variety tolerates low mowing and high foot traffic, making it a great choice for sports fields and parks in cool-weather climates. Minimal maintenance is needed in cool months, but extra watering helps prevent browning in warmer months. The average cost per pallet is $160 to $295.
Super-Sod is a company that supplies homeowners with sod types that match their climate and growing seasons. They can provide variations of the Zoysia, Centipede, Fescue, and Bermuda grasses to give homeowners a lush, green lawn.
Do I Need Sod?
While the upfront costs of installing sod can discourage new homeowners, a healthy lawn can provide several benefits to the overall property. Not only does the appearance of the yard immediately improve, but sod can also help control weeds, prevent blowing dust, and stop soil erosion.
Provides Immediate Results
When compared to the less-expensive and tedious method of seeding a lawn, laying new sod provides an immediate result of healthy, strong grass that can be used within days or weeks.
Increases Curb Appeal and Value
A lawn that’s been overgrown by weeds or never really was a lawn in the first place can look unappealing and bring down the value of the home. Potential buyers will notice a poorly maintained yard immediately and realize there will be an added cost to improve the yard’s appearance, which may dissuade them from purchasing the home.
Controls Weed Growth
With the right type of sod, weeds are less likely to overtake a yard. Grass typically grows densely and helps reduce the amount of weeds that can take root. This can also help alleviate symptoms for allergy sufferers who may be less tolerant of weeds growing wild in the yard.
Stops Soil Erosion
Soil that has no ground cover from grass or plants is susceptible to being blown away in strong winds or swept away during rain. Both situations are potentially hazardous, whether from breathing in the dust or risking mudflow into the home. Layering exposed soil with a healthy sod grass can help prevent soil erosion by covering it with a strong root system.
Sod Prices: How to Choose Sod
When determining how to choose new sod for an existing yard, you’ll want to take a sample of the grass to the sod supplier near you to see if an exact match or similar type is available. If a completely new lawn is being installed, then there are a number of factors to consider, including climate, sun and shade ratio, level of foot traffic and more. Here are some helpful tips to consider when choosing new sod.
- Match any existing grass with the new type of grass being installed to replace old patches or increase the size of the lawn.
- Check which climate-appropriate sod types are available from local wholesalers in your region.
- Determine how much foot traffic the grass will get to ensure a hardy sod is selected.
- Identify if most or part of the yard is in sun or shade to help select a sod that works best in those conditions.
- Decide if you prefer a low-maintenance lawn that grows slowly.
- If weeds or pests are common in your yard, consider choosing a pest- and weed-resistant type of sod.
- Test the soil to see if it has a high-acid content, is heavy clay, or sandy soil.
- Consider whether a sprinkler system will need to be installed to provide sufficient water for the climate.
Sod Prices: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional for Sod Installation
Yard work and landscaping are among the most common DIY activities for homeowners. It can be therapeutic to work in the dirt and satisfying to enjoy the fruits of your labors building a beautiful yard. For some homeowners completing a small sod installation, it may be more cost-effective to prep, purchase, and install new sod on your own.
You likely already own several of the tools needed to complete the task, including a shovel, rototiller, rake, and more. Additional costs may include buying fertilizer (around $50 per bag) and renting a sod roller to remove any air pockets (between $120 to $150 per day). All that’s needed beyond that is time and a strong back to lay down the sod pieces you purchased.
While many homeowners don’t think twice about calling friends and family to help install a new layer of sod, groups of friends are not always available to help with big projects. When a large area of new sod needs to be installed, it’s worth considering having a professional landscape company do all of the prepwork and installation. Not only can it save your back, but professionals have plenty of practice and experience with the best sod for your area and how to install it properly. They also have helpful maintenance tips. Installation costs will include all materials and labor, but you can work to negotiate with them about prepping the ground or purchasing the sod yourself. Then you can sit back and relax while they do the heavy lifting.
How to Save Money on Sod Prices
As with most big projects, finding ways to reduce the overall costs interests most homeowners. From discounts to shopping local, these tips can help you save money on sod prices.
- Choose a basic blend that can withstand the use you expect to have with kids or pets.
- Ask a friend with a truck or trailer to help you pick up the sod and avoid a delivery fee.
- Call several sod farms and ask about holiday discounts or referrals.
- For small areas, consider purchasing remnants that are offered at a discount.
- Accurately measure the area that needs sod to avoid purchasing too much.
- Attend home and garden shows where sod wholesalers and landscaping companies offer discounts on pricing and installation.
- Time the delivery of sod correctly so that it’s installed within 24 to 48 hours of delivery to ensure grass is healthy and alive when laid.
Questions to Ask About Sod Prices
Asking the right questions before installing new sod can help you feel confident that your new lawn will stay healthy and green during the growing season. Here are some helpful questions to ask sod wholesalers and landscapers about sod prices.
- How much sod do I need to purchase?
- Do you have a minimum order requirement?
- What’s the best kind of sod for my region?
- Is this sod good for heavy foot traffic from kids and dogs?
- Will this type of sod be high or low maintenance?
- Do you offer any kind of warranty or guarantee?
- Where does this sod come from?
- What’s the timeframe between cutting the sod and delivering it to my home?
- What kind of preparation will my yard need before installing new sod?
- How quickly should the sod be installed after delivery?
- Do you make sure the ground is leveled and rocks are removed from the top layer of soil before laying sod?
- Do you offer a flat-rate for installing sod once the square footage is determined?
- Will you test the sprinkler system to check that all heads are covering the lawn adequately?
- Does installation include fertilizing the sod?
- How long should I avoid heavy use on fresh sod?
- What fertilizer and weed killer do you recommend for this kind of sod?
Factoring the costs of installing new sod can be a daunting process, especially for first-timers. These frequently asked questions and their answers can guide you as you decide on the best sod for your home.
Q. How much does sod cost per square foot?
The average cost of sod sold by the square foot ranges between $0.35 and $0.85, depending on location, climate, and choice of sod.
Q. Do I need to put topsoil down before sod?
It’s helpful to lay down several inches of topsoil before installing sod to provide the grass with a healthy place to grow new roots. Sometimes existing soil is too clay-based, acidic, or rocky, so the topsoil provides grass with a better foundation to thrive on. If the soil has already had rocks removed and is of sufficient quality for the sod you purchased, it’s possible to simply use a rototiller to aerate the soil before leveling it for sod.
Q. Is it OK to water new sod at night?
It’s best to water new sod during the day so that the roots have a chance to dry out during the heat of the day. Leaving sod wet overnight can make it susceptible to pests, disease, and fungus.
Q. Can you lay sod over existing grass?
Landscapers and sod farmers agree that it’s not recommended to lay sod over existing grass for several reasons:
- Sod must have contact with soil for the roots to grow.
- Existing grass may not be level and pockets of air create space for disease and fungus.
- The surface of the old grass has organic matter that may conflict with the sod being installed.
If new sod is being installed, old sod will need to be removed with a sod-cutter.