Artificial Turf Cost Breakdown
The grass might always be greener on the other side, but it doesn’t always cost the same amount. However, even artificial turf isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are a lot of factors that affect the overall price of this project. Here’s a full breakdown.
Artificial grass costs anywhere between $2 and $8 per square foot, though stores typically sell it per roll or linear foot.
|Yard Size||Average Turf Cost|
|50 sq. ft.||$100 – $400|
|100 sq. ft.||$200 – $800|
|200 sq. ft.||$400 – $1,600|
|500 sq. ft.||$1,000 – $4,000|
|1,000 sq. ft.||$2,000 – $8,000|
|5,000 sq. ft.||$10,000 – $40,000|
|10,000 sq. ft.||$20,000 – $80,000|
Labor costs range between $3 and $9 per square foot, depending on the size of the yard and the amount of excavation needed. The more complicated the job and uneven the yard, the more you’re going to pay in labor costs.
There are three main types of artificial grass. You could save a couple of dollars per square foot by choosing the most affordable option, but it’s not always the best grass for the space. You’ll save money in long-term maintenance and repairs by choosing an artificial grass that’s durable enough for your lifestyle (and your pets).
Nylon synthetic grass costs anywhere from $5 to $6 per square foot. This higher-end material offers superior strength and retains its shape even under heavy foot traffic, but it can feel somewhat unnatural. Nylon tends to hold up better than other materials when it comes to extreme heat, so you might want to consider this option if you live somewhere that has scorching summers.
You’ll pay around $2 to $6 per square foot for polypropylene, which is a great option for those who need artificial turf for athletic purposes. It still feels like real, soft grass, but you’ll also find that it’s durable enough for cleats and golf clubs.
At $2 to $4 per square foot, polyethylene is the most affordable option. Since it’s also the least durable, it’s best to keep this type of turf away from areas that receive high heat or heavy foot (or paw) traffic.
Additional Turf Cost Factors
Shape of Yard
Since retailers typically sell artificial grass in squares or rectangular rolls, you’ll pay more for a pro to cut curves or fit turf into non-standard-sized spaces, like between individual pavers. This could add $1 to $3 per square foot to your overall labor costs.
Costs vary depending on where you want to install your artificial grass since some areas require the use of specialized materials and tools. Expect to spend more to install grass on rooftops, stairways, pool areas, and concrete than you would to install it in your average backyard.
Brands that are considered “high-end” can cost several dollars more per square foot than the more commonly found store brands.
|Brand||Cost per Sq. Ft.|
|Petgrow||$2 – $3|
|SunVilla||$3 – $4|
|SYNLawn||$5.50 – $7.50|
|ForeverLawn||$4.50 – $9.50|
|ProGreen||$4.50 – $11.50|
Turf blades come in different shapes that mimic real grass. Some are softer, which feels great on the feet, while others are stiffer and more durable. You can expect to spend more on highly-durable, heat-resistant blade types (like “W”-shaped blades) than you would on softer, less durable blades (like “S”-shaped blades).
If you want to avoid wrinkles, bumps, and potential flooding in your artificial turf, you’ll need to install a base material. There are different types of artificial grass subbases at different price points. Most commonly, people installing artificial turf will choose decomposed granite for its superior drainage properties. Expect to spend $0.30 to $0.70 per square foot.
Infill protects your artificial grass from the sun, gives it a springy cushioning under your feet, and keeps the blades perky. Typically, infill is made from silica sand or crumb rubber, but specialized types (like cooling, anti-odor, or antimicrobial infill) cost more. You’ll need about 1 pound of infill per square foot of artificial turf, which runs roughly from $0.25 to $1.75 per pound for the basic types.
Preparation and Cleanup Costs
Your contractor will need to prep for installation by excavating the yard to even up the ground. This costs $50 to $200 per cubic yard and will give your lawn a much more clean and even appearance. Your pro will also need to clean up when they’re done, which includes disposing of old dirt and grass and costs between $8 and $25 per cubic yard. If the organic material can stay on your property, the cost decreases to an average of $1 to $15 per cubic yard.
Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass
As with any project, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the final product before writing a check. So let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons of artificial grass.
You don’t have to mow artificial grass.
Artificial turf is always green.
It’s nearly pest-free.
You don’t have to water artificial grass.
You don’t need fertilizer or other chemical lawn treatments.
Artificial grass is more expensive than natural grass or sod.
It can get hot in the summer.
Some homeowners associations don’t allow artificial grass.
Best Locations for Artificial Turf
You don’t have to cover your entire yard with artificial grass if you don’t want to. This pristine evergreen lawn carpet works perfectly to set special areas apart, from secret gardens to pool surrounds. You can find several special uses for artificial turf that don’t require you to take the “all or nothing” approach to your yard. Here are some more unique examples:
Designated pet bathroom spots
Kids’ play areas
Mini golf holes/putting greens
Cost to Install Artificial Grass Yourself
It costs anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 to install artificial grass yourself. If you know how to install artificial grass, this could be a great option, as DIY costs are significantly below the national average for hiring a pro for this project.
Although many people find it simple to roll out the artificial turf like a rug, it can be difficult to seamlessly fit the pieces together, secure the grass, and install proper drainage so your yard doesn’t flood. To keep your artificial lawn looking great for years to come, it’s important to properly prepare the area so the yard doesn’t get lumpy from settling in uneven spots. For this reason, many people hire a local landscaper to help.
Doing the job yourself saves you from paying directly for labor, but you’ll also want to consider what your time is worth. Installing artificial turf yourself will take much longer than it will for a professional with the experience and the right tools for the job. If you’re going the DIY route, expect to pay about $685 for tools and materials, which does not include the cost of the turf itself.
|Tools and Materials||Price|
|Sod cutter rental||$100|
|Laser level rental||$65|
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
If you do this job yourself, you’ll wind up spending at least $685 on tools and materials, plus the cost of your artificial grass, base material, and infill. For those with larger yards, using a shovel and wheelbarrow to move up to several dozen cubic yards of gravel and sand will take a very long time. In this case, hiring a pro with the proper equipment may be well worth the time and backache saved by not moving stone and soil manually.
If you hire a local turf installation pro, labor will cost anywhere from $3 to $9 per square foot. In other words, you could save a significant amount by DIYing, especially if you have a larger or unusually shaped yard. However, you’ll only truly save money if you do the job correctly. Flooding, water damage, and misshapen turf can all lead to costly repairs that may make you wish you had hired a pro in the first place.
Cost of Common Add-Ons
Some people choose to install artificial turf like they would install a carpet, rolling large pieces down one at a time and calling it a day. That might look nice as a temporary way to spruce up your landscaping, but it won’t last long-term. For longevity and the best look possible, you’re going to need to invest in some add-ons.
If you have an existing natural grass lawn, grass removal will cost between $1 and $2.75 per square foot. Leaving the existing lawn in place can eventually lead to lumps and uneven turf as the grass dies underneath. Plan on removing the existing sod and dirt to make room for a base of crushed limestone and sand.
If you have any trees or stumps to get rid of, do that before you install your new artificial grass. Removing a tree costs between $200 and $2,000 or more, depending on the size, location, tree type, and accessibility.
Any leaning trees or those that have large branches that could drop at any moment are a disaster just waiting to ruin your newly-installed turf. Plus, if you wait for stump removal, the stump will leave behind a hole that will either need to remain a landscaping feature or be patched in. New patches made to existing turf that has been weathered and worn likely will not match, giving your yard a less-than-appealing look. Proactive tree removal and stump grinding can save you money and frustration later on. However, unless the tree is very small, hire a professional to fell any timber before you lay your new evergreen turf.
No, artificial turf does not need to be watered. However, you will definitely want to wash it, especially if you have pets that may end up using the turf as a bathroom. Aside from that, you’ll need to wash away normal dust, dirt, and droppings from other animals, too. You can spend the time using the hose or power washer, or you can go ahead and budget for lawn sprinkler system costs, which range from $1,600 to $3,600.
To prevent pooling, you need to make sure your artificial turf has proper irrigation. A decomposed granite subbase can help, but you may also want to install an artificial grass drainage system. The cost of landscape drainage may be as little as $100 for a yard inlet or as much as $2,000 for an underground downspout.
Landscaping fabric costs $0.40 to $0.80 per square foot. This serves as a barrier that prevents weeds from damaging your artificial turf by growing right through it.
You can choose one of several artificial grass edging options to provide structure and prevent ground erosion. Flexible edging is less than $1 per linear foot, while stone edging costs as much as $5 per linear foot.
3 Ways to Save Money on Artificial Turf
If you want the most bang for your buck, artificial turf costs do have some wiggle room. Of course, you want to start by searching for the best deal online or buying your grass wholesale. Here are some more tips that can save you money on artificial turf costs.
1. Do the Prep Work Yourself
By DIYing the prep work, you may be able to save your pro some time when it comes to laying down the turf, which could bring down the labor costs by as much as $3 to $5 per square foot.
Common items you can tackle ahead of time are:
Clearing the top 2 inches of soil
Taking care of existing weeds and laying weed-control membranes
Adding a layer of gravel and compacting it to create an even surface
Pouring down sand to eliminate any bumps developed by the gravel
Be sure to communicate with your installer to make sure you’re prepping in the right way. If your idea of “done right” and the pro’s idea don’t line up, it can be more than a little awkward. This can cause unnecessary friction and frustration for both parties and end up costing you for site prep anyway if the pro has to redo it.
2. Choose Budget-Friendly Materials
While budget-friendly turf types can lead to higher long-term maintenance costs, you can save money by choosing more affordable materials in low-traffic areas. Skip high-end brands and reach for affordable manufacturers with good ratings for your turf, subbase, infill, and edging.
3. Use Recycled or Reclaimed Turf
Since turf is basically just plastic, people can easily recycle and reclaim it. Probably the best way to save on artificial turf costs is to opt for recycled turf instead of brand-new turf.
Mariel Loveland contributed to this piece.