Spending Some Green: The True Cost of Sod Installation

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated March 29, 2022
Fresh sod installation in yard
Photo: Rosmarie Wirz / Getty Images

Sod installation cost can be anywhere between $450 and $4,520. On average, the cost to sod a yard is $1,850. Expect to pay an installer between $1 and $2 per square foot for labor and materials

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

If you’re like us, you want to feel your lush lawn beneath your bare feet ASAP. The quickest way to get there is to lay sod instead of growing grass from seed. You could lay the sod yourself or hire a pro who has the skills and equipment to avoid seams and prep the ground for even coverage.

How Much Does it Cost to Lay Sod Per Square Foot?

When it comes to laying new sod, you have two choices: tackle the project on your own or hire a professional landscaper. Installers charge between $1 and $2 per square foot for labor and materials. Buying sod yourself costs $0.35 to $0.85 per square foot.

DIY Sod Installation Costs

The cost to sod a yard yourself is about $2,000 and will take about 40 hours. What you pay depends on the size of your yard, any obstacles you need to work around, and the species of grass you choose. If you opt to lay new sod yourself, you’ll need to:

  • Prep the yard. This includes ripping up any grass and weeds, then loosening the dirt.

  • Test the pH levels of your soil with an at-home soil testing kit ($15) to determine what type of fertilizer, and how much, you need.

  • Lay the topsoil at $12 and $30 per cubic yard.

  • Lay the new sod ($150 to $450 per pallet or $0.35 to $0.85 per square foot) so each row is staggered. Make sure the long edges are tight to one another, but the cut ends of the roll aren't side by side. 

Price to Have Sod Installed by a Pro

If you have an oddly shaped yard, an old lawn that needs to be ripped up at the roots, or if you’d rather not spend your evenings and weekends doing yard work, you could come out ahead by hiring a pro to install sod for you. 

Pros have the tools and experience to work around hazards in the yard, prepare the soil, and lay the sod evenly without visible seams. They can also advise you on what species of grass will work best for your area’s climate, your yard’s sun exposure, your budget, and your desired level of maintenance. 

How to Reduce the Price for Laying Sod

If you’re looking to cut the cost to sod a yard, you could save money by buying lower-priced species such as Bahia and Kentucky bluegrass. You could also buy the materials separately and just pay for labor, which might cost $35 to $75 per hour. Your installer is not likely to offer a guarantee beyond their own labor when you buy materials separately.

How Much Does It Cost to Sod a Lawn?

The cost to sod a lawn depends on your yard’s size and condition.

CostSize, Task, or Item
$2 – $5Per bag of topsoil
$12 – $30Cubic yard of topsoil
$15 – $200Topsoil delivery
$80 – $380Per fertilizer treatment
$450 – $900Per pallet of sod installtion (pallet = 450 sq. ft.)
$1,000 – $2,000Grass or weed removal
Up to $3,000Grading

Average Cost of Sod Installation Near You

Though the average cost of sod installation is $1,850 nationwide, it might vary where you live.

LocationAverage Price Range
Cape Coral, FL$840 – $2,600
Indianapolis, IN$800 – $2,200
Raleigh, NC$1,250 – $3,500
Tulsa, OK$1,100 – $2,300
Minneapolis, MN$870 – $2,200
Sacramento, CA$1,500 – $3,050
Chicago, IL$880 – $2,100
Los Angeles, CA$1,400 – $3,100
Trenton, NJ$1,700 – $4,375
Seattle, WA$1,370 – $3,270

Cost data is based on actual project prices reported by Angi members.

What Are Some Potential Problems With Laying Sod?

Uncooperative weather is a challenge when installing new sod. While some moisture helps the sod grow, a big downpour means your pristine black dirt becomes a muddy mess. Before getting to work, make sure to account for yucky weather and: 

  • If you can, cover your cleared, weeded dirt with a tarp. 

  • Watch the forecast and lay your sod on a clear day. Rolls of grass can survive for several days or weeks (at most), but if you store them any longer they'll start to decay, meaning you'll need to shell out for more new sod.

  • Once laid, sod will need a healthy drink of water. Avoid laying the sod right before a vacation or in times of water restriction when you won’t be able to water the lawn.

Temperature can also pose a problem. It's not ideal to install sod in very hot weather because adding fertilizer can cause the grass to burn. On the other hand, cold weather makes it more difficult for the grass to take. The ideal temperature to resod a lawn is 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Landscaper installing new fresh sod in yard
Photo: Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

Other Lawn Tasks to do While Laying Grass

If you enjoy hosting weekend cookouts or your yard frequently becomes a soccer field, consider if your lawn could use any enhancements to make it more useful.

  • Yard leveling: change the slope of the yard to give you more play area or improve drainage problems to keep water from your house

  • Adding gardens or walkways: pros can seamlessly edge your new sod around flower beds or decorative pathways

  • Adding a sprinkler system: A sprinkler system can be more efficient than hand-watering, and timers mean you don’t have to remember to water your lawn. Be sure to dig the trenches and lay the pipe before laying new sod.

FAQs

Should I choose sod or seed?

While the cost to sod a yard is about $1 per square foot higher than the cost of seeding a lawn, seed is generally more difficult to maintain over time. Seeded lawns can take up to two years to grow in completely and need regular weed control. Sod can immediately increase your home's curb appeal. Either way, be sure to protect your investment with proper lawn care.

How much sod should I buy?

A landscaping professional usually measures your yard for you as part of their quote. To measure your property yourself:

  • Sketch the outline of your yard, breaking it into smaller sections, if needed

  • Measure the areas in feet and write down the measurements as you go

  • Multiply the length and width of each area

  • Add them all together

When buying by the yard, divide your square-foot measurements by 9 to figure out how much you need. Because most material is non-refundable, be as accurate as possible while measuring and doing the math.

How long before I can walk on my lawn?

Keep the dog and kids off your gorgeous new grass because it takes 10 to 14 days for new sod to grow a healthy root system. Until the roots grow in, the grass is not firmly attached to the ground and could move around accidentally. Disturbing the grass mats during this stage could interrupt root growth and make it take a lot longer. 

After six weeks, roots should be stable enough to resume regular lawn and garden care, including mowing and edging.

How do I maintain new sod?

The truth is that even with hours of attention and unlimited watering, a lawn beautiful enough to please the home owners association might not be attainable. Know when to mow, fertilize, and repair bare patches, and accept that some dead grass is inevitable.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.