How Much Does It Cost to Lay 500 Square Feet of Sod?

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Are you puzzled about how much it would cost to lay 500 square feet of sod in your yard? To put things into perspective, the average cost ranges from $998 to $1,723. This article will demystify and break down all the factors influencing this price range alongside a comparison between doing it yourself vs.

hiring professionals. Keep reading — an attractive and budget-friendly lawn could be just one click away!

Key Takeaways

  • The average cost to lay 500 square feet of sod ranges from $998 to $1,723.
  • Factors that can impact the cost include yard size and shape, accessibility and obstacles, yard condition, old grass and weed removal, land leveling requirements, soil preparation needs, fertilizer and herbicide treatments.
  • DIY sod installation can save money with costs ranging from $0.30 to $0.85 per square foot compared to professional installation at $2.00 to $3.45 per square foot.
  • Consider alternatives like grass seed or artificial grass for a more cost-effective or low-maintenance option.

Average Cost of Sod Installation

The average cost of sod installation can vary based on the size of the area, with typical prices ranging from $0.30 to $0.60 per square foot for the sod alone.

Sod cost estimator by size

To comprehensively break down the cost of sod according to size, we have constructed a detailed estimator. This is particularly beneficial for cost-conscious buyers looking to budget appropriately. The table below provides a clear depiction of the sod installation costs per square foot, including both materials and labor costs.

Square Feet Average Cost Range Average Cost per Square Foot
100-200 $300 – $600 $3.00 – $4.00
200-300 $600 – $920 $3.00 – $3.85
300-400 $900 – $1,380 $3.00 – $3.45
400-500 $1,200 – $1,725 $3.00 – $3.45
500+ $1,500 – $2,175+ $3.00 – $3.45+

This is based on the national average cost, which includes labor and materials. The cost for a pallet of sod, which typically covers between 400 and 500 square feet, can range from $400 to $1,000. The exact cost may vary depending on yard shape, condition, and accessibility, as well as other factors such as old grass and weed removal, land leveling, soil preparation, and potential sprinkler system installations.

Other factors that affect cost

Several factors can influence the cost of laying sod besides the size of your yard. Yard accessibility and any obstacles, such as trees or structures, can affect the time and effort required for installation, which may increase the overall cost.

The condition of your yard also plays a role, as any existing grass or weeds will need to be removed before laying the sod. Additionally, land leveling and soil preparation are necessary steps that can impact the cost.

Other factors include fertilizer and herbicide treatments, installation of sprinkler systems, and potential delivery fees if you’re purchasing sod from outside sources.

DIY vs. Professional Installation

Installing sod yourself can be a cost-effective option, with the potential to save on labor fees.

DIY cost breakdown

For cost-conscious buyers looking to save money, installing sod yourself can be a more affordable option. The cost breakdown for a DIY sod installation of 500 square feet ranges from $150 to $425. This includes the cost of the sod itself, which typically costs between $0.30 and $1.10 per square foot, as well as any additional materials like fertilizer or herbicide treatments. Keep in mind that this estimate does not include labor costs, so you’ll need to set aside some time and energy to complete the installation yourself.

How to install sod in 13 steps

Installing sod is a straightforward process that can be done by cost-conscious buyers. Follow these 13 steps to successfully install your own sod:

  1. Prepare the soil by removing any existing vegetation and debris.
  2. Test the soil pH and make any necessary adjustments using lime or sulfur.
  3. Add organic matter, such as compost, to improve soil structure and fertility.
  4. Rake the soil to create a smooth and level surface, removing any rocks or clumps.
  5. Install a sprinkler system or ensure you have access to water for regular irrigation.
  6. Lay the first row of sod along a straight edge, such as a sidewalk or driveway.
  7. Butt the edges of each piece tightly together, avoiding any gaps between sod rolls.
  8. Stagger the seams of each row to prevent visible lines in your lawn.
  9. Use a utility knife or sod cutter to trim pieces as needed around curves or obstacles.
  10. Water the newly installed sod immediately and keep it consistently moist for about two weeks.
  11. Avoid walking on or mowing the sod until it has established strong root growth.
  12. Fertilize the new sod after about one month with a slow – release fertilizer suitable for grass.
  13. Maintain regular watering, mowing, and fertilization practices to keep your lawn healthy.

DIY cost vs. professional cost

DIY sod installation can save you money compared to hiring a professional. The cost of laying sod yourself typically ranges from $0.30 to $0.85 per square foot, which is significantly lower than the average professional installation cost of $2.00 to $3.45 per square foot. By doing it yourself, you can potentially cut down on labor expenses and have more control over the overall budget. However, it’s important to consider your own skill level and available time before taking on this project independently.

Additionally, keep in mind that professional installation comes with its advantages as well. Hiring a professional ensures that the job will be done efficiently and correctly by experienced landscapers who have the necessary tools and equipment for sod installation. While it may add an additional cost of $40 to $80 per hour for labor, this option guarantees a higher quality outcome and reduces any potential risks or errors that could occur during DIY installation.

Consider both options carefully based on your budget, time availability, and personal expertise before making a decision on whether to tackle sod installation yourself or hire professionals for the job

Factors Affecting Sod Installation Cost

Several factors can influence the cost of sod installation, including yard size and shape, accessibility and obstacles in the yard, the condition of the yard, old grass and weed removal, land leveling requirements, soil preparation needs, fertilizer and herbicide treatments required.

Yard size and shape

The size and shape of your yard will have a significant impact on the cost of sod installation. Larger yards will generally require more sod, resulting in higher material costs. Additionally, irregularly shaped yards may require extra labor and preparation work to ensure that the sod is laid properly.

It’s important to consider these factors when budgeting for your sod installation project.

Yard accessibility and obstacles

Factors such as yard accessibility and obstacles can affect the cost of sod installation. If your yard is difficult to access or has obstacles like trees, rocks, or uneven terrain, it may require additional labor and equipment to prepare the area properly for sod installation.

This can result in higher costs compared to yards that are easily accessible and obstacle-free. So when planning your sod installation project, it’s important to consider these factors and budget accordingly.

Yard condition

The condition of your yard can impact the cost of sod installation. If your yard is in good condition and doesn’t require much preparation, the installation costs will be lower. However, if your yard has uneven terrain, poor soil quality, or existing grass and weeds that need to be removed, additional labor and materials will be needed, increasing the overall cost.

It’s important to assess the condition of your yard before getting a quote for sod installation to ensure an accurate estimate for the job.

Old grass and weed removal

Removing old grass and weeds is an important step in preparing your yard for sod installation. This process involves clearing out any existing plants or vegetation to create a clean slate for the new sod.

The cost of removing old grass and weeds can vary depending on the size of your yard and the extent of the growth. It’s crucial to allocate a portion of your budget for this task, as it ensures that your new sod will have a healthy foundation to grow upon.

Land leveling

Land leveling is an important factor that can affect the cost of sod installation. If your yard has uneven terrain or slopes, it may require land leveling to create a smooth surface for laying the sod.

The cost of land leveling will depend on the size and condition of your yard, as well as any obstacles that need to be cleared. The average cost of land leveling ranges from $500 to $1,000, but this can vary based on the complexity of the job and the equipment needed.

It’s important to budget for land leveling when calculating the overall cost of sod installation.

Soil preparation

Preparing the soil is an important step in sod installation that can affect the cost. Soil preparation involves removing any existing grass or weeds, leveling the ground, and treating it with fertilizer and herbicide if needed.

The condition of your yard’s soil will determine whether additional work is required. Costs for soil preparation can range from $100 to $500 depending on the size and condition of your yard.

It’s important to budget for this expense as proper soil preparation ensures a healthy foundation for your new sod.

Fertilizer and herbicide treatment

Fertilizer and herbicide treatment is an important factor to consider when calculating the cost of sod installation. Fertilizing the soil before laying sod helps promote healthy root growth and establishment, ensuring a lush and vibrant lawn.

The cost of fertilizer can range from $20 to $50 per bag, depending on the brand and quality. Herbicide treatment is necessary to eliminate weeds that may compete with the new sod for nutrients and space.

The cost of herbicides can vary based on the type of weed control needed, ranging from $15 to $40 per bottle or container. It’s essential to factor in these costs when estimating the total expenses for laying 500 square feet of sod.

Sprinkler systems

Installing a sprinkler system is an important factor to consider when laying sod. It can significantly affect the overall cost of installation. On average, the cost of installing a new sprinkler system ranges from $1,800 to $3,500.

This includes the cost of materials such as pipes, valves, controllers, and sprinkler heads, as well as labor fees. The size and complexity of your yard will also impact the total expense.

Additionally, if you already have an existing sprinkler system in place but it needs repairs or adjustments for proper watering of the new sod, these costs should be taken into account as well.

Sod Alternatives and Cost Comparison

There are a few alternatives to sod that you can consider when looking to cover your yard. Grass seed is one option, which can be more cost-effective but requires more time and patience for it to grow into a full lawn.

Artificial grass is another alternative, which has higher upfront costs but lower maintenance expenses in the long run. Hardscaping, such as using decorative stones or pavers, is also an option that eliminates the need for any type of grass.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each alternative before making a decision based on your budget and desired level of maintenance.

Grass seed

Grass seed is a more budget-friendly alternative to sod installation. The cost of grass seed typically ranges from $0.05 to $0.30 per square foot, making it a more affordable option for cost-conscious buyers. Additionally, if you choose to sow the grass seed yourself, you can save on labor costs associated with professional installation. Keep in mind that growing grass from seeds requires patience and proper maintenance, as it takes longer to establish compared to sod. However, with the right care and attention, grass seed can still provide you with a lush and healthy lawn at a fraction of the cost of sod installation.

Artificial grass

Artificial grass is a popular alternative to natural sod due to its low maintenance and long-lasting qualities. When considering the cost of laying artificial grass, it’s important to factor in both the upfront installation expenses and the long-term savings. On average, the cost of installing artificial grass can range from $5.00 to $20.00 per square foot, including labor and materials. Additionally, while natural sod requires ongoing watering, mowing, and fertilizing costs, artificial grass eliminates these expenses altogether. It also has an average lifespan of 15-25 years, making it a cost-effective choice for those looking to save money in the long run.


Hardscaping refers to the non-living elements in your outdoor space, such as walkways, patios, and retaining walls. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering sod installation costs, hardscaping can play a significant role in determining the overall expenses. The materials used for hardscaping, like pavers or stones, can vary in price depending on their quality and design. Additionally, factors such as the size of the area being hardscaped and any additional features you want to include will also impact the cost. It’s important to consider both softscape (like sod) and hardscape elements together when planning your landscaping budget.


The cost of laying 500 square feet of sod can range from $998 to $1,723, with an average cost of $2.00 to $3.45 per square foot. This price includes both labor and materials. Professional installation can add an additional cost of $40 to $80 per hour.


1. How much does it cost to lay 500 square feet of sod?

The cost to lay 500 square feet of sod can vary, but you can generally use a sod installation cost calculator or look at average sod prices per square foot for an estimate.

2. What is the average price of laying sod?

Average Sod installation prices depend on where you purchase your sod from and how much surface area needs covering, with costs often calculated per pallet.

3. Are there alternatives to using natural grass like artificial turf and what are their costs?

Yes! Artificial turf is another option, with its own set of costs in terms of installation that may differ from the regular pricing for installing natural grass.

4. How do I calculate the cost to install sq ft of sod myself?

You can use a Sod installation calculator which typically considers factors such as acreage covered, quality and type of grass chosen, labor charges amongst others.

5. Do home improvement stores like Lowe’s provide clear pricing on their selection?

Yes, most home improvement stores like Lowe’s offer transparent pricing based off the size and type selected which allows shoppers to swiftly calculate their expenses associated with laying down new greenery.

6. Does the amount we pay include only product cost or are there additional expenses involved during Sod installations ?

While direct product rates contribute majorly towards your expenditures; certain variables like delivery charges , preparation efforts etc might also add up impacting final Sod Installation Prices

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