Sod lawns cost about $3.50 per square foot, more than hydroseed but less than artificial turf.

Cost of lawn installation and maintenance

Installation costs per square foot:

  • Hydroseed: $.50-1.00
  • Sod: $3.50
  • Artificial turf: $8-$12
  • Backyard putting greens: $14
  • Sprinkler systems for turf: $2

Maintenance costs:

  • Mowing and edging: $30-$40 per visit for small suburban lots
  • Aeration and overseeding: $40-$60 per 1000 square feet
  • Fertilizing and weed control: $60 for an average application

Hand-seeding, hydroseeding, sod, and artificial turf vary greatly in both the initial installation cost and the ongoing cost to maintain. Learn more about the cost differences between these installation methods, both initially and over time.

Hand-seeding

Installation: A hand-seeded lawn is the cheapest type of lawn to install, and can often be done by the homeowner. While a hand-seeded lawn will need to have the soil prepared with topsoil and compost, as well as a sprinkler system and edging installed, the actual cost of seed and the labor to sow it is minimal.

The downside to installing a seeded lawn is that you need to keep it thoroughly watered for the first eight weeks so the lawn can germinate. In addition, a hand-seeded lawn has a lower success rate than hydroseed or sod because there is very little room for error in terms of soil temperature, water, etc. This means you may need to sow seed multiple times before you have the thick lawn you imagined. Weed seeds also sprout easily in any kind of seeded lawn, and that takes time and money to fix.

Maintenance: Once your lawn is established and healthy, a seeded lawn will be more robust and will have fewer disease issues than will a sod lawn. This is because a sod lawn is comprised of a single variety of grass, while a seeded lawn usually incorporates a blend of grasses which is better able to fight off pests and disease.

Hydroseeding

Installation: A hydroseeded lawn is an effective and relatively inexpensive option for seeding large spaces quickly. It costs more than hand-seeding, but quite a bit less than sod or artificial turf. Hydroseed has a higher success rate than hand-seeded lawns, because the papery mulch used in the hydroseeding mixture keeps seeds warm and protected. That said, hydroseeded lawns still need extra water, weed control, and protection from foot traffic in the first two months just like a hand-seeded lawn does. All of that costs time and money to implement, especially if you need to fence off the new lawn to protect it from pets.

Maintenance: A hydroseeded lawn is identical to a hand-seeded lawn in the sense that once established, it will be a stronger living turf than will a lawn started with sod. This means that over time, you’ll spend less money and energy applying pesticides.

Sod

Installation: A sod lawn costs more than twice as much to install as a hydroseeded lawn, both because the materials costs are higher and because it takes longer for your landscaper to piece together the sod over your lawn surface then it does to spray out the hydroseed mixture. That said, the appeal of sod is that you get instant results. You can walk on your sod lawn right away, you only need to provide special watering for the first two weeks, and rolling out sod over your soil actually prevents weed seeds that are already in the soil for sprouting. It’s a much easier installation process and looks beautiful from day one.

Maintenance: The downside to sod is in the long-term maintenance. Any time you are growing a monoculture, or a large area of one variety of plant, there is a greater risk for pest and disease issues because that single variety may not be able to withstand stresses as well. This is where hand-seeded and hydroseeded lawns shine. When you are growing a diverse blend of seeds on your lawn, it is unlikely that every single variety of grass will succumb to a pest or disease issue all at once. Because of this issue, a sod lawn can require more pesticides and care over time than will a seeded lawn.

Artificial turf

Installation: Artificial turf is the most expensive type of lawn to install, costing double that of a sod lawn installed with sprinklers. In order to install artificial turf, your landscaper will create a base using a 4 inch layer of crushed rock, which is more expensive than topsoil or compost. In addition, the rolls of artificial turf cost more than sod, and the installation process is more involved.

Maintenance: The benefit to using artificial turf is that it takes pretty much zero maintenance. No water, no mowing, no fertilizing or pest control; all you need to do is keep it free of debris by periodically using a blower on the surface.

Landscaping Network

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