Will A DIY Sod Installation Save You Money, Or Is It Better To Call In The Pros?

It's a beautiful spring morning, and as you walk outside to take in the cool breeze, you notice that your yard is not looking as fresh as it once did. It is, in fact, so blotchy and unimpressive that it seems more like the turf at the dog park than your once beautiful lawn. You remember that your neighbors recently had their yard resodded, and while you cannot deny that their yard looks lush and inviting, you may not be convinced that coughing up the money to pay a team is worth it.

Learning how to install sod properly is no easy feat, especially in sweltering temperatures. In most cases, there is also a lot of work before actually laying the sod. You'll need to remove existing grass or weeds, prepare the soil, and level your yard if it's uneven. While you may be happy to do the grunt work and save hourly labor costs, remember to budget for the price of supplies and renting or buying equipment, such as a sod cutter to remove your old grass, a tiller to rotate the soil prior to placing the new sod, and a pH testing kit to ensure that the sod has all the necessary nutrients. And then there's the cost of the sod itself: you can expect to pay anywhere from $0.30 to $0.85 per square foot or between $2,600 and $7,500 for a fifth of an acre if you do it on your own.

The benefits of going professional

If you decide that it's time for a new lawn instead of a quick fix, you'll have lots to consider. First, the budget: in addition to paying for the materials, hiring a team to lay your sod will include their labor costs. With professionals, you can expect to pay $1 to 2 per square foot for sodding. If you have a smaller yard, this might not be too much of an issue, but homeowners who want to sod a large front yard and a backyard might be forced to reconsider their approach, given the price. Hiring a professional sod team can cost anywhere from $8,700 to $17,400 for sod and the labor to lay it, not to mention the costs associated with removing the old grass and preparing the soil.

Additionally, you may see the value in hiring a professional team if your yard is a challenging property. Lawns that are situated on a hill or with poor drainage can be more challenging to sod due to uneven moisture issues, in which the top of the yard can be dry while the bottom can experience pooling issues. Sodding a lawn is a physical task with quite a bit of labor, so some people may view hiring a team as the only natural option. Similarly, individuals who have recently undergone a life change, such as a new baby in the house, may need to outsource the process and direct their attention elsewhere.

Considering the budget versus the convenience

It's undeniable that laying sod yourself will save significant money. So, if you have the gumption and stamina to do a little research and track down the right supplies, installing your own sod can be worth the savings. If taking the DIY route, remember to set aside sufficient time to fit it into your busy schedule, as the sod will begin to die quickly if not installed, which can result in a massive waste of money. While the price for professional installation will undoubtedly be steep, the convenience factor is huge, with many companies capable of one-day sod installation.

Also important to consider is whether your entire yard needs to be resodded; in some cases, only a portion of your lawn may be struggling. Choosing to resod only the corner of your property that is clearly unhealthy will save big bucks and a lot of work. You can also opt for a hybrid of DIY and professional installation, in which you choose to prepare the soil yourself but hire a company to come and lay the sod, or vice versa. Before you commit to installing sod, however, remember that there are drawbacks you should know before using sod in your lawn. It could be more appropriate (and certainly more affordable) to look into grass seed over sod, depending on your needs.