lawn cost and advice

tracik3September 4, 2012

So, in our pricing there was a $4700 cost for sod and flower garden. We are going to have a pool put in with in 1 to 2 years. So, I don't want to have sod put down just to have it dug up. Dh wants to have it put down. We have a 22 pound inside dog. So, we have to have something down so she isn't bringing in red dirt on the new floors. Builder suggested we just put down rye and bermuda seeds at the same time and we would have some grass with in a month then in the spring the bermuda would come up. Does this sound right? I will post this in the garden section too. $1500 of the cost was the flower gardens for the front yard. I am going to have them put in the flower garden area but not the plants. So, he said $750 for that. The house is on 1/2 an acre. $3200 seems like a lot to me for sod. They just throw it down don't even roll it out to make it more even.

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Sod is the most expensive way of getting a lawn. But it sort of looks good on day one if they do a good job.

A lawn from seeds is cheaper and you get the kind of grass you want. But you need to look after it more. Mind you sod also needs looking after from day one. Watering is the most important aspect.

If I had to do my house again the things I would like to install are:

1) A decent aamount of top soil 8-inches minimum.
2) A sprinkler system.

This would make my lawn look so much better ... but both are expensive items.

Best, Mike.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 3:09PM
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I was going to ask if you are doing irrigation...that was so worth it for us! Our lot is b/w 1/3 and 1/2 acre...we sodded the front and seeded the back to save $. The difference b/w the two is huge, even a year later and even with core aerating and over-seeding last fall and monthly Tru Green applications of various fertilizer and weed/pest prevention. We are slowly seeing the back yard come around, but it will probably be another year or two before it looks as good as the front, which looks awesome. A dog who likes to go outside would seal the deal for me!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Call some local nurseries/sod dealers and ask their price per square foot for sod only. You'll quickly get an idea of the markup you're being offered. Keep in mind that your land might need to be prepped in some way.. leveled, top soil brought in, etc.

A 1/2 acre is 21,780 qs. ft. How big is your house's foot print? Let's say it's around 2000 sq ft, then you have to sod 19,780 sq. ft. max (you obviously won't sod flower beds and whatnot.) 19,780 / $3,200 = $6.18/sq. ft. For my area, that is high.... but it does back to how many feet are they actually sodding and how much do they need to do to prep the lot?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 7:21PM
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lolauren - your math is off. That price would be unbelievably cheap - $.15 a sqft.

We have a 1/2 acre lot and we went right to the sod company. It was $2000 or so but we have a lot of non sodded areas. I think it was about $.50 a sqft although it isn't priced that way.

The problem with lawn advice on a forum like this is that everyone's soil and climate is different. Seed might work very well in some areas.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 6:30AM
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$3200 for sod, including installation, prep work and adding top soil (if needed) seems like a pretty good deal to me! David_Cary is right - that is closer to about $.15 a square ft.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:54AM
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That IS cheap for sod. Incredibly cheap. But bermuda sod in late fall won't work so great. The best thing you can do is to spend some money on having topsoil brought in and overseed with winter rye to hold it in place, not sodding Bermuda in fall when its about to go dormant. And buy that top soil from some place reputable, not just scrapings from another construction site. The areas that you eventually sod will "take" better, and the areas that you decide to seed will also grow better.

If you are in an area that has bermuda being suggested, then the winter rye is a good one to tide you over winter with minimal erosion. Seeding or sodding bermuda in the fall is a waste of money. Not enough of it will remain in the spring to be able to give you a decent lawn if you seed, and the roots of sod will not make it into the subsoil to hold the sod in place. That would be fine if you didn't walk on it until summer when it greened up, but with a dog, you're likely to have significant shifting of the sod and it will be pretty lumpy bumpy by summer as the soil under it shifts from the traffic.

Look into doing centipede in the late spring of next year if you are far south enough for it. It's much lower maintainence than Bermuda as in it grows shorter and is more drought tolerant, and it's a tougher bladed grass to hold up to pets. It won't be as "pretty", and it's more expensive, but your water bills will be significantly less and the wear paths from the dog will be less apparent.

Speaking of does no good to put in sod or seed of any kind without some way of keeping it watered. A sprinkler system may seem to be one of those unexpected expenses that you didn't count on, but if you don't put it in now, you'll have to dedicate yourself to dragging a hose and sprinkler around your yard for a couple of months to make sure the grass is established. Putting in a sprinkler later will mean trenching up all of that established grass. The time to do it is when the yard is still dirt.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:06AM
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David.... oops! I divided backwards, eh? That number makes a lot more sense..... and, I agree, it's a great deal. That is what we can get grass seed for here!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Thanks for the advice still not totally sure what we are going to do. Maybe do we will sod our front yard and seed the back. I just hate paying to sod it just to dig it up later.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Our lot was sodded with bermuda last November and before "winter" hit ours had already taken root and has done just fine. We are in central Arkansas so it depends on your climate.

We also have an area that we seeded this summer that gets a lot of the water runnoff and that bermuda has grown crazy thick; it probably looks better than a lot of the sod. I was suprised to see how much seed cost.

If I were you, I'd try to find a sod dealer and get some quotes for the amount you need. We laid down over 1/2 an acre ourselves and although it took some work and getting dirty, it wasn't really hard to do.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Spend money on an irrigation system first. If you don't have money left just seed then. Sod will be tough to keep alive without irrigation. Our sod was about $0.30 per sq ft, bought directly from a Sod Farm. You pay a fee for the delivery and a per pallet price. We needed a full tractor trailer load, so it worked well for us.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:09AM
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bd is correct. Only sod if you have to have instant gratification. I'm across the river from him and I've seen hundreds of lawns just seeded in our clay and within a year or two, look great!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 10:51PM
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^ x 2 of the last two post.

About 3 years ago me and my dad got a tractor trailor full of sod for his yard and my yard. We installed an irrigation system in his yard and did not put one in my yard since I wasn't planning on staying there that long. Well guess which sod still looks green to this day and is the best lawn on the block and whose sod died before the end of the summer?

I would never even think about putting in sod without an irrigation system, total waste of money (not something I heard but actually experienced....expensive lesson learned!!)

just my .02 cents!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 12:29AM
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