Tips on the Cost of Putting in a Lawn

Lush green lawns are a high priority on many homeowners' wish lists. The type of grass you plant depends on a number of factors: climate, maintenance, hardiness zone and usage. For example, some varieties such as Bermuda grass do better in dry, hot climates., while others such as zoysia take heavy traffic. The cost of the grass itself is just one of the costs of putting in a lawn.

Square Footage

How big the lawn area is has a major effect on the cost of the lawn. A one-acre property will cost quite a bit more than a 100-square-foot play area. Calculate the square footage by measuring the length and width and multiplying the two measurements. For example, if the length is 150 feet and the width is 30 feet the square footage of the lawn is 4,500 square feet.


A lawn for entertaining and lounging is different than a lawn for playing games or practicing golf. Walkways that receive heavy foot traffic need a different variety of grass or a hybrid. Grasses, whether seed or sod, have different prices. It's a waste of money to buy a grass that will not stand up to heavy usage; it will require replacement.

Irrigation System

Installing an irrigation system is an expensive undertaking that may be necessary for large lawns or lawns in climates that don't receive at least an inch of rainfall per week. Watering with a sprinkler attached to a hose is, of course, a substitute and is a good emergency fall back for dry weather.

Soil Preparation

Putting in a lawn over an area that previously has been used for flower beds, borders or a garden requires less soil preparation and therefore less cost than installing a lawn over an area that has never been cultivated. You may have to rent a tiller if the ground is hard or the area too big to dig with a shovel. Soil amendments such as gypsum for alkaline soil, organic material such as compost and fertilizer add to the cost of the lawn as well.

Seed or Sod

Seed is cheaper than sod. Plugs of grass fall between the two. Consider using sod for heavy traffic areas, play areas or entertaining and then plugging or seeding the other areas. You'll have grass ready to go but won't have spent as much as if you had sodded the entire lawn. An alternative for some grasses is to plant stolens or sprigs of the grass that will root, rather than seed or sod.

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About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.