Here's How Much Getting the Greenest Lawn Will Cost You

In the American view of what a front yard should look like, a green lawn is up there with a white picket fence and an American flag.

The ideal home has its costs, with a green lawn being more expensive than some rocks and a few plants. And that's before you factor in maintenance and other costs to keep a grass lush and alive.

Whether you start with grass seed, put down sod, or install a synthetic lawn, a green lawn can be an expensive way to increase curb appeal. Based on a yard size of 2,000 square feet, here's a breakdown of those three methods, starting with the cheapest.


There are a few ways to start a lawn by planting grass seed. Without going into all of the details on how to prepare a lawn for seeding, this can still be a labor-intensive job and may be something you want to hire a professional for. Prep work can include removing dead materials and weeds, adding at least four inches of fresh topsoil or tilling the existing ground, and making the ground level.

If you're going to do it yourself, you can buy a 50-pound bag of Kentucky bluegrass seed for about $100, or a three-pound bag for about $15. Depending on where you live, two three-pound bags may be enough to start a new lawn on 2,000 square feet.

Total Cost: $30

Another method of seeding is broadcast seeding, where dry grass seed is spread on prepared ground, watered thoroughly, and covered with straw. With $30 in seeds and about $45 for three bales of hay, you're in business.

Total Cost: $75

A more costly method is hydroseeding, also called hydraulic mulch seeding. A slightly thickened mixture of seeds, mulch, and other material is pumped from a tank onto the ground. Little prep work is required.

Hydroseeding costs six cents to 20 cents per square foot, or $120 to $400 for 2,000 square feet. This is just for the seeding and doesn't include labor or other costs that go with it, such as water from your home. The slurry mixture of hydroseeding includes fertilizer, green dye, and a tackifying agent to help keep everything where it needs to be.

Expect the equipment and professional labor of hydroseeding to cost two to four times the cost of the seed. Since you're unlikely to own the equipment for this process, plan on hiring a professional for $240 to $1,600.

Total Cost: Up to $2,000


Laying sod yourself can save half the cost of a professional, though your back may not thank you for the savings. The prep work can be difficult by itself, but add in the tasks of unloading rolls of sod from a truck and laying them down in neat patterns and you'll be busy for an entire day.

Sod costs eight cents to 30 cents per square foot, putting our 2,000-square-foot lawn at $160 to $600.

Delivery can range from free to half the total cost of the sod. You may also need to buy or rent tools such as a rake, rototiller, and lawn roller, and seeds for spot seeding after the sod is installed. Assuming you own all of the supplies or can borrow them from someone for free, your total cost is as much as $600 if you do all of the work. If you hire a professional, the sod will cost 14 cents to 60 cents per square foot, or $280 to $1,200.

The shape of your yard will affect the labor costs. A flat, square area is easier and cheaper to lay sod than a curved area with slopes. Expect labor to cost at least twice as much as doing it yourself, pushing a $600 job into a $1,200 one.

Total Cost: $1,200 or more


Synthetic, artificial grass can look like the real thing, and can save you a lot of money in the long run because it doesn't need water. A 12x6' patch of fake grass costs about $100, meaning that about 2,000 square feet would cost about $2,800. And that's a deal.

Home Depot sells a top-of-the-line synthetic grass for about $4 per square foot, or $8,000 for our 2,000 square feet. The turf usually comes in 15-foot widths and installation requires a lot of steps, such as adding a seam between sections. Expect professional installation to cost double what the synthetic grass costs alone.

Total Cost: $16,000

Ready to Work?

If you're willing to do the work yourself, seeding can be the least expensive route to a new, green lawn. For a few bags of seed and a lot of prep work, the seed might catch and you'll have a new lawn. If you want to avoid all of the work and costs of installation and ongoing upkeep of a green lawn, save your pennies and have synthetic grass installed. It may even look better than real grass, though your bank account won't.

How do you keep your landscape the envy of the neighborhood?

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Guest's picture

Sod at Home Depot in the San Francisco Bay Area is $412 for 500 sq. ft. or about 80 cents per sq. ft., way more expensive than the 8 to 30 cents in this article. I have an estimate for 2100 sq. ft. installed for $5200. They are scrapping the old yard down one inch and then putting the new sod down. A lot more expensive than the estimate above.

Guest's picture

Buy Sod direct from the farm at less than half of Home Depot