sod cutting anyone done this


LawnSite Member
Fargo Nd
Hey Lawnsite,
I got a estimate on a sod cutting and garden install for a yard. I ve talked a few times with the client and he would like me to remove the sod along a fence line and a little ways into the yard. They want a six inch buffer from the fence so that the neighbors dont get upset about the fence being hurt. I guess my question is about the removal of the sod the grond is even but the turf isnt that well kept very patchy.
The area is split into 2 different areas the first section is a 40ft x 2ft section along the fence. The second sction is the feature for the back yard. 45ft x 15ft. The sod will be removed with power sod cuter then tilled for plants and mulch.
Has anyone done this type of work or do you mostly just maintain lawns. i havent done this type of yard work yet and would appreciate any in put on the subjet. Thanks in advance for all the help.


LawnSite Gold Member
Mooresville NC
First, What do you mean by a 6" buffer? Are you taking out 6" or leaving 6 and than taking 2'. Taking 6 will be all hand work, sod cutter too wide, and leaving 6 will be hard to mow.
Cutting the sod is very easy with the cutter. Make sure the ground is dry and that it is not going to rain any time soon. I got rained on last year after I cut but before I picked it up, and it was a giant mess, a lot more work!
The most work will be picking up the sod, with patchy ground the stuff will want to break apart. What are you going to do with the sod?
When you price this, Ask yourself--- How much to rent sod cutter---how much time to get it / bring it back---How much time to cut sod---time to pick up sod---move it---where to move it to---off site disposal??, how much time to drive it there---dump it --get back--pay to dump??--Do you have a wheelbarrow---hand tools to do the job---Do you have the time to do this job or is this putting a burden on your mowing time--- are you doing the tilling and do you have the tiller?? Think all this through. I do not know for sure how long this will take but it is a lot of labor--how fast do you work? I would think this would take the better part of a day. When you SELL this make sure the homeowner knows about all the extra work and time.
For me this would fall in the 5-700$ range and I know that the homeowner is just thinking that it should only be a hour or two of throwing the sod in the back of your truck.
You have to educate the customer of what work is involved and the time. It would take him at least a whole weekend if he could even do it--too old --no tools--, make sure they know that. This is where selling skills come into play. If you want this work , sell it right. It is hard work and very dirty. Some kid will tell Mr. Homeowner that He could do that little job for a hundred bucks and don't pay G&P all that money. Don't get in a bidding war. Not worth it. This is all mindless work and all labor. If you want it price it right, or let kid do it and go sit and watch.

Gene $immons

LawnSite Bronze Member
PMLAWN said it all. CVonsider all of these things. Jobs like this can end up costing lots of time and money.

Sometimes on a landscape, we will spray the area with round-up and then wait a week or so before putting 6 or so inches of topsoil on top. This way works well also. No sod removal, no tilling.


LawnSite Fanatic
Beaverton, OR
We use sod cutters a lot. Yes, I have a lot of experience with them.

However, with the situation you described, I am not sure a sod cutter is appropriate. That doesn't seem like a very large amount of sod to remove. For a job that small, I'd usually just have 2 workers digging it up with a flat bladed shovel. That would only take an hour or two. And a sod cutter would cost more for that job that it would for a few guys to just go remove it by shovel.

Anyway, if you do want to use a sod cutter, that's fine. Be careful to protect the fence so it doesn't get hit by the handles of the sod cutter. Otherwise, sounds like you're on track. They're pretty easy to learn how to use. The guys at the rental shop will teach you and the rest you'll pick up on within a few minutes of using it. Be sure you understand how to adjust the sod cutter up and down.


LawnSite Member
Louisville, KY
Talk the customer into the 12 inch cut that a sod cutter would make to allow for plants to grow easier in the tilled area. Use a mantis type tiller for the job, they are great for jobs like this.
The 12 inch cut in the area you describe will also go deep enough to give a clean edge when mowing.


LawnSite Fanatic
Beaverton, OR
Use a mantis type tiller for the job, they are great for jobs like this.

MAYBE. It depends on how hard the soil is. In our area, where we have high clay soil, the mantis doesn't work in a lot of areas where sod used to be because the ground is just too hard. If the soil is good and soft, the mantis will work. Otherwise, you'll need a regular rototiller.

Also, with the mantis, remember to always PULL it. Never push a mantis. They're only made to rototill well if they are being pulled backwards.

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