Sod Installation Advice and Pricing

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Jencathen, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Jencathen

    Jencathen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hi! I was wondering if someone could give me a hand on figuring out what to charge a new customer and the best steps to prep for laying the sod.

    Because of the location and type of sun and traffic he is getting it was recommended by a sod supplier that we put in Celebration Bermuda which costs $150 a pallet and that covers approx. 450 sq. ft. The area I'm sodding is approx. 750 sq. ft. I have attached a couple of pics my husband took so please forgive the quality of them. LOL

    I've seen on the forums people charging anywhere from .75 to 2.50 per Sq. Ft. Does this include all the overhead like delivery charge, prep work, hauling off old sod, and labor?

    I will need to rent the equipment to use for prep work. Because the homeowner lives in another state, I will need to go back to water the sod every other day for 3-4 weeks and the drive is about 30 minutes one way.

    As far as the steps to prep, I'm a bit confused. Some say to use a rototiller and then rake and remove the old stuff then even out with topsoil and fertilize. Another person stated to just use a sod cutter.

    I guess what I'm interested in knowing from people who are very experienced at sodding is what is the best method for prep and what equipment do I need?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Sod Job1.jpg

    Sod Job2.jpg
  2. dave50kate

    dave50kate LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Here is what I do in Salem, Oregon. 1) I kill the existing persistent weeds, two roundup sprays at weekly intervals with another week or two to show its death. We have bent grass and annual bluegrass in our climax lawn. The bent needs to be very dead or its rhizomes are back up in a short period of time. 2) Peal the sod off with a sod cutter. 3) rototill 4 to 6 inches deep, grade rake, and roll to compact, regrade as needed, re-roll. (add 2 inches of compost prior to tilling if in the budget). 3) apply the fertilizers, dampen soil and then install sod, roll it for good soil contact. 4) set up your BATTERY POWERED TIMER on the hoses, lay out the hoses and sprinklers, test it and come back once or twice in the next week to make sure the timer is working and watering adequately. 5) bill the customer!!! a small area like this will approach $2.00/sf (or more), adding mulch at about .35 to .40 per sf to that price(labor + material [about 1 hour /cu yd labor]). Larger areas2500 sf wiill be $1.25 to $1.75 / sf. I rent all gas equipment but my blower. I pay to dump the old sod and debris. My Labor rate is $35/hr.
  3. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Jesus first off tell them to get rid of those stupid trees or it is going to be tough to grow grass. Can't have both.

    I would tell them to dig out a mulch bed around the perimeter as well rather than have the grass running up against the house/walls and what not. It will save money on the sod too. If they want trees put them in the corners not the middle of the yard.

    Just scalp whatever is there with a trimmer/mower on it's lowest setting, rake up debris and then kill the rest.

    Lay the sod right over top of it with some starter fertilizer.

    If sod costs you $250 I would charge around $400 - $450 to put it in.

    Done deal.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I don't know why anyone would recommend putting a full sun turf under trees. Personally I would ditch the turf idea and landscape around the trees, especially without irrigation in place.
  5. Jencathen

    Jencathen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Celebration Bermuda grass is not a full sun application. The reason it was chosen was because of its low maintenance, tolerance of the amount of shade the client would get, and he is bound and determined to have sod because this property is being sold ASAP.

    Here is a link about celebration bermuda. Obviously, I'm not a sodding expert, but my supplier is and we did some research after he told us about it. Here is the link. It is kind of interesting.
  6. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    The trees need to go.

    They will likely get bigger, much bigger and there will be no sunlight whatsoever.

    I don't care what kind of shade tolerant grass you get it will die, especially if it is bermuda.

    Grass or trees. Take your pick.
  7. Jencathen

    Jencathen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hi Big! We won the bid so I'll tell my husband to discuss the tree issue, but I don't think the owner cares as he is just prettying up the property to sell ASAP so he doesn't care in the long run probably if the sod dies or not. I think it is more window dressing.

    Thanks for your tips though. Being the new kid on the block in this industry has a huge learning curve and I appreciate being able to come to a forum and get the advice from experienced professionals. :clapping:
  8. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Tell the customer the yard would look better with the trees gone, and it will probably sell faster.

    The yard does not look that big to start with and when you plant 3 trees smack in the middle it takes what little space you had and shrinks it even more froma visual perspective.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I don't agree. The classification of "fair" shade tolerance means it will not do well in shade ... which is typical for a bermudagrass. I still don't think turf, of any kind, is appropriate here, especially without irrigation.
  10. GrassIsGreenerLawnCare

    GrassIsGreenerLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 636

    it doesnt matter. obviously she doesnt care either. she was just asking for advice of how to go about putting it in. its obvious that the homeowner wants a temporary solution just so he can get rid of the property and she just so happened to be the one installing it. i would have done the same thing if some1 asked me to put it in. i would have given the same advice about the trees myself, but in the end it doesnt really matter what u think does it? its in the customers hands

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