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Contractor help for Sod

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Marina on June 02, 2006 09:51 AM
Hey all [Wink] So... I guess there comes a time in every person's life when they must hire their first contractor/landscaper. I wanted to ask some honest opinions from an unbaised place about the price I have been quoted (generally... the consultations are coming up)

I have a very small yard with awful bare grass. We decided to go with sod and to hire someone because we are honestly too tired/busy to do it ourselves as planned. What would you all think is a normal amounnt to be charged to lay sod in a yard smaller then 200 square feet? The existing lawn will need to be replaced and some ground prep will be needed.

One guy told me about $1000 and the other estimates have been from 400-700. What do you guys think?

Thanks all [Smile]

Marina-
by Longy on June 02, 2006 05:13 PM
I'm not sure of the price. 200' sq is 10' x 20' so it's not a very big area.
I guess the price includes all the soil ammendments, and i'd ask what that includes. Like if the $1000 guy is gonna improve the soil for drainage if necessary, till it and add whatever, level, shape and fertilise it as well as water it then he may be better than the $700 gut who only levels the soil and rolls out the turves then 6 months later the grass dies because of bad preparation work.
by Marina on June 03, 2006 08:09 AM
Thanks folks. We had some people here for more detailed estimates. They don't need to grade the soil but will:

get up old lawn
till
test the soil/add lime if needed, etc
put down turf
fertilize.

I don't know I think we may just do it ourselves. It seems like an awful lot to pay (700 was the lowest of the detailed estimates) when I looked into getting the sod and it would cost us 50 cents a foot at the most (100 bucks) the tiller will cost about 60 bucks to rent and then a roller (25 bucks) plus the sweat work.

Putting in new sod just seems so labor instensive.

Sigh.... I don't want to give up the dreams of grass.... but seeding doesn't seem like an option for us, given the time of year and the need to walk across the yard to water our veggies and flowers.

Marina-
by fredtucker on June 03, 2006 08:16 AM
wow you do have a predicament.i would love to help you guys out but i live in va. [grin]
by Marina on June 03, 2006 09:41 AM
I'm in VA [Smile] lol

We'll have to do something soon I can't stand the dirt and weeds. Steve promised me the grass when I agreed to the place and this has been one frustrating ordeal. I am ready to just dig it up, start fine leveling it and just throwing some seeds down and seeing what happens. Can't we worse then what we have know, ya know [Smile]

[Smile]

Marina-
by Longy on June 04, 2006 08:02 AM
Personally, i'd probably do it myself, but i have the time and it's the type of thing i like to do. However, i wouldn't try and get out of it on the cheap by levelling and throwing a few seeds around.
If you decide you're gonna do it yourself, do it the same way the experts are gonna do it, or you'll be disappointed. Then in 12 months time you'll be digging it up and getting the experts in anyway. Do it once, do it right.
Do the soil test, add the lime, remove the old grass, etc etc.
To be honest, in my opinion, if you're not inclined to doing it properly, pay the bucks and get it done by experts. The quality of a job should last long after the price is forgotten.
Get a company with a good reputation. Ask them to direct you to jobs they have done previously and go look at a few.
700 bucks is a lot of money, but if the job is a good one then so what. The peace of mind will be worth it. 300 bucks wasted is a heck of a lot more in my opinion.

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The secret is the soil.
by Marina on June 04, 2006 12:48 PM
You're 100% right.... I was more or less just frustrated. Me and Steve love working in the yard...so maybe we will take a few weekends and just do it ourselves, or just suck it up and shell out the cash. I want a lawn to last awhile, not to have to redo it every year [Smile] Thank you for helping to talk me down from my poor idea [Smile]

Now... I just need to get literature or info about the best way to do it and figure out how to get someone to do some soil testing, I definetly want that done correctly, our soil isn't the best and is very hard-packed.

[Smile] I appreciate your input advice!

Marina-
by tkhooper on June 05, 2006 12:01 AM
Soil Test call the university extention coop they will tell you how to get the sample and then they do the test. Their may be a minimal charge but it won't cost much and will tell you what you need. They even have master gardeners that come out and talk to you down here in prince william so I'm sure it's the same up there too.

About labor intensive work. Split the garden into sections and do one section each week, month or however you need to until you finally have what you want. If you have to walk across the lawn to get to the veggie garden think about making some kind of path with stepping stones or something else so that the grass won't look bad in that area. That can be a start to sectioning the area so it's not one huge job. Also if you do that you may decide that you would like a boarder to the walk way with flowers which then means less lawn that you have to put down. And who knows where your plan may go from there. Remember if a lawn isn't taken care of it can soon return to the state yours is probably in now so it's best to find out if your up to the work in the beginning rather than spending a bunch of money that reverts to what it was in a few years. The water restrictions we get stuck with often, can really affect the look of a lawn. That's why I'm going with drought tolerant flowers.

Our cooperative extention is (703) 792-6287 they can probably give you the number for the one in your area.

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by Marina on June 05, 2006 03:16 AM
WOW thank you for all that help! I think we have alll but completely decided to do the work ourselves. Thank you for the number of the extension office, I didn't even know what that was or anything. It would be nice if they did have a master gardener who could come talk to us, that would be a huge help [Wink]

Basically at this point we just need to figure out what equipment we need to get the grass thats theres up, till the soil, roll the soil/sod, and even out the ground.

I like your idea about doing one section as a time, it would be easier for us that way. We also like the idea of a walkway, we have been planning on putting a patio in our side yard (which gets all shade, so we don't plan to do grass there, just some shade loving plants around the patio to make a sort of cozy spot for us.

Thanks, I will give the extesion office a call Monday they will hopefully be able to direct me in the right place.

Marina-

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