Quick Intro

Laying sod in Chicago

Chicago has a continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters. It experiences all four seasons.

This climate shows vast temperature variation within a year, leading to periods of drought and wetness. This leads to distinct cycles of grass growth and dormancy.

Grasses that do well in Chicago must be able to withstand both cold winter temperatures and hot summer temperatures. Grasses commonly found in the area include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue.

Let's take a look at some costs for different lawn sizes.

Chicago Sod Cost Chart

Listed below are average price ranges for various yard sizes and sod types

Kentucky BluegrassTall FescuePerennial RyegrassFine Fescue
500 sq ft$175 - $350$300 - $425$150 - $325$225 - $375
1000 sq ft$350 - $700$600 - $850$300 - $650$450 - $750
1500 sq ft$525 - $1050$900 - $1275$450 - $975$675 - $1125
2000 sq ft$700 - $1400$1200 - $1700$600 - $1300$900 - $1500
2500 sq ft$875 - $1750$1500 - $2125$750 - $1625$1125 - $1875
3000 sq ft$1050 - $2100$1800 - $2550$900 - $1950$1350 - $2250

*Keep in mind these sod prices only include the sod itself - not delivery fees, sod installation, and other lawn care services.

Timing it just right

Is now a good time to lay sod in Chicago?

As you can see in our handy chart below, february is generally not the best time to lay sod in Chicago.

Because the daytime temperature averages between 21° and 37° degrees fahrenheit, it will be difficult for the grass to take root and grow. Consider waiting until the weather warms up a bit.

Average high in february

37°

Average low in february

21°

february is a

bad time

to lay sod in Chicago, IL

Click/scroll on the months above to see average temperatures and how that affects the best time to lay sod.

What is the best grass for Chicago, Illinois?

Because of the climate in Chicago, Illinois, the best sods to grow are cool-season grasses. Below is a list of these grasses and their ballpark prices:

Price Considerations

Chicago Sod DIY Installation vs. Hiring a Sod Company

When it comes to sodding your new lawn in Chicago, Illinois, there are two options to consider. Each offers its unique set of advantages and disadvantages:

Hiring a Landscaping Company

Going with a landscaping company means a comprehensive, hands-free solution. They have teams that manage everything from sourcing quality sod to preparing the ground, taking care of sod delivery to your property, and installing the turf grass for you.

Cost: This is when you want the white glove "do it all for me" approach. You're not just paying for the product but also for professional labor, project management, and often, a service warranty. Expect to pay $300 or more per pallet of sod and double that figure for installation.

Sod Procurement options in Chicago, Illinois: Landscaping Company vs. Sod Farm

Purchasing Directly from Sod Farms

Want to save a little cash? Sod farms are the way to go. This DIY approach comes with its own set of challenges, but the cost-saving potential for homeowners is significant.

Cost: Prices can drop to as low as $150 per pallet when buying in bulk from sod farms near Chicago, offering you substantial savings. You'll sometimes need to go pick up the sod yourself as well.

DIY: The trade-off here is the manual labor involved in self-installation. Additionally, many sod farms operate on a minimum purchase policy, commonly starting at multiple pallets, which typically covers at least 1000 square feet.

Poor Online Support: Don't expect a sophisticated online browsing experience. Most sod farms have basic websites, so you'll likely need to make a phone call or fire off an email conversation to get ahold of availability and pricing.

Interested in going the farm route?

Here are the 10 closest sod farms to Chicago:
  • Central Sod Farms Inc5816 W. Ogden Avenue Cicero, Illinois 60804 4 miles away
  • Central Sod Farms Inc7950 W. Belmont Ave Chicago, Illinois 60634 10 miles away
  • Central Sod Farms Inc11001 S. Cicero Ave Oak Lawn, Illinois 60453 10 miles away
  • Lurvey Sod Farm2550 East Dempster Street, Des Plaines, IL 60016 17 miles away
  • Central Sod Farms Inc7114 W. Lincoln Highway Frankfort, Illinois 60423 25 miles away
  • Lurvey Sod Farm1819 N. Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60004 25 miles away
  • Central Sod Farms Inc26 W. 258 Lake Street Hanover Park, Illinois 60133 25 miles away
  • Central Sod Farms Inc2239 N. Rand Road Palatine, Illinois 60074 28 miles away
  • Greener Gardens Sod Farm9841 W Dralle Rd, Frankfort, IL 60423 29 miles away
  • Central Sod Farms Inc25605 W 111th St Plainfield, IL 60585 31 miles away
How much will it cost me?
lot lines graphic

What else?

Other Factors that Affect Sod Cost in Chicago

Sod Supplier & Distance Traveled

Chicago has a population of roughly 2,608,425, which can be a double-edged sword when it comes to landscaping pricing. This means that sod companies in Chicago may charge more to cover the cost of living in a larger city. But at the same time you will have more options to choose from, so make sure to get multiple quotes. Prices can vary wildly!

Preparation Work

The following factors can make a huge difference in the cost and either save you or cost you big time:

  • Regrading: Need to flatten your yard? This can vary pricing wise but expect to pay roughly $0.55 per square foot extra on average.
  • Soil needs: If it's new construction or you have poor soil, you may need to add topsoil. Expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $0.25 per square foot for this.
  • Removal of existing sod: If you have existing grass that needs to go, this can cost an additional $0.45 per square foot.
  • Removal of other debris: Let's just say you have lot's of pebbles and rocks in your soil. It's going to cost extra to remove those.

Installation Labor Costs

The next thing to consider pricing wise is the cost of labor. Here are some of the factors that can influence labor costs:
  • Ease of access to your yard: Is it in a back yard that's hard to access? Up on a hill that laborers have to walk up? This will add to your cost.
  • Random objects: Best case scenario: it's wide open grass. If there are lots of trees, irrigation systems, or other objects this can add to labor cost.
  • Time of year: Since it's a seasonal business, and there's less demand for sod in Chicago in the winter, you can sometimes get deals in the off-season.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Reach out to us directly at team@sodcalculator.com

What is the cost for a pallet of sod in Chicago?

As mentioned above, it depends on if you want the DIY or the white-glove approach, but it can range anywhere from $150 to $550 a pallet. Most of the time it's somewhere in the middle around $350 per pallet.

How much sod is in a pallet?

Different companies have different pallet sizes, but the most common is 500 square feet. We've also seen 400 square feet, 450 square feet and even 504 square feet. Make sure to check with the company!

What time of year do you lay sod in Chicago, Illinois?

Cool season grasses grow best in Chicago in the Fall and Spring.

How much is 200 square feet of sod in Chicago?

If your goal is to get just 200 square feet of sod in Chicago, you might have some luck looking on Facebook Marketplace, NextDoor, or Craigslist. Otherwise you might be out of luck and have to purchase a whole pallet (400-500 sq ft).

Nearby Cities

Amelia Anderson

Writer & Editor, SodCalculator.com

Avid gardener and passionate landscaper, Amelia brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity to her readers. With a background in environmental studies, she combines her love for nature with her drive to create sustainable, picturesque outdoor spaces.

Featured in Lawn & Landscape magazine badge

Get A Quote From An Expert
at Sodding Your Yard in Chicago