Hydroseeding, also known as hydromulching, is a cheaper and quicker alternative to traditional sod. However, the exact price varies based upon a variety of factors. While the price per foot averages between seven and sixteen cents, the average cost tends to be thirteen cents. This sounds like very little difference until you consider the space you are filling.
A property with 2,000 square feet of land to cover will cost between $140 and $320. Smaller lawns will show less variation while larger lawns will show an increasingly large cost difference. It is therefore good to consider the factors which affect cost and shop around for the best price for your goals.
Making a Personal Estimate
Prior to shopping around, it is a good idea to come up with a rough personal estimate. While not an exact science, you will have some idea of what the final cost may be. Beyond any additional costs from the supplier, hydroseeding cost calculations may be broken down into four major categories.
1. Planting Area
The first factor you should consider is the size of your project area. Perhaps you are merely working on your front lawn, or you may be seeding the lawn spaces over your entire property. Measure out the spaces in order to estimate the number of square feet that requires seeding. Note that larger projects generally cost less per square foot than smaller ones, and there is little difference in cost between residential and commercial projects. Therefore, the base cost should be similar between a single family home and an apartment building per foot.
There are three basic shapes to consider when estimating how many square feet to cover:
- Rectangle – multiply the length by the width.
- Circle – measure across the middle (diameter) and divide that number by two (radius). To discover the area, the formula is radius times radius times pi (3.14). For example, a circle measuring 40 inches across would be calculated as: 20 x 20 = 400, or roughly 33 1/3 feet. 33.4 x 3.14 = 104.876, or roughly 104 3/4 square feet.
- Triangle – the formula for this is one half of the base times the height. For example, a triangle that is 12 feet at the base and five feet high would be calculated as: 12/2 = 6 x 5 = 30 square feet.
2. Seed Type
The next factor to consider is what type of seed you intend to use. The U.S. consists of 12 planting zones, each with a range of grasses suitable for the climate. Depending upon your location, you may be restricted to certain seed types. Each of these seed types has their own price, with bluegrass varieties generally cheaper, Perennial Ryegrass around ten cents per square foot, and heartier types capable of withstanding heavy traffic at the expensive end of the cost spectrum.
When making this estimation, consider how much punishment your lawn will receive. Is it mainly decorative? Or do your children frequently use it for sports? Your seed choice should be based largely on the amount of abuse your lawn will have to suffer. This factor will also come into play when you begin calling around for cost estimates.
3. Seed Density
The third major factor to consider is how dense the hydroseed needs to be. Poor soil may require a thicker blend of fertilizers, tackifiers to hold the hydroseed together, and other components. The amount of use may also contribute to a need for higher density. The more material you need per square foot, the more you can expect to pay.
4. Preparation and Landscaping
The fourth and final consideration is how much preparation will be required before the ground is ready for seeding. Expect to pay more if the ground requires additional topsoil or grading before it can be seeded.
An Example of Cost Calculation
Making a bare-bones estimate can be as involved as you choose, but a simple response to each factor is enough to get a baseline estimate. Simply take each step and write your answer. Then do the math. For example:
1. You are filling 2,500 square feet.
2. You need only moderate durability, and have decided to aim for a variety costing around 10 cents per square foot.
3. Due to the topsoil quality of the area, you will require double density.
4. There are no major landscaping issues.
The formula is #1 times the product of #2 and #3. #4 is then added to the total.
Thus in this example, the formula is: 2500 (.10 x 2) = $500.00 + $0 = $500
While the professional estimate may be notably different from $500, this baseline estimate gives you a rough idea of what to expect when shopping around.
Possible Additional Fees
Once you have your personal estimate, you will have an idea of what to expect to pay. Note that some companies may charge additional service fees. For example, many companies charge a $35 fee for consultation and inspection of the property, while others may be willing to provide a free consultation. Other companies have a specified service range and may typically charge $2.00 per mile beyond that range to transport materials. Some companies may also charge an additional fee for spreading the soil.
Another consideration is moisture. Some seed types may require watering several times per day over the first month. While temporary, this additional cost should be taken into consideration if you are not using an on-site water source such as a home well or rainwater tank.
Eco-Turf Hydroseeding offers a short video illustrating how to measure your project area.