Cost of Lawn Topdressing

As a meticulous homeowner or lawn care professional, who cares about your lawn’s health and visual appeal. You put effort into making it look good. Perhaps you use topdressing to cover bald patches, control thatch, or even out the lawn’s surface. Knowing the cost of lawn topdressing helps to keep your budget in line and make better buying choices.

Topdressing your lawn with either sand, compost, or topsoil costs roughly $10-$89 per acre, excluding labor, machines, or delivery. Presently, some lawn care companies provide the complete service for as little as $400, depending on your lawn requirements. The minimum overall price to topdress lawn ranges between $100 per acre to over $1000.

What is lawn top dressing?

Lawn top dressing is the addition of a thin layer of material, such as compost, sand, or topsoil, approximately ¼ inch on the entire or parts of the lawn.

Topdressing is mainly done on damaged, weak lawns to help them recover from heat stress or to cover bare spots to prevent weeds invasion.

You can add thin layers of materials to your lawn when the grass is actively growing during the growth period. For example, the best time to top-dress warm-season grasses is early summer because they actively grow during that period. Meanwhile, top-dress cool-season grasses in late summer or early fall.

Topdressing after mowing produces the best lawns as the material reaches the soil more easily. After adding the top layer, you want to ensure the tips of the grass leaves are still visible. Be sure to water your lawn regularly for two to three days after dressing.

Topdressing improves the soil structure and drainage capacity, smoothens bumps, breaks down thatch, and adds nutrients to the lawn. When a yard receives such benefits, it thrives and becomes lusher.

How much does it cost to top-dress my lawn?

The cost of topdressing your lawn will vary depending on the type of material you use. Compost, sand, and topsoil are the most common materials used for top dressing.

The table below summarizes the costs per acre of the three materials used for top dressing:

MaterialMinimum cost per acre

Topdressing with compost

Organic remains such as dead leaves, grass clippings, eggshells, and animal bedding can form compost. Compost is the best material for top dressing because it adds more nutrients to the soil, increases water retention capacity, and improves soil structure.

Microbes in compost further break down organic matter, releasing more nutrients into the soil.

Compost particles are finely screened and lightweight, allowing you to spread them more quickly over the lawn with less effort.

The average approximate cost of compost is $25-$35 per acre. However, the overall price depends on delivery fees, compost quality, and whether you’re buying in bulk or not.

The amount you will spend to cover the entire yard will depend on how many inches deep you spread the compost. Depth covered helps to calculate the volume of compost for each squared yard.

The further you live from the store you buy your compost from, the more delivery fee you will pay. High-quality compost with almost no dirt or fillers costs more than low-quality ones.

Buying in bulk helps reduce the product’s general cost rather than getting fewer bags severally.

If you have a small garden or yard, you can almost spend no money buying compost. All you have to do is collect organic remains such as food leftovers, animal droppings, grass clippings, and sawdusts to form compost and spread it over the yard.

However, cheap, homemade compost can introduce fungus and disease-causing micro-organisms to the soil.

Topdressing with sand

Sand is used chiefly for top dressing on golf courses, but it has gained popularity in home lawns over the years. If you want to reduce bumps and level your yard, and should be your best choice.

In addition, sand helps to improve the drainage and aeration of the soil. Grasses with a weak root support system can also be strengthened by adding sand to the top layer.

The best sand for topdressing shouldn’t have fine-tuned particles that make the water sog instead of sipping it into the soil to reach the roots. Use sand only on lawns with native sandy soil.

For best results, be sure to spread it to about 1/8-3/8 inches deep into the soil. It will level and blend well with the existing lawn.

Averagely, sand costs $89 per acre. As in compost, the overall price will depend on your location and whether you buy in bulk or not.

Topdressing with topsoil

Topsoil contains micro-organisms that break down organic matter to release nutrients to the soil. It covers less than 10 inches depth of soil. So if you have bare spots on your lawn, topsoil could make excellent material to protect them.

Other than having micro-organisms, topsoil improves soil drainage and corrects its pH.

Topsoil costs approximately $10-60 per acre or cubic yard. As always, the general cost will also depend on delivery charges and whether you are ordering in bulk or not.

Topdressing with a mix of sand, compost, and topsoil

You can cover the top layer of your lawn with mixed compost, sand, and topsoil. A blend of the three materials produces the most healthy lawn when used to strengthen a weak one.

Core aerating and overseeding before topdressing your lawn with this blend will produce the best lush, green, and dense lawn that will be the envy of your neighbors.

 This blend improves the soil’s structure, aeration, and water retention capacity. It also adds more nutrients and reduces bumps, and the yard gets all the benefits from the specific materials used in the blend.

However, there’s no average cost of this mixture, as the cost of the products varies and depends on the ratio you mix them.

Generally, topdressing your lawn with either sand, compost, or topsoil will cost you roughly $10-$89 per acre, excluding delivery costs and other miscellaneous costs that may arise, like hiring a laborer or machines. So the minimum overall price to topdress is $100 per acre to over $1000.

To reduce the general cost, order materials from your nearest store, spread them yourself, and buy in bulk so you can use the product severally before purchasing again.


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