Cost of Top Dressing Lawn (Understanding the Expenses)

If your lawn grass has started to look matte or has lost its oomph, you may need to consider topdressing. Topdressing is adding organic material to the soil to restore it to its previous glory and improve the soil structure.

The process helps release essential soil microbes, reduces thatch, and levels the ground. In the range of benefits that topdressing offers, there is one glitch — the cost involved. 

Topdressing done by professionals is often expensive and if done DIY it’s labor intensive. So which should you choose? We try to address cost of top dressing lawn through this article. 

Cost of top dressing lawn: everything you should know

Factors That Affect the Cost of Top Dressing Lawn

Lawn top dressing varies in the $10-$89 per acre range. The quotation, however, excludes labor charges, machines, and delivery. The overall cost in the market currently is around $400 based on requirements.

The amount increases with the requirements and can go up to $1000. The most important factor while topdressing your lawn is the material selection. Commonly, compost, sand, or topsoil is used for the process, each with varied prices. 

Factors That Affect the Cost of Top Dressing Lawn

1. Compost topdressing

Compost is made from dead leaves, grass clippings, kitchen waste, and animal bedding. As known, this is one of the best materials for the soil owing to the nutrients it adds. Compost also increases the soil’s water retention capacity and enhances its structure. 

The average price of topdressing with compost is between $25-$35 per acre. But as mentioned earlier, the final cost will be more including the labor charges and delivery fee. 

2. Sand topdressing

Sand is primarily used for topdressing golf courses but has become popular among homeowners over the years. 

Sand topdressing levels the soil while improving aeration and drainage. It also aids grass with weak root structure. This topdressing costs roughly $89 per acre, but your overall cost will depend on the amount you purchase. 

3. Topsoil topdressing

Topsoil breaks down organic matter in the soil to add required nutrients. This option is best for homeowners who have bare spots on the lawn. The material also improves soil aeration and pH levels. 

The cost is between $10-60 per acre, the accumulating amount will depend on the amount ordered. Besides the material, other factors like the current condition and required work determine the final cost of topdressing a lawn.

Cost of Top Dressing Lawn for DIY vs Hiring a Professional

Lawn topdressing is not a complex process, you can either choose to do it yourself or hire a pro to help you with the process. 

Let’s look at both processes in depth, shall we?

DIY method


✅ Budget-friendly, you can cut labor costs by doing the work yourself.
✅ You can customize the topdressing as per the requirement of your soil
✅ Engaging and fulfilling DIY activity


❌ Labor intensive process
❌ A range of tools including a power rake, lawn mower, and wheelbarrow required


The results produced while admissible lacks the finish or cleanliness of professional lawn carers. 

Professional services


✅ Professionals know the ins and outs of using the various topdressing material and can tailor them to the need of your lawn.
✅ They have the required machines and tools to do the project smoothly and in less time.
✅ Professionals will be able to accurately determine the need for your soil through testing before determining the material required for topdressing


❌ Professional services cost a lot more than DIY methods. The labor charges and the cost of running sophisticated and state-of-the-art machines add to the expense 


Professionals most often provide better outcomes than enthusiasts. They also offer a guarantee of their work. 

While both methods have pros and cons, the final decision falls on the homeowner. People with green fingers often take up DIY topdressing of lawns to have a temporary occupation and save some extra bucks. However, if you are not an aficionado or suffer from hips, knee, and shoulder pain, it’s best to seek professional help. 

Thankfully some companies offer discounted rates and are willing to make some concessions. 

Average Cost of Top Dressing Lawn 

Besides the type of material used for topdressing, the overall price depends on a few other factors. 

Average Cost of Top Dressing Lawn 
  • Lawn size: The price of lawn topdressing increases with the lawn size. In other words, the bigger the lawn, the more the price. 
  • Elements on the lawn: If your lawn has obstacles like trees, rocks, or planters on the lawn, the cost of topdressing around those may increase. 
  • Location: If you live in a hilly area or your lawn is on steep ground, the top-dressing charges will increase. 
  • Travel: Places far from the lawn professional service provider may have to pay extra to accommodate the travel expense. 
  • Labor: The condition of your lawn will determine the amount of topdressing required for the service and the labor requirement. If some high-end machinery is used, the company has to send a skilled operator to run it. All these factors add to the cost of the service.

Cost Savings Tips for Top Dressing Lawn 

Having a beautiful well maintained lawn costs money. While you may have to spend that when it comes to topdressing, a few cost-saving ways can ensure your lawn’s health, reducing the need for frequent topdressing. 

  • Areate the soil: Areating your soil can help facilitate nutrients and help your grass get a better root structure. But instead of buying an aerator, try using a garden fork or rake. 
  • Use composting: You can save money by creating your natural fertilizer from kitchen waste. 
  • Avoid making the grass short: If you are used to mowing the grass too close to the roots, it results in more exposure to the bare land and more damage to your lawn. 
  • Avoid making the grass short: If you are used to mowing the grass too close to the roots, it results in more exposure to the bare land and more damage to your lawn. 

Other lawn related problem and solution: How To Fix Overwatered Lawn? | How To kill Orchard Grass In Your Lawn Easily

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is lawn top dressing necessary?

Top dressing is essential for maintaining lawn health. The process adds a lot of nutrients to the soil like nitrogen, potassium band phosphorus, and improves the soil’s cation exchange capacity. A lawn with proper topdressing can retain nutrients and water, encouraging thick and lush grass growth. 

How do I calculate top dressing for my lawn?

Professionals use various methods to calculate the amount of topdressing required for a lawn. However, if you are taking a DIY approach, the easiest calculation is to multiply your lawn’s area (square footage) by 0.77 and then divide by 1000.

What time of year should I topdress my lawn?

It’s best to topdress the lawn in the growing season and never during winter. Experts recommend topdressing during the spring right after your weekly mow. It’s advisable to do it early during the growing season between late spring and early summer.


Indeed topdressing is tedious if you are doing it yourself and cost-heavy if you are hiring help. However, the process’s outcome will surely give you a dreamy and well-maintained lawn. Topdressing increases the property value, which works out for homeowners trying to sell the property. I hope now you have a clear idea about cost of top dressing lawn, if you still have any confusion, please let me know in the comment box.

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