Lay sod
If you have ever driven by a new house surrounded by barren soil on one day and a lush green lawn the next, you know the transformative power of sod. When it is laid, a one-day wonder occurs and the sod becomes a permanent part of the landscape. The new green carpet requires much care and attention, but once it's established, it's there to stay.

Laying sod is not for the faint of heart, especially if you're sodding a large area, because it involves a lot of heavy lifting and physical labor, mostly on your hands and knees.

A landscape contractor charges $1,550 to lay down 2,000 square feet of sod. You can buy the material and have it delivered for $810 and do it yourself, saving a hefty 48 percent, but you'll earn it.

Preparing the ground for sod can be just as strenuous, depending on the condition of the soil, because it involves raking and grading to make the surface level and free of stones and rocks. Rent a lawn roller for the beginning and end of the job, first to level the soil and finally to close gaps between seams in the sod once it's laid. You'll need a wheelbarrow, rakes, shovels, a sharp knife (to cut the sod into sections), and a garden hose and sprinkler. Wear kneepads to spare your joints, and schedule the job so you can lay it immediately after it's delivered so it won't dry out. Finally, plan to be home for weeks after it's laid so you can water the new turf.

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Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$1,550 -- $810 -- 14.5 -- 30.5 -- $740 -- 48 Percent