Keeping a vibrant, well-maintained lawn is the dream of many homeowners. However, the meticulous work of lawn maintenance can be costly and time-consuming, especially when homeowners don’t know the best methods for preservation. One of the easiest and most affordable secrets to a healthy garden is lawn aeration. If you’ve heard this term before but are unsure if you need to aerate, this guide will help you learn and decide.
Professional aeration typically costs between $50 to $100 per project. This service can also be done by the homeowner for around the same cost. You can rent an aerator by the hour, the day, or the week all for affordable prices. However, because most landscapers offer this service it makes sense to include it in your regular professional landscaping care.
What Is Lawn Aeration?
Most homeowners know that watering and fertilization are key to a healthy, lush lawn. However, aeration is often skipped in this process. This essential step will actually improve your lawn and lower your costs of both irrigation and fertilization.
Aeration is a process where dead grass and compact dirt is removed from the top layer of grass. When this top layer of dry dirt and dead grass is removed, it gives the richer soil greater access to water and nutrients that your grass needs to grow. This allows grass roots to grow deeper, and your entire lawn to look healthier.
A lawn aerator works by removing “plugs” of dead grass and soil from the top layer of your lawn to improve water absorption, fertilization, and air flow. The machine is essence creates pores in your lawn so that more can penetrate the soil. Most aerators look and work like a push mower or ride-on mower. Instead of cutting the grass, however, the aerator will poke holes a few centimeters apart.
When Does My Lawn Need Aeration?
Aeration is a less common lawn care service than trimming grass and shrubs. Because of this, many homeowners are unaware that their lawn may need aeration, or when to get it done. If you have never aerated your lawn, it’s very likely it needs the treatment. This will also improve your lawn health if the grass looks dead or is patchy due to shallow roots and weeds.
If you’re unsure of whether you need a lawn aeration service, take a shovel and dig approximately six inches into the ground. If the grass roots are less than two inches or so into the ground, your grass is not getting proper nutrients to grow, and your lawn needs aeration.
It’s important to plan your aeration service according to the season. The best time to aerate is in the late summer or early autumn. This is when grass is likely to grow the most without unwanted weeds. In the spring and early summer grass grows a lot, but aeration during these months can give weeds the opportunity to take root.
Factors that Influence Aeration Price
Aeration is a relatively affordable service that will do wonders for your lawn health. If you aerate at least once a year (twice a year is even better), you will see major improvements in your yard over time. To get a better estimate on yearly costs for lawn aeration, you’ll want to consider the following factors:
Lawn aeration services are priced either by the hour or the size of the lawn. If you have a small front yard that needs aeration, you can expect a price of $50 or less. However, if you have a large landscaped backyard you may want to budget more.
Lawn slope can make it more difficult for the landscaper to aerate the lawn properly. If you have a sloped lawn or if your home is on a small hill, factor that into your aeration budget. The landscape professional will likely explain this and add it into your estimate when they see the property.
Type of Soil
Not all soils are the same when it comes to aeration. Clay soils, sandy soils, and highly compact soils make it more difficult to perform a complete aeration. These soil types may need more than one sweep of the lawn to make a real impact. Clay can also increase maintenance costs for the aerator. If you have one of these soil types in your lawn then you should expect a slightly higher rate.
One of the main benefits to aeration is that lawn fertilizer is more easily penetrable into the soil. Because of this, many landscapers prefer to aerate and fertilize at the same time, and may encourage you to include both in your service. This will actually save you money, because you won’t have to spend as much on fertilization over time. .
Including Aeration in Your Annual Lawn Care Plan
Now that you have a better understanding of the aeration process, it's time to start planning it in your annual lawn care maintenance. It is best to plan for aeration services twice a year, in the late summer and right before spring. However, if you have never aerated your lawn before, your landscaper may recommend a few months of regular aeration to fully remove the dead grass and dried soil from your lawn.
Aeration and fertilization services should be included with your regular moss removal and flower care. Combined, these services will do wonders for your lawn health and longevity. With regular fertilization and aeration, you’ll begin to see greener, thicker grass and healthier plants.
If you combine these services and schedule them regularly, your landscaper may provide discounts or bulk deals on services. Ask your landscaper if they can offer you a better rate for combined services rather than scheduling them individually. This will help you save money in the short-term, and in the long-term. As your lawn health improves, you’ll need to spend less and less on fertilization and irrigation for your lawn.
Comparing Lawn Aeration Costs to Get the Best Price
If you’ve never hired a landscaper to aerate your lawn, it can be difficult to know who is offering you a good deal. Below are some average costs and comparisons of services on Airtasker to help you make an informed decision.
The national average of aeration services is approximately $125 for a midsize yard. However, you can find services for small yard for less than $50, and aerator rentals for $60 to $75. Large yard spaces or yard with complex landscaping and sloping can average up to $300.
Typically you’ll find cheaper per-square-foot costs for larger yards. Some companies charge a flat rate for a yard up to a certain size (say, 2500 sq. feet), and then add an extra $10 or $15 per additional 1,000 sq. feet. However, there is no one way that landscapers price these services. You will need to schedule a consult and estimate with your landscaper to find out the exact cost associated with your size yard.
Below are some examples of aeration services and prices offered on Airtasker: