How Much Does Land Clearing Cost

Machinery cutting trees down for a tree clearing for a customer in Tallahassee, FL.For a construction site, clearing and preparing land typically costs $2,500. For clearing and preparing their lot for development, the majority of homeowners should budget between $1,200 and $4,000, or between $1.10 and $2 per square foot.

While homeowners that have significant lot clearing operations spend an average of $8,000, the cost for small-scale projects that don’t require much land clearing or grading is generally approximately $550.

A professional must remove trees, tall grass, rocks, and other objects from the landscape before leveling or grading your land. Without any land grading or leveling, the average cost to remove a moderately forested area ranges from $725 to $2,500 per acre.

A densely forested area typically costs $3,275 to $6,100 per acre to remove.

Although clearing land is a challenging project, our cost guide can help you through it. You might even wish to invest in a landscape plan or an in-ground pool once your property has been prepped for the construction of a new house. Those costs are also included in our guide.

How Much Does It Cost to Clear Land?

  • $2,575 is the average price to clear and prepare land for construction.
  • Standard Range to Prepare Land for Construction: $1,255 to $3,850 or $1.10 to $2.00 per square foot
  • Economical: $550
  • High-End: $8,200

The typical landowner can anticipate spending $2,575 or between $1,255 and $3,850 to clear and prepare their property for construction. The total cost will vary based on the size of the lot, what needs to be cleared, and whether the ground needs to be graded.

  • From $730 to $2,300 per acre is the average cost to clear lightly forested land.
  • An acre of heavily forested land typically costs between $3,380 and $6,100 to clear.

A lightly forested area typically costs between $725 and $2,300 per acre to remove. A heavily wooded area with many trees per acre will cost between $3,400 and $6,100 to clear.

Price Calculator by Lot Size

You can anticipate paying more the more land you need to clear. Instead of charging by the hour, most land-clearing professionals may bill by the acre or square foot. Remember that the following factors will affect how much an acre costs:

  • What material is removed
  • How is that debris removed?
  • How much of that waste has been removed?

Forested Areas

Is your property covered in trees? A lightly forested area will cost between $725 and $2,300 per acre to remove. A highly forested area can be cleared for between $3,400 and $6,100 per acre. The cost to grade or level the land is not included in this land clearance pricing.

Your bill will be higher if you need to remove more forested land. Most landowners will spend between $90 and 750 to remove one-eighth of an acre’s worth of trees (5,445 square feet), depending on the density of the wooded region. Budgets ranging from $1,400 to $12,285 are required for landowners who need to clear 2 acres of forested land.

Timber Mulching

As the area is cleaned, forestry mulching involves turning trees and brush into mulch. This technique leaves a layer of nourishing organic mulch over your property. Forestry mulching also has the benefit of eliminating the expense of debris clearance.

For landowners who don’t immediately intend to grade or excavate the ground, forestry mulching is ideal. In the interim, the mulch can stay on the ground. Pay between $125 and $250 per hour or, on average, $390 per acre.

Brush Removal

Comparatively speaking, clearing brush is less expensive than cutting down or mulching trees. The average landowner spends $20 to $185 per acre to remove bush.

Other Elements That Influence Cost

Although it’s not the only factor, the amount of the area that needs to be cleared has a big impact on your entire cost. Eight additional factors that affect the cost of land-clearing projects are as follows:

Site preparation: What comes next after clearing the land? You must include the cost of any leveling or grading that may be necessary for the ground.

Land Condition: If the professionals have to move their equipment over hills and uneven ground, you can be charged more. A smooth surface is significantly simpler to navigate than one that is uneven.

Permits: You must obtain a permit before removing any vegetation from the land.

Land Survey: A land survey guarantees that you are aware of the location of your property lines.

Erosion: If erosion is a problem on your property, you could have to pay extra fees to fix it.

Existing Structure: Do you need to demolish an outdated structure? It will destroy itself for nothing.

Tree Removal: Sometimes all you need to do is remove one or two trees.

Stump Removal: Do you have a lot that is littered with ancient tree stumps? We’ll demonstrate how to estimate your bill for you.

Preparing the Site

An average lot needs to be prepared for construction for between $1.20 and $2 per square foot. This price includes clearing and leveling the ground to prepare it as a foundation-ready surface.

The experts do it like this: Professionals start by clearing the landscape of any trees, rocks, overgrowth, and rubbish. Then, to slope and level the landscape, they transport soil from high altitudes to lower elevations.

Why site preparation quickly drives up your expenses: It will cost you far less to prepare the lot for development if all that is required is the removal of debris from your property. Discuss with your contractor the precise services you require from the land-clearing project.

For instance, it will cost the majority of landowners between $355 and $3,000 to remove a half-acre of forested land. Site preparation for a home on half an acre of land costs between $25,685 and $43,550, which is a significant premium.

Land Situation

Your clearing or grading costs will be lower the more flat your lot is. You might only be required to pay for land clearing if your property is generally flat and you plan to build a house on it. If your property is very hilly, you’ll be stuck with a higher bill.


You’ll probably need to apply for a permit before trimming the trees and clearing the trash from your land. Before cutting down any trees, check your local ordinances as permit requirements differ from county to county. A land clearing permit typically costs $200.

Land Surveying

Before allowing backhoes and dump trucks on your property, it’s a good idea to engage a land surveyor. A land surveyor will pinpoint the exact borders of your property so you can steer clear of any future legal disputes.

A land survey helps ensure that you don’t unintentionally clear portions of the neighbors’ property; alternatively, if a neighbor unintentionally clears your property, you’ll have official records attesting to the beginning and end of your lot. Most landowners must pay $500 for a land survey.


Your consultant would probably advise you to increase your budget for erosion control measures if your site has serious erosion concerns. If a house is built on land that is eroding, it cannot be supported safely.

Hydroseeding is a common method for preventing erosion on large properties. Spraying a slurry of water, fertilizer, grass seed, and mulch over the ground is known as hydroseeding.

A cost-efficient and efficient method of combating erosion is hydroseeding. Hydroseeding typically costs $0.08 to $0.20 per square foot.

Demolish a Current Site

Is a structure obstructing your new construction project? Destruction of any existing constructions is also included in clearing land, although it will cost you extra. To demolish a house, budget between $4.50 and $11.50 per square foot.

But wait a minute: You must pay for an asbestos test before demolishing an old structure. An asbestos test normally costs between $240 and $790, or $495 on average.

Describe asbestos. Natural mineral fibers called asbestos are found in rocks and soil. Flexible and resistant to chemicals, heat, and electricity are the fibers. In the past, it was typical for producers to employ these fibers to create building materials like:

  • Vinyl tiles
  • Insulation
  • Siding
  • Shingles

Asbestos fibers disintegrate and are released into the environment when asbestos-containing products are destroyed. Lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma are just a few of the major health issues that can result from breathing in these fibers.

Verify that there are no signs of asbestos in the building components before demolishing a property. If not, asbestos fibers will be discharged into the atmosphere and a poisonous atmosphere will be created.

Tree Removal

One tree might be cut down as part of a modest land-clearing project. If so, be prepared to spend, on average, $625 per tree for it.

The size of the tree will affect your overall cost; the riskier the job, the taller the tree.

See how much cutting down a tree can cost by looking at the estimates below.

Remember that not all arborists will classify the size of your tree in the same way. A little tree could be categorized by some professionals as being under 25 feet tall and by others as being under 30 feet tall.

Stump Removal

A stump removal typically costs $320, plus an extra $38 to $85 for each subsequent stump removed after the initial one.

Your stump removal specialist may bill by the hour if you need to remove numerous stumps, such as an entire acre of stumps. Professionals usually set their hourly fees between $90 and $165.

A stump’s root system must also be cut out in order to be removed. It is best to have the entire stump and its root system removed while preparing a construction site to prevent any roots from obstructing the path of future development. Another option for clearing is stump grinding, however, this method preserves the roots.

Extra Services

You are prepared to plant something or build something on your property, such as a new house after your land is clear and flat. Here are some additional expenditures for several typical home and property upgrades that require first clearing the land:

  • Perform a soil test
  • Dig a basement
  • Pour concrete
  • Landscape your yard
  • and put in an in-ground pool

Soil Test

Most homeowners spend $1,260 on soil testing, with expenditures typically ranging from $795 to $1,740. Consider purchasing an $11–$25 DIY soil test kit at your neighborhood home improvement store if you’re trying to save money.

But why spend so much cash on a soil test? Consider these advantages of soil tests:

  • Any nutrient deficits, pH imbalances, or unusual salt levels in the soil are found with a soil test.
  • You can promote plant life in your lawn, yard, and flower beds by knowing the condition of your soil.
  • You can choose the optimal fertilizer and frequency of application for your yard with the help of a soil test. Applying only what your grass requires will keep extra fertilizer from contaminating nearby bodies of water.


Are you thinking about adding a basement to your new house? More soil will have to be moved, and excavation experts will be needed. A basement typically costs between $10 and $22 per square foot to construct.

Cement Slab

A flat surface should be used to pour concrete over. Your property is now ready for a new concrete slab as it has been removed and graded.

For an average cost of $6.50 per square foot for supplies and labor, you may pour a new concrete driveway, garage floor, shed foundation, or patio. The durability, form, and finish of your concrete slab will affect the cost.

Landscape Enhancements

It’s time for a new beginning now that the old landscape has been removed. Your ideal landscape design has no restrictions

The average cost for landscaping the area around a home is between $3,900 and $20,300, although actual costs will vary based on the landscaping project.

Outdoor Pool

How long has your ideal home included an in-ground pool? The property has been cleared, and the earth is now ready for the ideal in-ground pool to be installed.

An in-ground pool installation typically costs $45,600, though costs will vary based on the style of the pool. The three most popular pool designs are fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl liners.

Concrete pools are the most expensive, while vinyl-lined pools are the least expensive. Although fiberglass pools are more expensive than vinyl-lined pools, they are preferred by homeowners due to their affordability.

The price of clearing land across the U.S.

All of the costs in this pricing guide for clearing land are based on national averages. Prices may probably vary locally based on where you live. Professionals who clear land will establish their fees in accordance with the market and demand in the area.

Although the average costs in this guide should make it easier for you to anticipate your overall expenses, it’s common for your final bill to be lower or higher than the average.

DIY Land Clearing Cost

Clearing land isn’t always the best DIY endeavor. It takes a lot of time, and you must understand how to use heavy equipment securely.

Expect to spend a lot of money renting equipment when clearing or prepping your land.

Depending on the size of the job, the tools you require, and their power, your overall DIY cost will change. The more expensive the equipment is to rent, the bigger and more powerful it is.

Q&A Regarding Land Clearing

1. How long does clearing an acre of land take?

The professional you select and the tools he or she utilizes will determine how long it takes to clear a one-acre lot. Land clearing typically takes between two and four hours.

2. How many acres can experts clear in a single day?

The equipment owned by the land clearing firm you employ will determine how many acres a team of experts can clear in a single day. Professionals can typically clear two to four acres per day, sometimes even more.

3. Can you preserve particular trees when you clear land?

If you let the professionals know which trees you want to maintain, they can work around those specific trees.

4. What are the costs associated with checking for subsurface utilities?

Make sure there are no subterranean utilities before you disturb the ground. Call 811 and ask a utility provider to visit your property to locate the utilities. Most utilities will provide this service without charge.


Land clearing is a big project, so be prepared with cash or a credit card. The total cost may vary based on the amount of land you need to clear, the kind of material to be removed, how it will be removed, and the clearing technique.

You’re looking at a price in the hundreds of dollars if you’re getting the lot ready for construction.

It’s time to create your ideal landscape once your land has been leveled and cleared. Call a nearby landscaping expert who can construct a concrete patio, assemble a fence around your property, plant flowerbeds, build a water feature, or handle any other variety of landscape upgrades.

Most landowners spend between $1,250 and $4,000, or between $1.10 and $2 per square foot, to clear and prepare the property for a house, with the average cost being $2,590 (or $1.10 to $2 per square foot).

While extensive operations have an average cost of $8,300, small land-clearing jobs that don’t require much work typically cost around $563. There may be additional costs if you wish to build anything on your cleared site, including a pool that you might want to install right now.

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