Looks to me almost same what I paid for 1000 sqft south san jose, almost 2 years before. Based on my experience, I can provide one tip.
Make sure the person buys good quality SOD. Like all brands, we have low, medium and high quality SOD, we would not make any difference when it is planted, but we can notice the difference after 6 months.
One time visit Home depot and ask the difference between quality of SOD. Normally, the gardener knows the quality of SOD and they buy from their known SOD suppliers.
So it is quite possible that it is you who has the bad taste in food, right, Mr. Denny’s Frequent Flyer? Fair is fair. One must always be willing to accept the fact that he/she may be the one who is wrong…
I spent over $4500 for two drought tolerant yards. My requirement was having a reversible yard that can go back to a watered traditional garden.
Weed barrier, top soil mixture of chicken manure, wooden chips. Drip system with timer, solar rain monitor. That includes clean up and rotor tilling etc. I also added some colored pavers to make the yard less depend on water.
Here in Santa Clara County I applied for a grant. While the rotor tilling, laying the drip system and materials cost over $3500. I ordered 2.5 tons of gravel with barrier over and lost 8 lbs on the project.
As for grass, you need to loosen the soil, new compost, top soil mix. I would sprinkle water wise grass seeds now while the ground is wet. A bag of KY low water seeds will do. My sod was just a few bucks. They look fine.
I am a DIY and any gardener knows how to do it. Budget can be over 5K… depends.
Sam Shueh Realtor