How Much Does Landscaping Cost?
In addition to enhancing outdoor enjoyment, well-designed landscaping improves curb appeal and increases property value. Wondering “How much does landscaping cost?” The typical range is $1,277 to $5,856, with most homeowners paying $3,415 on average.
- The typical range for landscaping costs is $1,277 to $5,856, with most homeowners paying a national average of $3,415.
- Cost factors for landscaping projects include the project type, service type, project size and scope, the size of the property, terrain, accessibility, time of year, labor, and materials.
- Some reasons for homeowners to consider professional backyard landscaping include reduced energy bills, customization options, professional knowledge, improved air quality, environmental benefits, and high return on investment (ROI).
- Some landscaping projects are simple enough for a homeowner to DIY, but professional landscapers have the expertise, specialized equipment, and access to materials required to produce the best results.
Designing and maintaining a beautiful landscape is about more than just mowing and watering the yard. According to Linda Greenberg, landscape designer and owner of Linda Greenberg Landscape & Design, LLC, landscaping includes “basically anything to do with the outdoor spaces. A garden is an extension of the home’s architecture, lay of the land, setting, lifestyle and budget.” Angi and HomeAdvisor report that the typical cost for landscaping a yard ranges from approximately $1,277 to $5,856, with a national average of about $3,415.
Costs vary depending on several factors, including the type and scope of the project, yard size, and going rate of labor. The type of equipment required to complete the project can also affect the overall costs. This guide will help homeowners learn more about how much landscaping costs and how they can optimize their investment in their property.
Factors in Calculating Landscaping Cost
While the national average cost of landscaping is about $3,415, the cost in an individual community can vary depending on numerous factors. For example, landscapers may charge anywhere from $1,000 to $40,000, or even more, for their services. Multiple factors affect the cost, such as the size of the yard, significant additions like retaining walls, and material quality.
The type of landscaping project is also a substantial factor in the price scenario. Landscaping projects that involve construction, such as installing retaining walls to prevent erosion, may require the services of a landscape architect or engineer, which will add to the costs. These professionals may charge $50 to $100 per hour for their services.
At the lower end of the price range are basic landscaping services, such as dethatching a lawn, planting seasonal flowers, or performing essential landscape maintenance tasks, including mowing and other lawn services that occur throughout the growing season. Homeowners can expect to pay $50 to $250 for the best lawn care services to take care of these tasks. Stump grinding or stump removal costs as much as $700.
When the services and projects become more complex, the cost rises. The addition of landscape curbing averages between $780 and $2,150, while even larger projects, such as xeriscaping, might run as much as $3,000 to $24,000. Any preparation that is necessary may incur additional costs; for example, the cost to level a yard is about $2,122.
|Service||Average Cost (Labor and Materials)|
|Aeration||$220 to $870|
|Fertilization||$150 to $500|
|Mulching||$150 to $400|
|Stump grinding||$275 to $600|
|Stump removal||$200 to $700|
|Tree trimming||$175 to $750|
|Weed control||$65 to $150|
|Yard cleanup||$200 to $500|
Project Size and Scope
One of the most significant factors in cost fluctuation relates to the size and scope of the landscaping project. Basic landscaping services, such as planting a flower bed, can cost as little as $2,000. More in-depth services, such as installing a fence, can run as much as $4,500.
Along with the type and scope of a landscaping project, the size of the property is also a factor in pricing. For standard services such as turf installation, homeowners can expect to pay around $2,000 to $4,000 per acre. Landscapers may give a cost-per-foot or cost-per-acre discount for large properties that small properties may not get. This is because once the landscaping company comes out and sets up shop, it’s less expensive to remain and service a more extensive area than pack up and go to another project.
For small projects, landscaping companies may charge by the square foot, leaving homeowners wondering “How much is a yard in square feet?” While lots often vary in size, even within the same development, a standard quarter-acre yard is 10,890 square feet.
Terrain and Accessibility
If portions of the property are difficult to access, landscaping costs are likely to go up. Factors like steep slopes or narrow access between a neighboring home can add hundreds of dollars or more to the final tally.
A typical patio ranges in cost from $1,950 to $5,600, including excavating the site, constructing the forms to hold the concrete, and then pouring the concrete in the forms. If a concrete batch truck can’t back up to dump the concrete directly in the forms, a pump truck may be needed to transfer the concrete, adding to the patio cost. When specialty equipment is necessary, prices typically go up.
Likewise, soil type can be an issue. Excavating the ground for a pool or retaining wall is more complex and slow going if the terrain is rocky, which translates into added costs. The best landscaping companies will want to come out and look at the property before making an estimate.
Time of Year
Warm, dry weather is optimal for most landscaping projects, and many homeowners are champing at the bit in spring and summer to get their projects completed. However, scheduling landscaping projects during a company’s slow season may offer some savings. Typically, landscaping charges are relatively consistent year-round. Still, if a landscaping company faces a quiet time during the winter months, it may be willing to negotiate its fees to keep its workers busy.
How much do landscapers cost? The landscaping cost per hour for labor is between $50 and $100. “Labor and operational costs have increased significantly over the last few years,” says Greenberg. “Those costs should be respected and considered throughout before signing on the dotted line.” The more workers a project requires, the higher the costs will be. However, labor costs vary from region to region, so the going rate of labor in any given community will also be a factor. Hiring a general laborer rather than a large landscaping company may help keep costs down, but homeowners will want to keep in mind that the speed with which a crew or laborer can finish the project will also impact the final labor charges.
The type and quality of materials will impact the project’s cost because some materials are much more costly than others. Choosing exclusively high-end materials is sure to keep prices higher than the average landscaping cost. A patio ranges in price from around $2,000 to $5,800, and concrete is typically one of the more affordable construction materials. Building a deck with lumber can cost as much as $11,900, depending on size, because lumber can be expensive. Even the cost of landscaping rocks can range from $40 to $100 per cubic yard depending on the type that is chosen.
|Material||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Border plants||$2 to $50 per plant|
|Fencing||$11 to $90 per linear foot|
|Grass seed||$3 to $10 per pound|
|Mulch||$0.20 to $0.60 per square foot|
|Patio materials||$1 to $35 per square foot|
|Pavers||$1 to $25 per square foot|
|Pool installation materials||$20,000 to $65,000|
|Retaining wall blocks||$3 to $40 per square foot|
|Rocks or gravel||$40 to $100 per cubic yard|
|Sod||$0.35 to $0.85 per square foot|
|Topsoil||$12 to $55 per cubic yard|
|Turf||$2 to $6 per square foot|
Additional Costs and Considerations
Landscaping encompasses a broad scope of projects, some of which may be necessary to ensure the safety of the property, like establishing a yard grade that controls water drainage or installation of retaining walls that stop soil erosion. These are factors for homeowners to consider when designing the whole landscaping project.
There may be additional costs for gardening or adding decorative features, such as water fountains or raised garden beds, or aerating the lawn and basic maintenance chores. Larger projects such as removing unwanted trees or installing a new sod lawn will typically come at a higher cost.
While smaller landscaping projects such as mulching or planting flower beds won’t require a permit, homeowners are advised to check with local authorities before scheduling larger projects to find out if a permit is needed. Installing a fence, putting in an in-ground pool, and building a pergola all generally require permits. Permits can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,750, depending on the project.
Water and foundations don’t mix. When water pools around the edge of a foundation, it increases the risk of foundation problems, including leaks and movement. Getting the correct slope on a yard is essential to prevent foundation problems, and it may also be a zoning requirement in a community to ensure runoff doesn’t cut a path through a neighbor’s lawn or overwhelm storm drains.
Depending on the extent of sloping required, homeowners can expect to pay from $1,000 to $3,225. The average national cost is about $2,100. This project will likely need to be completed before other landscaping projects can be undertaken, such as installing a sprinkler system or laying sod.
Enhancements and Improvements
A well-designed landscape can make a home more valuable. While it can increase the odds of potential homebuyers making an appointment to view the home, it can also increase a homeowner’s outdoor enjoyment.
Professionally installed landscape lighting ranges from about $3,500 to $4,500. Lighting can extend evening entertaining and add an element of safety for visitors who arrive after dark. Homeowners may also choose to add a pond to the yard to enhance the aesthetics and provide tranquility. The average cost to build a pond is around $9,000. Installing an outdoor kitchen will also add entertainment value, but it’s a big-ticket item, averaging about $13,000. Adding a swimming pool tops many homeowners’ wish lists and can cost as much as $50,000.
|Enhancement||Average Cost (Labor and Materials)|
|Outdoor lighting||$3,500 to $4,500|
Most homeowners’ front yard landscaping ideas typically include relatively low-cost features like expansive lawns, trees, and perennial beds. Installing sprinklers is one of the more common front yard projects and costs $1,675 to $3,550. Putting in a few of the best trees for a front yard will cost $150 to $300 per tree, while putting in the best black mulch might cost $0.20 to $0.60 per square foot. Installing walkways starts at about $300. Having a new patio installed ranges from $2,000 to $5,800, while a gazebo could cost $2,750 to $9,600, depending on the size, type, and quality.
Backyard landscaping costs tend to be higher since the backyard is often where the residents will spend their outdoor time. Large-scale backyard landscaping projects, such as total renovations that include removing old landscaping, installing a new lawn, and planting new trees, can be a pricey prospect, averaging $15,000 to $50,000. At the low end, a modest upgrade on a small backyard that includes a new lawn and plantings could run about $5,000. Still, the sky’s the limit at the upper range, with high-end renovations including a pool, outdoor kitchen, new lawn, sprinkler system, and a new entertaining area running $100,000 or more.
Some landscaping construction projects, such as pools, pool houses, and fencing, require additional professional services. These can include an approved landscaping design from an architect or engineer. Architect fees can add $70 to $150 per hour to the project.
A landscape designer, who can help strategize the project, typically charges around $50 to $150 per hour for landscape design services. According to Greenberg, a landscape architect “can help you navigate all ideas and educate so that when the project is complete, it will fulfill your garden dream. A one-hour on-site consultation is chock-full of ideas and ways to enhance the garden, [and] connect the interior to the exterior spaces without appearing to be added on or built at a different time.”
Other fees may include obtaining the necessary permits to install fences or structures, adding around $500 to $2,750 or so to the price tag.
Types of Landscaping Services
Landscaping isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every yard or even every geographic region. In the different areas and climates, some types of landscaping may be more suitable than others. Landscaping projects and services fall into four primary categories: maintenance, softscaping, hardscaping, and xeriscaping. The cost for each varies, though the average cost range for each type of service is listed below.
|Type of Landscaping||Cost (Labor and Materials)|
|Hardscaping||$10,000 to $30,000|
|Maintenance||$100 to $4,000|
|Softscaping||$800 to $10,000|
|Xeriscaping||$16,000 to $18,000|
At the top rung of the cost ladder, “hardscaping” means the addition of decorative and structural elements that are not horticultural. According to Greenberg, this can encompass “parking areas, meandering pathways, outdoor kitchens, dining patios, conversation patios, outdoor office, fire pits/fireplaces, water fountains, swimming pools/spas, cabanas, ponds (koi and reflecting) courtyards, retaining walls, gates/fencing, bridges, play areas, doggie/pet areas, herb/vegetable gardens, cutting/perennial/annual planting beds, [and] tool sheds.” On the whole, hardscaping projects cost somewhere in the realm of $10,000 to $30,000. Approximate costs are $300 to $1,400 for a fire pit, $2,000 to $10,000 for new fencing, and $2,500 to $4,500 for arbor construction. A gazebo costs $7,500 to $10,000.
Other hardscaping costs might include having a retaining wall built to control erosion at the expense of $3,500 to $10,000 or adding a porch on the house, ranging from $12,000 to $30,000, depending on size and material type. Smaller hardscaping projects include adding a water fountain at the cost of $1,250 to $3,750 or having a playground built, which can range from $500 to $5,000.
Landscape maintenance services include anything that must be done regularly to keep the lawn, shrubs, flowers, and other yard areas in good shape. These services are among the least expensive, running an average of $100 to $4,000 annually. Failure to maintain a lawn and garden can hurt a home’s value, so it’s important for homeowners to keep up with their yard maintenance.
“It is standard practice to cut back perennial growth in the fall, removing seed heads, brown grasses and tall stalks from the landscape,” explains Rosemarie Miner, founding principal at Our Tenemos, an ecological design studio based in the Northeast. “In our firm, we cut back material once in the early spring, leaving seeds for wintering birds, beautiful tan tufts of grass that pop out of the snow and the sculptural stalks of plants like baptisia alba. It is beautiful, functional, and moreover, a lot less work. If you’re only ready for baby steps, transitioning to native perennial plants will make your garden significantly easier to maintain year after year.”
Maintenance charges include costs for performing services such as fertilizing the lawn at a cost of $150 to $500; aerating the soil, which runs $220 to $870; and other periodic tasks such as raking and lawn cleanup at a cost of about $200 to $500. Maintenance fees are among the least expensive costs associated with landscaping, but it’s worth considering opting for low-maintenance landscaping to keep these costs down in the future.
The term “softscaping” refers to planting and installing live horticultural elements in the yard. Most softscaping projects cost between $800 and $10,000. Some of these services may overlap with maintenance services, including overseeding a lawn at a cost range of $550 to $1,500. Others focus on planting new items. Planting shrubs costs from $25 to $50 per shrub, planting trees costs $150 to $300 per tree, and installing sod costs about $5,800 to $7,200. Planting an entire flower bed might run $1,000 to $3,000.
Pruning and removing is another element of softscaping. Tree trimming costs $175 to $750, and the cost to remove a tree that is dead, diseased, or no longer wanted can range from $400 to $900. Shrub or bush removal costs $903 on average.
Xeriscaping is the process of designing and planting a yard around the concept of using plants that are indigenous to the region to save on watering, fertilizing, and maintenance costs. “Plants are considered native when they have evolved in relationship to a specific place and adapted over time to specific conditions,” explains Miner. “That means the plants native to your area, can thrive with the usual amount of precipitation and average daily temperatures in your micro-climate.”
Xeriscaping has additional benefits, as well. “Planting native grass will absorb more carbon and more stormwater because prairie grass roots grow in deep and extensive networks,” says Miner. “This also allows them to tolerate drought and overtime they build healthy soils with microorganisms.”
Xeriscaping costs an average of $16,000 to $18,000 in total. The initial installation of native plant species can run $2,000 to $5,000, while adding mulch around existing landscaping plants to reduce moisture evaporation from the soil typically ranges from $150 to $400. Xeriscaping doesn’t involve cultivating a lush lawn, so other items are often used, such as artificial grass at a cost of $3,000 to $7,500, or decorative stone in the landscape, which can run $250 to $2,500, depending on the scope of the project.
Benefits of Hiring for Landscaping
A well-planned landscaping design can be costly to implement, but it can also be considered an investment in the property’s value. Not only can new landscaping increase the owner’s enjoyment of the property and remove any outdated landscaping features, but it can also help conserve water and energy.
Decreased Energy Bills
Well-placed deciduous trees can shade a home in summer and, in doing so, reduce AC costs to cool the house. In the winter, the trees lose their leaves, so the sun, which is lower in the southern sky during the winter in the northern hemisphere, can shine through the branches and help heat the home. The result is lower energy bills year-round, making it well worth the cost to have a tree planted.
The best landscaping is customizable to work with individual properties, taking their unique characteristics and homeowners’ landscaping ideas into account. A homeowner who doesn’t want a natural grass lawn can opt for artificial turf. Landscaping services should be geared toward individual yards, and no two yards are the same.
Choosing suitable grass, shrubs, and trees and keeping them healthy requires horticultural knowledge, so hiring a landscape professional is usually money well spent. Landscape designers can assist with difficulties like landscaping around trees. They can also help homeowners decide where a pond should go and pull a permit for a project. Landscape design costs $50 to $150 per hour.
Before homeowners start any project that requires construction, such as building a fence or patio, it’s essential for them to know the location of the property’s legal boundaries. A land surveyor can pinpoint property lines and create a legal survey for $400 to $750.
Air Quality and Environmental Benefits
Adding live plants and trees to the landscape is an eco-friendly way of improving air quality for all. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, one tree can absorb an average of 48 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.
Using xeriscaping, which involves planting native plants that thrive in the area, reduces the need for watering and promotes pollinator insects. In communities that see watering bans regularly, xeriscaping is an environmentally friendly option that will also save money.
“There are countless reasons for homeowners to opt for sustainable landscape design, such as the ability to increase local biodiversity, sequester carbon, manage stormwater runoff, combat heat island effects in cities and protect the health of you and your family,” says Miner.
Return on Investment
An improvement in curb appeal alone may encourage a potential buyer to make an offer. Still, most of the time, homeowners like to know whether they’ll get a return on their investment (ROI), meaning the landscaping improvements will bring a higher price for their home when they go to sell.
ROI will vary, depending on the type of project, the quality of the materials, and the project’s suitability for the property. Professional landscaping can increase a home’s value by around 7 percent.
Landscaping: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to find inspiring DIY landscaping ideas online and want to tackle their landscaping projects themselves. Some aspects of the landscaping process are well suited to DIYers, including mowing, weed whacking, and overseeding. However, more complex projects such as resloping a yard or attempting to install in-ground drainage could backfire, leaving the homeowner with a mess or even harm to the home’s value. According to Greenberg, “Most DIYers have a good idea of what they want, but they are not always educated in the process and the time it takes and how laborious it can actually be. I feel that some of the DIYs are out of touch with what the project will ultimately cost.”
“Hiring a landscape designer can help you to avoid costly mistakes or poor placement of materials,” adds Miner. “For the DIY enthusiast, most firms and companies offer designs a la carte. You can then take that plan and implement it yourself, according to your level of skill or your annual budget.”
While homeowners may consider hiring a landscape designer to be a luxury, planning and designing the project may not always be as simple as they would seem. “When I meet with a client, it is important for me to educate the client to the best of my knowledge and guide them through their decisions and selections,” Greenberg adds. “This can literally save hundreds or thousands of dollars in mistakes. Also, two heads are better than one, so there may be ideas that they haven’t considered that can significantly enhance the proposed garden and possibly reduce costs.”
Below are the estimated national averages for common landscaping projects that homeowners will generally want to leave to the pros.
|Professional Landscaping Projects||Cost (Labor and Materials)|
|Deck installation||$5,000 to $15,000|
|Fence installation||$2,000 to $10,000|
|Fire pit installation||$300 to $1,400|
|Pergola installation||$1,900 to $6,500|
|Playground installation||$500 to $5,000|
|Retaining wall installation||$3,500 to $10,000|
|Sod installation||$5,800 to $7,200|
|Sprinkler system installation||$4,000 to $7,000|
|Water fountain installation||$1,250 to $3,750|
|Walkway installation||$500 to $900|
While selecting plants and trees can be a rewarding DIY landscaping project, removing a large tree is dangerous. Many communities require a permit to ensure the work is done by a pro who knows how to remove the tree without causing harm or damage. Tree removal ranges from $400 to $900, but it’s a cost well worth it to have the job done appropriately.
How to Save Money on Landscaping Cost
With such a wide cost range between the least expensive landscaping services, homeowners will appreciate some tips for keeping costs down and getting the best deal. When planning a landscaping project, homeowners can consider the following methods for keeping costs under control.
- Check with community programs. There may be a composting program where you can purchase compost or wood chips at a reduced cost.
- Buy in bulk. Purchasing plants and materials in bulk can keep costs down if you are DIYing the project.
- Divide the project into stages. Don’t have the resources to fund an entire backyard overhaul? Complete one section this season, and then save up to complete the rest later.
- Shop around. Compare the fees charged by various landscape companies in your area.
- Compromise on materials. Rather than splurging on the best plants or building materials, find durable options you like that won’t break the bank.
- Be prepared. Having a detailed project plan will help you avoid mistakes and reduce the need for expensive do-overs down the road.
- Salvage wherever possible. Do you or does someone you know have leftover materials that could be used? Maybe some items could be repurposed and used instead of costly brand-new supplies.
- Buy local. Source plants and materials locally to avoid shipping costs.
- Start small. Instead of purchasing mature plants, opt for seeds, starts, and saplings that are cheaper and will grow in time.
- Hire a landscape designer. Not only can designers help with the yard’s aesthetics, but they can also help strategize what materials and projects will make their clients’ budgets stretch the furthest.
Questions to Ask About Landscaping
Hiring a professional landscaper is the simplest way to boost curb appeal and get a yard in top shape, but homeowners won’t want to go into it blind. At an average national cost of $3,415 for landscaping services, homeowners should be ready to ask some questions before signing on the dotted line.
- Are you insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have references or any accreditations?
- Do you provide any guarantees?
- Do you have a set square-foot price?
- Can you walk me through the process from planning to completion?
- Where do you source your plants and materials?
- How long will it take the plants to reach maturity?
- How long will the job take?
- Who will be my contact while the project is going on, and what is their contact information?
- What will scheduling look like while the work is being done?
- Do you offer ongoing maintenance services?
- Is my budget realistic?
- What can I do to reduce the cost?
While choosing landscaping services will depend on personal style, budget, and potential regulations, knowing how much it will cost on average will reduce the risk of getting a large surprise bill at the end of the project. For those just beginning to think about landscaping, a few questions are to be expected. The following are some commonly asked questions and their answers.
Q. How much does it cost to have a landscape designed?
The cost depends on the complexity of the design. Homeowners can expect to pay between $2,000 and $7,200 for an in-depth design.
Q. How much does landscaping cost monthly?
Monthly landscaping services typically include lawn maintenance, perhaps some pruning, and other regular chores and cost an average of $100 to $300.
Q. Is landscaping really necessary?
This is primarily a personal decision, but if curb appeal and home value are top considerations, having a well-planned and tended landscape is a must.