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?” Here's the answer.
- Typical Range: $1,362 to $5,640
- National Average: $3,415
Designing and maintaining a beautiful landscape is about more than just mowing and watering the yard—it can involve planting trees and shrubs, establishing perennial beds, and incorporating pathways and lighting. The typical cost for landscaping a yard ranges from approximately $1,362 to $5,640, 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 the going rate of labor. The type of equipment required to complete the project can also affect the overall costs. Ahead, learn more about how much landscaping costs and how to optimize the investment in your property.
How Much Does Landscaping Cost? Factors in Calculating Landscaping
While the national average for landscaping a yard 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 location of the area to be landscaped impacts the cost. In general, backyard landscaping projects are pricier because they are more likely to feature big-ticket items like a pool (which runs $14,000 to $42,000) or an outdoor kitchen (which can run $4,600 to $22,000). Ornamental garden landscaping can be simple or elaborate with items like gazebos and water features, and the price can range from about $8,000 to $10,000.
On the flip side, front yard landscaping projects are typically less complex. They may include projects such as installing a new sprinkler system at an average cost of $1,700 to $3,500 or the construction of a walkway, which ranges from about $8 per square foot up to $18 per square foot.
Type of Project
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 $150 per hour for their services.
Size and Scope of the Project
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 flowers, can cost as little as $4 per square foot. More in-depth services, such as changing the yard’s slope or installing a fence, can run as much as $40 per square foot.
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, 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. Things 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 $1,800 to $5,000, including site excavation, 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 around $200 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. Most 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, they may be willing to negotiate their fees to keep their workers busy.
Landscaping companies typically charge between $50 and $100 per hour for two workers. 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 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. A concrete patio ranges in price from around $2,500 to $7,000, and concrete is typically one of the more affordable construction materials. Building a deck with lumber can cost as much as $13,000, depending on size, because lumber is more expensive than concrete.
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 to consider when designing the whole landscaping project.
There may be additional costs for gardening or adding decorative features, such as raised beds, which can run approximately $6 to $10 per square foot, or aerating the lawn and basic maintenance chores that cost $4 to $6 per square foot. Larger projects such as removing unwanted trees or installing a new sod lawn typically range from around $10 to $40 per square foot.
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, expect to pay from $1,000 to $3,000. An average national cost is about $1,960. 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 will improve a home’s property value. 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. Installing an outdoor kitchen will also add entertainment value, but it’s a big-ticket item, ranging between $4,600 and $22,000. Adding a swimming pool tops many homeowners’ wish lists, and it can cost as much as $50,000.
Basic Services vs. Additions vs. Remodels
At the lower end of the price range are basic landscaping services, such as dethatching a lawn, planting seasonal flowers, or performing essential maintenance tasks, such as mowing and other lawn services that occur throughout the growing season. Expect to pay $4 to $6 per square foot for these essential services.
When the services and projects become more complex, the cost rises. The addition of landscape curbing or constructing raised garden beds averages $6 to $10 per square foot, while even larger projects, such as tearing out the existing landscape and completely replacing it, might run $10 to $40 per square foot.
While front and side yards typically feature expansive lawns, trees, and perennial beds, the backyard is where the costly projects are. Having a new patio installed ranges from $1,800 to $5,000, while an outdoor kitchen for entertaining could set you back $4,600 to $22,000, depending on size and the type and quality of the appliances. Adding a pool could up the ante by $14,000 to $42,000.
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.
Additional Services: Architects, Designers, and Others
Some landscaping construction projects, such as pools, pool houses, and fencing, require additional professional services, such as 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 their services.
Other fees may include obtaining the necessary permits to install fences or structures, adding around $200 or so to the price tag.
How Much Does Landscaping Cost? Types of Landscaping
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.
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.
Maintenance charges include costs for performing services such as fertilizing the lawn at a cost of $40 to $140, aerating the soil, which runs $218 to $872, and other periodic tasks like raking and lawn cleanup at a cost of about $300 to $700. Maintenance fees are among the least expensive fees associated with landscaping.
The term “softscaping” refers to planting and installing live horticultural elements in the yard. Some of these services may overlap with maintenance services, including overseeding a lawn at a cost range of $450 to $900. Others focus on planting new items, including shrubs which range from $25 to $50, new trees, which average $150 to $300, and installing sod at the cost of about $2,000 to $5,000. Planting an entire flower bed might run $1,000 to $3,000.
Additional softscaping services include pruning trees at $350 to $650 and removing dead, diseased, or no longer wanted trees, which can range from $400 to $900.
At the top rung of the cost ladder, hardscaping defines the addition of decorative and structural elements that are not horticultural. Approximate costs could be $300 to $1,400 for a fire pit, $2,000 to $10,000 for new fencing, $2,500 to $4,500 to have an arbor constructed, and from $7,500 to $10,000 for a new gazebo.
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.
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. The initial planting 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 $6,000 or using decorative stone in the landscape, which can run $250 to $2,500, depending on the scope of the project.
How Much Does Landscaping Cost? Benefits of 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 landscaping increase the owner’s enjoyment of the property, but it can also help conserve water and energy.
Lower 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 average $300 it costs to have a tree planted.
Customized for the Homeowner’s Needs
The best landscaping is customizable to work with individual properties, taking their unique characteristics into account. A homeowner who doesn’t want a natural grass lawn can opt for artificial turf for around $2,000. For a yard that sees a lot of leaf fall in autumn, leaf cleanup will cost $30 to $550, depending on the size of the yard and amount of leaf accumulation. 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 help homeowners decide where a pond should go and pull a permit for a project, and their advice will cost $50 to $150 per hour.
Before starting any project that requires construction, such as building a fence or patio, it’s essential 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 $1,000.
Air Quality and Environmental Benefits
Adding live plants and trees to the landscape is an eco-friendly way of improving air quality for all. One tree can absorb an average of 26 pounds of carbon dioxide every year, which is similar to the amount produced by a car that travels 11,000 miles.
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.
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 whether the project is a good fit for the property. Most landscaping projects result in an ROI. For example, building a wood deck offers an approximate 72.1 percent ROI, while building a composite deck comes with a 66.8 percent ROI on average.
How Much Does Landscaping Cost? DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
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 harming the home’s value.
See the estimated national averages for common landscaping projects that should be left to the pros:
- Construct a new deck: $7,651
- Install a patio: $4,078
- Install sod: $1,900
- Reslope a yard: $1,960
- Build a patio enclosure: $16,582
- Install a retaining wall: $5,610
- Install/correct foundation drainage: $3,833
- Excavation (for various projects): $3,239
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 $985 to $1,072, 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 range between the least expensive landscaping services, which run from about $300 to the high end at about $16,300, homeowners will appreciate some tips for keeping costs down and getting the best deal. When planning a landscaping project, consider the following methods for keeping costs under control.
- Check with community programs to see if they have a composting program where you can purchase compost or wood chips at a reduced cost.
- Buy materials and plants in bulk if you’re DIY-ing the project.
- Shop around. Compare the fees charged by various landscape companies in your area.
Questions to Ask About Landscaping Cost
Hiring a professional landscaper is the simplest way to boost curb appeal and get your yard in top shape, but don’t 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?
- Do you have references or any accreditations?
- Do you have a set square-foot price? This will help you determine a budget. Square-foot costs can vary from as little as $4 for basic services to $40 for high-end projects.
- How long will the job take? Landscapers typically charge from $50 to $100 per hour for two workers, so this will give you an idea of total labor costs.
- What can I do to reduce the cost? Some landscapers may suggest the homeowner tackle more straightforward tasks, such as planting flowers or clearing debris to save on labor costs.
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.
Q. How much does it cost to have a landscape designed?
The cost depends on the complexity of the design. Expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 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 will cost an average of $50 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.