Done right, landscaping can easily help improve your home’s curb appeal and value. Additionally, landscaping can take on many different forms, from installing shrubs, trees, and a lawn to creating walkways, ponds, gazebos, and walkways. Unfortunately, this also means that you’ll deal with a broad price range when you try to figure out your landscaping costs to both install and maintain your setup. The type of project you want and your yard size are the two biggest factors that impact your landscaping costs, as does whether you want to upkeep it yourself or hire a professional to take over for you.
One of the first things you can do is see what condition your yard is in. Does it need a lot of work? Maybe you just want to change a few smaller things, add flower beds, or transform your backyard into a relaxing and private oasis. Installing a new landscape is only half of the battle though because you also have to factor in upkeep. Your flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, and other features all need routine maintenance and things like watering, fertilizing, and weeding to keep them looking their best. If you don’t have time to dedicate to this, make sure to factor professional help into your landscaping costs.
On average, your landscaping costs can start around $300 for a simple project like stump removal. However, the more common landscaping cost range is $8,000 to $15,000. If you have a quarter-acre lawn, you can easily spend around $10,000 on professional designs, fresh and balanced soil, grading, plants, grass seeds, and a walkway. If you just want to add new grass seed, topsoil, and plants or shrubs in your front yard, your landscaping costs will fall around $3,000. On the high end of the spectrum at $20,000, you can expect to get professional-grade designs, new soil, artificial turf or sod, a retaining wall, gazebo, patio, and xeriscaping.
It’s a good idea to factor labor costs in as well because they can easily make up a large portion of your final landscaping costs. It’s a good idea to write down the biggest things you want to accomplish in this project. Do you want new grass or artificial turf? Maybe you want a pool or new deck, or you want to go smaller and add plants or flowers. Whatever you want, getting a running list will help you lock in your landscaping costs. This way, you can have a rough estimate of your budget when you call local companies and see what they can do for you to help transform your yard.
Landscaping right up to your house is very popular because it helps to define the space. Additionally, you can add gravel to help fill in the space and add native flowers in to help introduce pops of color. House by midiman / CC BY 2.0
Figuring Out Landscaping Costs Per Square Foot and Per Acre
Landscaping can refer to a huge range of projects, so it has a broad price per square foot. Your landscaping costs per square foot can range from $5.00 to $20.00, depending on what you want to do. It’s very common to mix landscaping and materials across your property, and your cost per square foot can fluctuate throughout the project’s duration.
For example, you could ask the company to put new topsoil down at $1.00 a square foot. They’ll add grass seed at $0.14 a square foot, but if you want bluestone pavers, your cost per square foot jumps to $30.00. Adding structures, water features, and various plants will change the cost per square foot, and this gives you your average landscape cost per square foot of $5.00 to $20.00.
If you have a larger yard, you may want to consider your landscaping costs per acre. The cost will depend on the layout, space’s purpose, and the condition of the land. Per acre, your average landscaping costs will start at $2,000 and go up to $4,000 for basic turf, soil, and rinse. If you want multiple acres done at once, you’ll most likely get a discount.
So, you can easily see your cost per foot drop if you have several acres that you want to plant new grass seed because it’s a large number of feet. However, if everything you want done like shrubs, gardens, fountains, and walkways stays in a single acre, your landscape costs can jump to $10,000 or more. The cost will largely depend on how much space you want to develop and the plans you have for the area.
Cost for Different Types of Landscaping
You can divide most landscaping projects into four broad categories, and each has different landscaping costs attached. Softscaping involves plants, hardscaping uses non-plant items to shape the landscape, xeriscaping helps conserve water, and routine maintenance. Each project will give you varying looks, and each category has different materials and looks.
Hardscaping is landscaping that doesn’t involve plant life. You have to figure the cost of materials and construction into your landscaping costs, and this is usually more expensive at $10,000 to $30,000. Hardscaping helps you transform your yard, and the most popular options are:
An arbor will cost between $2,500 and $4,500, on average. They usually get installed over walkways at the transition point between two areas in your yard. They can include plants and flowers, seats, and come in several sizes and materials. They make a gorgeous entryway for more elaborate walking gardens.
Installing a deck will increase your landscaping costs by $4,000 to $12,000. You can use it for recreation or relaxation, and most decks get attached directly to your home. You can also build a platform deck out in the yard, and they work well by themselves or built in conjunction with a gazebo or pergola.
Adding a fence to your yard has landscaping costs that range from $2,000 to $20,000. There are several fences, and some come designed for security. Others are taller and offer more privacy, and some are 100% decorative and help enhance the surrounding landscaping. The fence you choose should meet your needs before you design aesthetic.
Fire Pit Installation
Installing a fire pit can cost between $300 and $1,400. This can be a great addition to your yard, and your landscaping costs will depend on whether you want a simple model or something built-in and elaborate. You have choices for fuel too, including wood like traditional fire pits or natural gas. Natural gas will give you an easier and faster fire.
Building a gazebo will cause your landscaping costs to rise by $7,500 to $10,000. This is a useful and attractive living space, and it can take on several designs, styles, shapes, and use different materials. They come with a finished floor and roof, and the more enclosed design adds to your price.
Your landscaping costs for a new patio will range from $3,000 to $7,000. They come in several materials and shapes to enhance your yard’s look, and they usually go right alongside the house. You can add a pergola above it, or you can install your patio deeper in your garden next to a water feature to create a relaxing seating area.
Building a pergola will cause your landscaping costs to fall between $2,500 and $6,000. This is an open structure that allows sunlight and air to flow through, but it does give you some shade. They can use fiberglass, vinyl, or wood in the design, and you can attach them directly to your home or have them freestanding in your yard.
A porch can cost between $12,000 and $30,000. It can enhance your home’s look while giving you a seating area. They come in several styles, sizes, and shapes. You can have it wrap around the house or create a smaller one, and your costs will go up as the size and how elaborate it is increases.
Retaining Wall Installation
The landscaping costs for a retaining wall ranges from $3,500 to $10,000. They can help prevent soil erosion while making a nice addition to your landscaping. You can build them as a well, border edge, or as a seating area. The placement, height, soil, and material will all factor into your total costs.
Walkways are on the lower end of the landscaping cost spectrum at $500 to $900. They’re very common additions, and you can add them to your front or backyard. The material will influence the cost the most with exotic materials costing more than gravel or traditional pavers.
Hardscaping is a popular way to fill in larger areas of your yard or garden. However, they can drive your project costs up very quickly due to the bigger nature of the project. Boerderij, Heijcopperkade, De Meern, Netherlands by Tom Jutte / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Landscaping Costs for Maintenance
Landscaping requires ongoing maintenance costs. Some maintenance you may only have to do once or twice a year while other options are more routine. Your landscaping costs can easily increase by $100 to $4,000 a year, depending on the setup you have.
Aeration is an important maintenance step to keep your yard healthy, and your average landscaping costs will range from $200 to $900. Aeration ensures that fertilizer and water can get to the lawn’s roots, and it also refreshes the soil to ensure it can support your grass. It’s a great way to prepare for new sod or grass seed.
Your landscaping costs for fertilization range from $40.00 to $140. It can help new plants or grass grow quickly, and it has a range of prices. The desired outcome, type, and yard size are the biggest factors that influence costs. The grass type and your climate impact your fertilization schedule and types.
Stump Grinding and Removal
Your landscaping costs for stump grinding range from $275 to $600, and stump removal ranges from $200 to $700. Stump grinding happens after you cut the tree down to make it small enough to sit below the lawn’s surface. Stump removal is nice if you plan to plant something new in the area, but it’ll have a higher cost because you’ll have to fill in the hole it leaves behind.
Trimming a tree will cost between $80.00 and $350. You can trim your trees to make them look better, or you can trim them due to functional reasons. A tree that brushes against your home could welcome pests, or a tree hitting power lines could cause an outage risk. The size, tree type, and how much trimming you want will impact your landscaping costs.
Weed control can increase your landscaping costs by $65.00 to $150 a treatment. The location, weed type, and population influence your cost range. Weed control can be an ongoing cost of your landscaping process, depending on how quickly they return after you kill them.
Yard Clean Up
On average, your landscaping costs for yard clean up ranges from $300 to $700. You can use it to remove debris and leaves before you start planting or planning. It can be done regularly if you have several trees in the area, or it can be seasonal.
Softscaping is the act of planting grass, trees, flowers, shrubs, or other plants. It has a broad landscaping cost range because each plant has different prices and the number or plants you need vaires. Prices start at $800 and go up to $10,000.
Flower Bed Installation
Flower beds come with a landscaping cost range of $1,000 to $3,000. They range in scale, size, amount, and flower type. You may ask for professional-grade design services, but this can increase the price. They add character and color to your landscaping, and you can make them as small or large as you like.
Seeding your lawn will cost between $450 and $900. You’ll plant grass seed to help grow new grass and fill in your lawn. The landscaping costs depend on the seed type, lawn size, and prep work levels needed. The quantity and seed type also factor in, and you can start a new lawn from scratch or fill in thin patches of your existing lawn.
Planting shrubs comes with a landscaping cost range of $25.00 to $50.00 a shrub. A fully-grown shrub will cost more than smaller shrubs. They work best in front landscaping, but you can use them to line paths or patio sides. It’s common to plant various shrubs to add interest and depth to your landscape.
To sod a lawn, your landscaping costs will range from $2,000 to $5,000. Sod gives you an instant lawn, but it’s more popular in smaller areas to help control costs. You can add sod and other landscaping features to instantly improve your home’s curb appeal, and it has a broad cost range due to the different types of grass seed available.
Planting a tree will cost between $150 and $300. You can plant them in several areas across your yard, and planting younger trees is more cost-effective than planting older ones. The type of tree and size will impact your landscaping costs. Highly decorative and fruit trees come with a higher price tag.
Per tree, landscaping costs to remove them can vary from $400 to $1,500. Removing a tree gives you room for a new structure, patio, plant life, or paths. If the tree is dangerous or dead, you’ll want to remove it too. The tree size, type, and location will all factor in.
Xeriscaping helps to improve water conservation and usage in arid or hot climates. It uses a mix of different materials to conserve water while enhancing your landscape. IT has a broad cost and material range, and your average landscaping costs will range from $16,000 to $18,000.
On average, the cost for artificial grass ranges from $3,000 to $6,000. This is great for drought-prone areas, and you can get a ground cover that is easy to maintain and looks attractive. It can help prevent erosion, and you can cover the whole yards or part of it. It’s also easy to combine with native grasses or plants.
Adding an irrigation system will increase your landscaping costs by $4,000 to $6,000, on average. You can choose misting systems that carry water from nearby areas to your yard. It’ll work to keep your native plants healthier, and you won’t need as much water as a traditional sprinkler system offers. You do want a water system nearby for this to work well.
Landscaping stones cost between $250 and $2,500. They’re a nice way to help you create unusual looks without needing a lot of water or plants. Rock gardens, rocks as mulch, and dry river beds are all attractive xeriscaping ideas. The stones come in different sizes, shapes, and colors to help them complement your property.
Adding mulch to a yard will increase your landscaping costs by $150 to $400. There are several types and brands of mulch available, and they can contain everything from grave or other stones and bark to rubber. Mulch will lock in moisture, and it’s very useful in drought-prone areas where plants can lose their moisture and dry out very quickly.
Native Plant Additions
Adding native plants to your xeriscaping project can easily cost between $2,000 and $5,000. They work well in areas that don’t get a lot of rain, and they’re usually very drought-resistant. They add shade and color while helping prevent erosion. It’s not uncommon to have several included in your project.
Xeriscaping can be nice if you’re on a stricter budget for your landscaping costs. You’ll have to find local plants to ensure they do well, and carefully plan out your landscape to cover your chosen space. Modern Landscape by Daniel M. Hendricks / CC BY-ND 2.0
Location and Landscaping Costs
The area around your home where you want to landscape will impact your costs. Front yards usually don’t have as many elaborate features and tend to be smaller, so they have lower landscaping costs. A full garden requires professional planning and more features, so the costs are usually higher than both the back or front yards.
Generally speaking, your landscaping costs for the backyard range from $8,000 to $10,000. This part of your yard is more for enjoyment over appearance, but it still adds value. It doesn’t need to frame and work with the home as much as other parts of the yard. This is usually where you’ll spend the most money on gazebos, patios, paths, koi ponds, and pergolas, so it makes sense you have more landscaping costs.
The landscaping costs for your front yard range from $4,000 and $6,000. This area has the biggest impact on your home’s curb appeal and the general property value. It will impact how your home looks when someone sees it from the street, and this is why many people include shrubs, walkways, lawn, and trees in their landscaping project. There are usually no large structures in the front yard, so the costs can be lower than the backyard because the backyard typically features decks and patios.
To landscape a garden, the average costs range from $8,000 to $20,000. Gardens usually need professional-grade layouts and planning to work well, so this increases your starting landscaping costs. They’re also more likely to have elaborate features like sitting places, walkways, focal points, and water features. Things like fountains, pergolas, and gazebos are common.
The more elaborate the garden layout and size is, the higher your landscaping costs will climb. Gardens that have a greater focus on trees, shrubs, and plants usually have lower costs than the ones that focus on hardscaping. If you choose to have elaborate hardscape features or xeriscaping, your costs would rise at a quick pace.
New Home Landscaping Costs
When you’re on a brand new lot and starting from zero, your landscaping costs will go up significantly more. A rough estimate is that your landscaping will cost around 10% of your home’s value. So, if you have a $400,000 home, your landscaping costs will be around $40,000. To get the landscaping started, it costs around $200 an hour. Most projects will take several weeks from start to finish due to grading, adding topsoil, adding seed, and basic planting and hardscaping.
Optional Landscaping Features
If you want to add a few more features to your landscaping, keep in mind that they will all cause your landscaping costs to go up. Some of the most popular landscaping features you can add include but are not limited to:
A French drain can help you if you have problems regarding the drainage in your yard. These drains will move water from one end of your yard into another area where you’ll allow it to drain without causing issues with your foundation or soggy ground. Your landscaping costs will increase by around $4,500.
Outdoor kitchens are an extremely popular addition to your home, and they allow you to entertain or cook outdoors. These kitchens come in an impressive range of sizes and shapes, and they can include a host of storage, cooking, and seating spaces. Your costs will start around $13,000 and go up.
Lighting will brighten up your landscaping after dusk, and this allows you to use it longer. You can easily install lighting to the area around your patio or deck, or you can have them illuminate your whole yard. The ones you pick will depend on how much you plan to use it. Your lighting can start at $3,500 and go up to $4,500.
A pool can be a stunning addition to any space or yard. How much your pool costs will depend on things like labor, shape, accessories, and whether or not you want an above or inground pool. The average costs range from $20,000 to over $50,000.
Where to Find Professional Landscapers Near You
If you’re looking for professional landscapers to help you create a stunning yard that boosts your curb appeal, you want to use local companies. You can start your search here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing what questions to ask when you contact the local contractors can help you get consistent price estimates across the board. This way, you can find out which ones work best for your budget. Front of House – Before 3 by Drew Geraets / CC BY-NC 2.0
1. How much will you pay for monthly maintenance for your landscaping?
The landscaping costs for monthly maintenance will depend on a large range of factors. Depending on what you need, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 a month.
2. When should you schedule your landscaping projects?
Usually, most people choose to start all of their landscaping projects in the early spring months. This gives the plants time to establish themselves before the hot weather comes along.
3. How do you landscape on a budget?
If you don’t have a huge budget for your landscaping projects, start small. Purchase hardy plants that will complement your house design. As you get the money, consider hiring a professional landscaper or landscape designer.
4. Why choose a local company?
Picking out a local company will help ensure that you get people who understand the local climate and plants. In turn, you can get landscaping that comes tailored to your climate.
Your landscaping costs can fluctuate very rapidly over the life of the project. We’ve outlined the most popular options most people incorporate into their projects to help you get a good estimate of what you’re looking at for your yard. You can take these estimates to your local companies and see how they stack up so you can get a yard that you can’t wait to spend time in.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.