Hiring a landscaper for various projects, you can expect to pay around $50 to $100 per hour. On average, landscapers will charge 115% more than the cost of the grass sod, plants, and shrubbery. If you're starting from scratch, most homeowners will spend between $3,000 and $15,950 for an average 10,000 sqft. lawn. A general rule of thumb is to spend 10% of your home's value on landscaping. Get free instant estimates from local landscapers near you.
In most situations, landscaping includes designing and planning your land usage, getting the land ready, and planting or installing your desired additions. Unless you are an experienced landscape designer, it’s usually something best left to experienced professionals. Let's take a look at all the landscaping prices, including material and installation costs below.
Here are the most popular landscaping projects and a price list. We'll cover each one in detail for you:
|Landscaping Service||Average Cost|
|Landscaping Installation (from scratch)||$3,000 - $15,950|
|Lawn Seeding||$300 - $700|
|Sod Installation||$1,100 for the sod or $3,000 installed|
|Mulching Costs||$200 - $500|
|Artificial Turf Installation||$3,000 - $4,000|
|Sprinkler System Installation||$2,150 - $4,000|
|Landscape Curbing||$800 - $1,500|
|Lawn Mowing||$25 - $50|
|Misting System Install||$1,000 - $2,500|
|Pond Installation||$2,155 and $3,218|
|Water Fountain Installation||$2,000|
|Tree Trimming||$250 - $500|
|Tree Removal||$12 - $13 /foot ($200 - $600 /tree)|
|Lawn Grading||$125 per cubic yard of dirt|
|Landscape Design||$50–100 per hour|
|Landscaping Permits||Up to $1,000|
If you're starting from scratch, expect to pay much more than one-time projects. The average lawn size in the US is 10,000 square feet. If you sod 9,000 sqft and have shrubs planted, along with a curb around the perimeter, your total will be anywhere from $3,000 to $15,950 for your lawn.
Landscaping Network says, “When deciding on a budget keep in mind that investing in professional landscaping will greatly add to the value of your home. A general rule of thumb is to spend 10% of your home's value on landscaping. So, if you have a $400,000 house then a landscaping budget of $40,000 is appropriate.”
Not starting from scratch? Let's check out costs on a project basis:
Grass seed costs approx. $0.05/sqft, which will only cost about $100 for the same 2,000-square-foot lawn or $700-ish for a professional to seed your lawn for you. The downside to sowing seed versus laying sod is that it is not an instant result.
First, each type of grass has a peak seeding and growing season you might miss and then have to wait on. Then, depending on the type of grass seed you decide to sow, it can take anywhere from 5 to 30 days before the grass will germinate. Until it does, the soil has to be kept wet—not too much or the seed will wash away, and not too little or the grass will dry out and not produce a lawn you are proud of.
Standard advice is to water the lawn every 2–3 days with even coverage, but not for too long, because then the water will continue on down past the seeds. No matter which type of grass you choose, get a good sprinkler system that provides good coverage and allows for scheduling so your lawn doesn’t get forgotten about when life gets busy.
If you get grass sod installed, you will instantly have grass which will quickly blend together until you can’t see where each sod starts and stops. This instant solution is significantly more expensive than seeding a lawn because the grass has to be grown somewhere else, looked after, watered, cut up, and transported to your home before being laid down.
Depending on where you live and the type of grass you select, sod costs about $0.55 per square foot—$1,100 just for the sod or $3,000 installed for a lawn of 2,000 square feet.
Average Sod Prices by Type
|Sod Type||Average Cost|
|Bermuda Sod||$0.30 - $0.75 /sqft|
|Fescue Sod||$0.31 - $0.63 /sqft|
|St. Augustine Sod||$0.20 - $0.50 /sqft|
|Zoysia Sod||$0.40 - $0.55 /sqft|
If you're having trouble growing grass or just looking to spice up the flowerbeds, you'll need to mulch. Mulching feeds the soil and surrounding plants and keeps your landscape at an ideal temperature. Also, it helps retain moisture and prevents weeds from taking over.
You can buy mulch at your local hardware store for $2 to $5 per bag (1 cubic foot). Mulch delivery can be expensive, so unless you're landscaper is already doing other projects for you it's recommended you install this yourself.
When hiring a professional to take care of your mulching you can expect to pay $200 - $500.
For many reasons—including maintenance, maintenance costs, and water conservation—many homeowners are installing synthetic grass. Imagine never needing to mow, fertilize, reseed, water, or pay for a sprinkler system.
As LIM Home Solutions in Van Nuys, CA, says,
Have your designer take measurements and show you some design ideas, along with all the different options possible. You will receive a 2D design layout so you can see exactly what your finished yard will look like once the synthetic turf is installed. Artificial turf will cost most homeowners $3,000 - $4,000 to install and will usually come with an 8–15-year warranty.
Sprinklers are essential to keeping your landscaping investment maintained and healthy. Rather than having to take the time out of your busy day, consider getting a sprinkler system that provides good coverage and allows for easy scheduling.
The cost of a sprinkler system will vary based on the size of your lawn and if you already have landscaping installed or not. Typically, homeowners can expect to pay between $2,150 and $4,000 for a complete system.
Landscape curbing creates a visually appealing look and is important to show where one area ends and another begins. Curbing can get extensive quickly and may contain retaining walls, concrete, bricks, rock and more. Depending on the materials and extent of your curbing, you can expect to pay between $800 - $1,500 for a professional installation.
Hiring a landscaper to mow and maintain your yard, you will likely spend between $25 and $50 per visit.
Here’s a more detailed look at lawn care prices as of January 2018:
|Mow Frequency||1/8 Acre||1/4 Acre||1/3 Acre||1/2 Acre||1 Acre|
If you live in an area with a warmer climate, a misting system is a great addition to the overall comfort of your new landscape. Instead of installing an awning or pergola, an outdoor misting system is one of the easiest and most effective ways to cool an outdoor area. If this sounds appealing to you, be prepared to spend $1,000 - $2,500 for installation.
Ponds are a great addition to your landscape if you don't have quite enough room for a pool but still want something exotic. Plus, guests and kids will love to see the Koi fish swim! Depending on the size, location, and materials used for your pond, you can expect to pay between $2,155 and $3,218 to have a new pond professionally installed.
To make your landscaping project complete, consider adding a water fountain. Water fountains bring a serene feeling and actually increase the value of your home. In addition, the water they use is recycled and they are low maintenance to keep running. For a professional water fountain installation, set aside at least $2,000.
Hiring someone to trim just one tree can cost up to $1,000, with $250 to $500 being the typical price range for trimming a tree. And keep in mind that those prices cover one-time service for just one tree. If you’ve got several trees around your house that need to be trimmed or trees must be trimmed several times a year, the bill will go up accordingly.
Tree removal is based on a price per foot, with average costs being $12–$13/foot. Expect the following:
|Up to 25 feet
The root system is small and the trunk is thin.
|$150 – $500|
|25 - 75 feet
The difference in price can vary dramatically depending on the root depth and trunk diameter.
|$200 – $1,000|
|Over 75 feet
A crane is needed to remove very large trees, with care taken to remove root systems without damaging utility or plumbing lines nearby.
|$1,500 and up|
Changing the terrain of your land through re-sloping or grading will incur its own additional cost of $125 per cubic yard of dirt to be moved or about $1,600 total. The contractor will need to be able to get some big equipment in, and that may require removing some fencing or gates.
Here are some popular landscaping materials and their average national cost. Keep in mind these prices do not include installation.
|Landscaping Material||Average Cost|
|Composting||$25 - $33 /yard|
|Flood Lights||$200 - $500 /light|
|Grass Pavers||$3 - $10 /sqft|
|Landscape Boulders||$150 /ton|
|Landscape Gravel||$20 - $30 /sqft|
|Landscape Fabric||$1.50 - $2 /sqft|
|Landscape Rocks||$0.05 - $0.30 /lb|
|Landscape Timbers||$5 - $7 /linear ft.|
|Lawn Edging||$1 - $5 /ft|
|Lawn Fertilization||$40 - $60 /application|
|Lawn Replacement||$1 - $2 /sqft|
|Lawn Turf||$5 - $20 /sqft|
|Retaining Wall||$15 - $20 /sqft|
|Walkway Material||Average Cost|
|Crushed Granite||$1 - $3 /sqft|
|Granite Pavers||$6 /sqft|
|Crushed Stone||$1 - $2 /sqft|
|Stone Steps||$100 - $300 /each|
|Dry Stack Stone||$6 - $15 /sqft|
All the following prices are for the average size of that item/installation. See HomeGuide’s other cost guides for more detailed info about installation costs on each.
|Additional Options||Average Cost|
|Asphalt Driveway (20' x 24')||$4,200|
|Sprinkler Heads||$2 - $10|
|Retaining wall||$20 /sqft|
|Fence Material||Average Cost|
|Board Wood Fencing||$8 - $13 /linear ft.|
|Wood Fencing||$7 - $15 /linear ft.|
|Board On Board Fencing||$8 - $16 /panel|
|Wood Picket Fencing||$15 - $21 /linear ft.|
|Vinyl Fencing||$25 - $40 /linear ft.|
|Vinyl Chain Link Fencing||$11 - $14 /linear ft.|
|Vinyl Coated Chain Link Fencing||$14 - $21 /linear ft.|
|Electric Fencing||$600 - $1,100|
|Glass Fencing||$61 - $87 /linear ft.|
|Redwood Fencing||$12 - $18 /linear ft.|
|Cedar Fencing||$1 - $6 /plank|
|Aluminum Fencing||$15 - $60 /linear ft.|
|Wrought Iron Fencing||$20 - $30 /linear ft.|
|Chain Link Fencing||$8 - $15 /linear ft.|
|Split Rail Fencing||$10 - $25 /linear ft.|
|Stockade Fencing||$8 - $15 /linear ft.|
|Cyclone Fencing||$5 - $20 /sqft|
|Shadowbox Fencing||$6 - $15 /linear ft.|
There are 3 main types of landscaping that we'll cover in detail for you:
|Landscaping Types||Average Cost|
|Hardscaping||$2,000 to $45,000|
|Softscaping||$11 per square foot|
|Xeriscaping||$10 per square foot|
This is the industry terminology used to describe the design, planning, and implementation of non-living items in the decoration of land. This includes paths, gazebos, patios, decks, retaining walls, pergolas, etc. Depending on what needs to be constructed, the work usually involves working with materials like wood, brick, concrete, stone, and metal.
Elements of landscaping that fall into this category will range in cost from around $2,000 to $45,000. To save money on hardscaping, consider buying prefabricated items like a readymade firepit rather than a custom-built stone one.
The softscaping category encompasses all the live components like plants, trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds. Within softscaping, the items fall into classifications of annuals, biennials, and perennials. Each of these classifications produce flowers which will form seeds.
Where they differ is in the typical lifespan of each category member. Softscaping works out at about $11 per square foot. To save money, buy younger plants and trees. Your yard will end up looking the same; it will just take a little longer to grow into the plan.
This landscaping is tailored for very dry climates and allows for minimal water use. It focuses on working with plants that occur naturally in that climate type, like purple fountain grass, yellow pampas grass, Mexican feather grass, blue oat grass, autumn joy sedum, and aloe vera—all plants that have the same minimal need for water.
When professionally installed, costs can run close to $10 per square foot, but having a professional plan out your land use could cost as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as $5,000, or higher, for a more boutique designer. Consider, though, the savings in water bills no matter who you choose to design it all.
A landscape designer can help you narrow down your list of features to a consistent theme. It is very possible that they will be able to walk you through a range of examples to illustrate the most popular styles in landscaping, including:
In traditional gardens, there is a strong “designed” influence from the use of symmetry and repeated patterns and geometric shapes in the layout. The more modern take on the traditional garden bears visual similarities but leans away from the opulent intent, and more toward practical aspects with portions to cultivate vegetables and fruit, as well as spaces that include BBQ grills, fireplaces, and even a full outdoor kitchen. Traditional styles include Cape Cod, colonial and English gardens.
These gardens and homes feature pergolas, picket fences, shutters, window boxes, birdhouses, and birdbaths; along with native grasses and a color palette that includes coastal home colors like white, cream, light yellow, and light gray.
This style is in line with elements contributing to the survival of the early settlers, when there was little focus on decoration and more on baking, keeping insects at bay, and cooking. Today’s elements include a functional focus with stone walls, picket fences, stone paving, arbors, and an unstructured array of flowers with pastel colors.
The English garden style has a distinct lack of symmetry and overall formality. Manicured lawns spread across less than flat topography and are mixed with cobblestone paths, and it is not uncommon to see replica statues sprinkled around in an otherwise rustic and organic setting.
Mediterranean style is a fusion of similar yet distinct cultures manifesting in historic looks—using statues, tiered fountains, terracotta pots, bocce balls, and columns. In a stylish, casual setting, these structures are offset with the smell of herbs and the appearance of ornamental grass, lavender plants, and the sound of water; and some cover from the elegant stature of cypress trees. Subsets of Mediterranean style are Spanish, French, Tuscan and Southwest landscaping.
During the Renaissance, French royals designed gardens to offer a profound display of extravagance for their visitors. Today, the elements that draw from this period include cast-iron garden seating, glazed pots, columns, birdbaths, gravel, simple furniture, terraces, and fountains.
Driven by a principle of creating individual spaces in the garden, Spanish gardens not only incorporate walled sections, but they also include patio and courtyard areas with tiered fountains, Saltillo tiles, Cantera stone, urns, and terraces. These overlook reflecting pools surrounded by grass lawns, arches, and benches, all designed to strictly follow a symmetrical layout.
For softscaping—working in choices that do well in the heat and without much rain—common Spanish style elements include fruit trees like citrus and fig, Blue Pacific Junipers, olive trees; and herbs like rosemary, fennel, and oregano. For some color, many homeowners opt for drought-tolerant flowering plants like hazel Spanish lavender and yucca plants.
The Tuscan style features a lot of stone paths and walls, with spaces punctuated with box hedges and plants in terracotta pots. These yards often feature gravel paths leading the visitor through a maze which has benches—to allow the weary to rest.
This style fits with the arid conditions of the region. With influences rooted in Native American and Spanish culture, the resulting look is rich with red clay pavers, terracotta tiles, fountains, plaster, and wood. Bright construction materials are used with Native American details and colors of nature, including red, brown, orange, and yellow.
Inspired by Victorian gardens and their practical themes, these could include a space for a vegetable and herb garden, fruit trees, and even beehives and birdhouses. Traditional beauty is not the focus, so flowers are often used as filler, as seen in farmhouse and ranch styles.
Japanese-style gardens are very peaceful, with their focus on nature and use of water, ornaments, plants, and rocks to create a space that lends itself to a lifestyle of meditation.
The modern style has the central intent of creating contrasts with wood, metal, and concrete. It is not uncommon for the designers to leave the natural look of the concrete rather than paint or stain it. It’s designed to create a sophisticated look.
Sun, shade, and water give off the tropical vibe, along with large, lush plants and bold colors. These yards are almost always sprinkled with palm trees and usually include a pool with faux boulders, waterfalls, and ledges to jump off, and a turquoise interior finish in the pool. They often sport tiki torches and statues, hammocks, bamboo fences, and a thatched roof on the sun shades or patio—where you can sit on teak furniture with bright and colorful cushions.
A professional will visit your property and work up a plan that matches the creative vision you have for the land. Expect to pay $50–100 per hour for both the design phase and the implementation phase.
For high-end designers, expect $10,000–$15,000 for these. Within this planning phase, there are two distinct disciplines and associated costs. In general, a landscape architect will work on areas to do with the land and hardscaping, while designers are more involved with visuals and the softscaping arena, covering plants, etc.
Landscape architects have a university degree from a school accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in landscape architecture, and they have secured a license at the state level. The scope of their work covers architectural elements of a more structural nature, including the design of and solving issues with the following:
Architects are more focused on larger institutional projects and commercial areas, while designers are typically engaged in smaller-scale projects like residential and smaller commercial development.
While many landscape designers have taken college courses, others are self-taught or have grown up in the family business. Some designers may have an education similar to that of a landscape architect, but without the state license, they are restricted to operating as a designer.
The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) encourages members to engage in continued education and offers a program to certify members based on their completed projects. Ultimately, creating an outdoor space to relax in and enjoy is a worthwhile investment.
Work with designers like Ecocentrix Landscape Architecture in Santa Monica, California. In reference to how their design work showcases their stylistic range and high quality, they say:
As with any landscaping company, their portfolio can tell you a lot about the quality of their work.
Planting new grass or laying sod is always a major part of landscaping. It is important to know what the differences are and how they will direct your choice in the matter.
Of all the different types of grass that are suitable for a lawn, they generally fall into one of two categories: creeping and bunch.
Creeping - An example of creeping grass is Bermuda, which has a high tolerance for higher temperatures and is typically found in lawns all across the south. It grows along runners either above or below ground.
Bunch - Bunch grows in a manner more consistent with the majority of plant life: it spreads out from the center in bunches. Mowing it higher will protect the center.
The state you live in will determine if you have a single grass type lawn or a blend of multiple grass types to ensure coverage throughout the year.
Northern areas—from Northern California across to New York—will generally have a single grass planted. The zone from Southern California cutting across through northern Texas and finishing in North Carolina will generally feature mixed grasses, while the zone to the south won’t require a blend, but single grasses suited to the heat.
Landscaping the yard in a newly constructed home will incur a significant cost compared to that of an improvement or enhancement of existing landscaping.
It is not uncommon for home builders to use soil of a lower quality around a new home once construction has been completed. First of all, have a soil sample tested to establish its nutritional content, composition, and acidity. All possible components will vary at different depths, so if using a DIY kit, make sure to follow the instructions regarding depth carefully before mailing off the samples.
If the soil is determined to be too sandy, you can improve it with the introduction of between 3”–4” of well-rotted manure or other organic compost. Additionally, distribute mulch from leaves, hay, straw, bark, or wood chips around your plants to retain moisture content and to aid in cooling the soil. Enhancing an existing lawn and yard will generally include more softscaping than hardscaping.
Your designer and contractor should be well versed in permitting procedures and requirements because of their experience working on projects locally. Unless you are planning something truly out of the ordinary, like a tropical style space with a pool on your front lawn, you should be given permission to carry out your landscaping plans, but it is best to check. A national average for landscaping permits is $1,000. Either have your landscaper apply for them, or save a little money by doing that yourself.
Most homes will have a similar, if not identical, setback regulation that governs the least distance for how far back from the street each house must be. Some people end up putting a lot more time, money, and effort into the land around the front of their property for the sake of street appeal, and especially for the purposes of adding value to the property coming up to a sale. It is likely, however, that the backyard gets the lion's share of investment in light of its level of use.
Spring is the best time of the year for most landscaping work—between April and May. This eight-week period will give plants a great start and time to build strength before the summer months approach.
Right before fall arrives, you have another opportunity to deliver a last round of essential groundwork to prepare your property for winter. If possible, plan to have construction completed in time to take advantage of the perfect planting times.
While hardscaping can be done during any season, the softscaping work must be completed before summer or winter, and scheduling landscapers during these busy times can be difficult. The best way around being charged premium prices would be to lock down the work dates with your chosen landscaper as soon possible.
Consider landscaping your yard in stages. Design the whole project with your landscape designer or architect and then take care of installing your future yard one step at a time. Make sure each contractor sees the plans before doing their part so he/she can set things in place to ensure the next part of the job is smooth, such as installing all the water pipes and electrical conduits and wires.
For example, do the electrical and water work, lay the sod, and plant the trees in year one, add or pour the patio and pathways and shrubbery in year two, and put in a pool in year three.
Many state governments in warmer climates, especially California, are offering rebates to any homeowners that alter their landscaping to use less water and/or make their yards more permeable. Approval is required in advance for most of your rebates so you can know if the money has been set aside for them or not. Included are turf replacements, native plants, storm/rainwater retention, permeable hardscape, water-saving sprinklers.
Creations Landscape Designs has been in business in Tustin, California, for ten years. She has a 25-page checklist on her website for what to think about before talking to a landscape designer. Her guide covers understanding your garden needs, hiring a landscape designer, preparing and meeting with the landscape designer, the design process, and after-installation tips. Her guide, while specific to California, has many good tips no matter where you live, and it can be found here.
Find your landscaping designer today, and we hope you enjoy your beautiful new yard for many years to come.
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