Wondering How Much to Spend on Landscaping?

Evelyn Long

Jul 16, 2020


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To know how much to spend on landscaping, a little context is necessary. Popular programs on HGTV make landscaping seem simple and straightforward. In under 30 minutes, a team of laborers can transform a property from bland to beautiful, on schedule and under budget. Every now and again they’ll encounter an issue — there has to be some drama, after all! For the most part, however, it all goes according to plan.

These heavily edited shows can give us a distorted view of the landscaping process. We might approach our projects with enthusiasm and a DIY attitude, confident we can make significant improvements within a short span of time. But much like Rome, unfortunately, your backyard can’t be built in a day.

Determining a budget isn’t an easy, and many of us don’t really think about the costs landscaping can actually rack up. Plus, we have to try to account for unexpected costs, delays in scheduling and a long list of potential problems and holdups.

So, how much should you spend on landscaping? To determine this, it’s important to remember the reality of making these improvements. They aren’t effortless, and they’re often expensive. But in the end, they’re absolutely worthwhile. Beautify your property and make the most of your money by studying the costs and making a budget ahead of time.

1. Average Landscaping Costs by Project

Before you figure out how much to spend on landscaping, you’ll need to figure out how much each project typically costs. Here’s an overview of 10 common landscaping projects and their average national costs to help you structure your budget. If you’re planning on hiring a crew to build or repair an existing deck, install a patio or make other adjustments, consult this guide to ensure you’re getting a fair price.

  • New Deck: $7,211
  • Deck Repairs: $1,605
  • Patio or Pathway Installation: $3,705
  • Lawn Reslope: $1,886
  • Turf Installation: $4,565
  • Driveway Repair: $1,570
  • Patio Enclosure: $16,198
  • Water Fountain Installation: $2,574
  • Tree Stump Removal: $298
  • Lawn Maintenance: $375

On the subject of lawn maintenance, this is a responsibility you likely won’t need professional assistance with. As long as you fertilize, aerate, rake and weed your property, you’ll maintain its quality and keep the grass vibrant and fresh. Instead of the average national cost, the average annual cost is a more accurate calculation.

You can compare some of these price points against their median ROI to find a balance. This will help you make profitable decisions as you invest in your property.

2. ROI for Landscaping Projects

The exact figure will differ from property to property, but you’ll have a better understanding of the value of your landscaping projects by looking at their median ROI. This section will focus on two popular projects: deck construction and lawn maintenance.

A new deck will cost, on average, $7,221, but can reach upward of $10,000. Homeowners who decide to invest recoup 80 percent at resale time, making this improvement well worth the high price point. If it’s within your budget to pay for a deck, it’s a financially sound decision.

Lawn maintenance will also improve your property’s curb appeal by a significant margin. In spending just $375 per year, you’ll earn an incredible ROI of 267 percent. The alternative is a patchy, worn and overgrown yard, which will turn away potential homebuyers before they step through the front door.

Now that you have a grasp on some of the costs associated with landscaping projects and their impressive effect on property value, you’ll need to follow some basic rules to follow when developing a budget. This will keep you from overextending yourself. It’s not just about how much you should spend on landscaping, but what’s most worth the effort.

3. Managing Supplies and Equipment

Whether you’re undertaking a DIY project or hiring a landscaper, you’ll need to determine your budget for materials and supplies. For example, a patio installation can cost homeowners $35 per square foot for the material alone, and the better the quality the more you’ll expect to spend. It’s crucial to plan out what you want to achieve with your landscaping project so you’re not surprised by the sticker price. You shouldn’t use all your savings on the perfect stones, plantings or upgrades without factoring in labor and installation.

You may also need to secure landscaping equipment to make a project feasible. If you’re putting in an in-ground pool, for example, you may need a mini excavator to more efficiently and accurately dig into your backyard. Projects that involve grading and clearing out brush will also require compact equipment. If you’re looking for a landscaping transformation, it’s best to talk to experts and learn what it takes beforehand.

4. Budgeting For Your Backyard

Calculate 10 to 15 percent of your home’s overall value, and you’ll have a solid landscaping budget. This may seem substantial, but keep in mind you’re making improvements to both the front and backyards. You’re not placing all your money in one specific area.

To distribute your funds strategically, allocate 65 percent of your budget in the backyard and 35 percent to your front. It’s the generally accepted rule, though you’re likely to deviate to some extent depending on what landscaping projects you decide on.

After everything’s said and done, attractive landscaping can add more than 100 percent of the money spent to your home’s value. As your design begins to take shape, remember your investments will have an enormous impact when you decide to sell. If you hesitate over costs, it’s essential to keep that last statistic in mind.

How Much to Spend on Landscaping

How much you should spend on your landscaping depends on your unique situation, but the payoff is real. Once you’re confident in your math and your planning, you can look forward to the day when all the hard work is done. You can savor an iced tea on your new deck, look out across your green lawn and feel confident in your home’s improved value.

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