How Much Does Landscaping Cost in 2024?

By: Peter Warden Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
July 4, 2023 - 7 min read

Landscaping cost and benefits

Most of us have seen yards that made us pause and say, ‘wow!’

They may be peaceful havens or places to play and entertain family and friends. Then you may also have briefly wondered: How much does landscaping cost?

If you’re looking to spruce up your yard but don’t know where to start or how much it’ll run, we have you covered.

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Determining your landscaping prices

It’s perfectly possible to spend anything between a few hundred and a few hundred thousand dollars on improving your personal outdoor space.

The average American spends $8,150 on landscaping, according to Forbes. However, how much you pay will depend on many factors, including:

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  1. The size of the area you’re landscaping — Bigger is more expensive to make beautiful
  2. What you want — Digging out large volumes of earth to fix a sharply sloping yard is much more costly than creating a few flower beds
  3. The quality you demand — You’ll pay more for authentic materials such as natural stone than manufactured alternatives
  4. Your yard’s accessibility — Serious groundworks require heavy equipment. If that can’t be got into place, it will cost you more to have the work done by lighter equipment and manual labor
  5. The amenities on your wish list — Do you want an inground pool, a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen and a gazebo? You won’t get all those for eight grand
  6. How long your project will take — The hours of labor required may well be the biggest single cost for your project

Unless you have a limitless budget, you can probably expect to make some compromises along the way. But don’t worry, your landscape designer will be used to working within a budget. And the better ones should manage your expectations from the initial consultation to completion.

Reasons for landscaping your yard

People often landscape their yards to enhance their home and give themselves somewhere attractive to enjoy and entertain.

Of course, many want more amenities to heighten their enjoyment. So, pools, terraces, decking, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and gazebos are often on wish lists.

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Homeowners may also wish to minimize some drawbacks associated with their location. For example, trees and shrubs can reduce noise from a nearby busy road or adjoining schoolyard. And, planted strategically, trees can add to your privacy or block out unattractive views.

A bad reason for extensive and expensive landscaping is that you’re about to market your home. The landscaping cost will likely add value to your home immediately but not as much as you spend. It can take years of rising house prices to recover that investment.

Naturally, it’s a good idea to get your yard in good shape before you sell. But just make it look as attractive as it can without spending too much.

How much value does landscaping add?

The American Society of Landscape Architects suggests an excellent landscaping project can add 15% to the value of a home.

While that’s based on a study from 1999, there’s little doubt a home with an attractive yard will normally sell for more — and more quickly — than one with an ugly or overgrown one.

If you’re thinking about landscaping in terms of return on investment (ROI), it’s no different from other forms of home improvement.

Homeowners will likely recover their landscaping cost over time for two reasons. First, as home prices rise (and they usually do), the value added by the landscaping project will increase proportionately, too. Secondly, many landscaping projects — trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. — mature, becoming more beautiful and filling their spaces, thus adding value.

How much does landscaping cost?

As with all such projects, landscaping costs have endless associated variables.

Prices vary depending on where you live, with some states having higher labor costs and urban environments typically bringing elevated wages. Any figures we give will be approximate national averages.

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Many experts cite an average hourly rate of $50-$100 an hour for labor (and at least twice that for your designer’s time) which illustrates just how broad these variations are.

They’re even broader if you want to calculate your likely landscaping costs based on your yard’s square footage. puts that at $4-$12 a square foot, while Forbes reports high-end projects coming in at $17 a square foot.

Amenities have a similar story. At the high end, a pool can range up to $5,000 for above ground and $100,000 for inground. It all depends on the size, construction, shape and features you want for the pool.

Such variables apply to all aspects of landscaping cost elements. Pop down to Home Depot and you can pick up a fountain for less than $200. Import a rare, centuries-old one from France or Italy and you’ll likely be looking at tens of thousands or more.

How are you supposed to cope with such widely different numbers? You’re not. Decide how much you can comfortably afford and check with local landscaping companies what that might buy you. By all means, have a wish list but be ready to compromise.

Factors to consider when landscaping your backyard

Since affordability is paramount in most of these decisions, we would suggest you start by making your budget.

How much of your savings do you want to put into the project? Or, if you’re borrowing to fund your landscaping cost, what size monthly payment can you comfortably afford? (Read on for borrowing options.)

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As a safety measure, decide on your budget and deduct 10%-20% as a contingency. Even if the work reveals no expensive and unexpected problems, you’ll likely be tempted to spend more on optional extras.

Once that’s done, draw up your wish list and ask for quotes from reputable landscaping contractors. You’ll need to give them some idea of the size of your yard and the scope of the project you have in mind. Pick the brains of the people who come to do site visits.

Choose one contractor based on affordability and who you feel will be the best and easiest to work with.

Then set up an initial consultation with the contractor’s landscape designer. They should talk you through some design options but also guide you about the costs of each element of the project. That discussion should include telling you about choices you can make about materials and exploring any complexities that your site might involve.

Be prepared to compromise, scale down, or eliminate some of your dream list. You want the best landscaping you can afford, not the best money can buy.

Tips for lowering landscaping costs

Just like finding your lowest mortgage rate, getting quotes from multiple landscaping contractors is a great start to achieving value for money. Try using lower quotes as leverage to negotiate with the contractor that impresses you the most.

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Doing some of the work yourself can be another way to save. But many of us lack the time, ability or inclination to get our hands dirty for long enough to make a big difference.

The main way to save money is to be prepared to compromise. For example, you may want natural stone paving on a terrace, but may have to consider less costly manufactured paving blocks or timber decking.

How to pay for landscaping

Paying cash out of savings is pretty much always the preferred way to fund purchases and projects. It’s often a good idea to pay with a credit card, which provides the best statutory consumer protections if anything goes wrong — including the contractor going bust. But then pay off your balance when your next bill comes due.

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Of course, fairly few of us have that sort of spare money lying around. And then deciding on the best form of borrowing becomes important.

The main choices are:

  • Personal loan — These can be surprisingly affordable if you have a truly stellar credit score. And you don’t put your home on the line. But, for most of us, they’re more expensive than home equity options
  • Home equity loan (HEL) — Using your home equity as collateral, you borrow a lump sum and pay it back in equal installments over a period you choose when you borrow
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC) — This is a hybrid credit card and HEL. You get a credit limit and pay interest only on your balance. But you get a low interest rate and lots of flexibility. These are complicated, but the link provides a guide to understanding what’s involved
  • Credit cards — These are great ways to pay but lousy ways to borrow. Their main drawback is that they typically come with sky-high rates that make them expensive if you want a large sum over an extended period

For most homeowners, a home equity loan or HELOC is likely to be the least costly borrowing choice.

Landscaping cost: The bottom line

A beautiful yard can transform your life, making you healthier and happier. It can provide tranquility and a great place to exercise while providing a space to entertain your family, friends and neighbors.

But landscaping costs can be high. And you must decide your budget based on what you can comfortably afford. Be prepared to compromise your wish list to keep your budget where it needs to be. You’ll also require a reputable landscaping contractor you can trust. So pick yours carefully.

Being smart about how you borrow can increase your budget because you can borrow more if you’re paying a lower interest rate. For most, a home equity loan or HELOC could prove the smartest choice.

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How do you determine a landscaping budget?

This is all about affordability. Set an amount based on your savings and your monthly borrowing costs.

Is landscaping a good return on investment?

It often takes a while for the value of a home to rise by as much as the cost of a landscaping project. After some time, you’re likely to recover the money you spend through a higher sales price.

However, experts recommend that you don’t spend more than 10%-20% of your home’s value on landscaping.

Can you use a HELOC for landscaping?

You certainly can. Home equity loans and HELOCs are any-purpose loans, meaning you can spend the money on anything you like.

Often, these HELs and HELOCs will be your best borrowing options.

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.
Paul Centopani
Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.