You can’t escape it: Landscaping costs time and money.
Even the most minimal landscape design requires upfront costs to install and additional costs to maintain or enhance, not to mention the costs of materials and plants, which may require updating and replanting and reseeding seasonally or annually.
Here’s how to determine your landscaping costs:
- Commission or create a landscape design plan for your property. There are D.I.Y. design tools online, which are free or less than $100 to purchase and use. Or, you can consult with an APLD or ASLA certified landscape designer to produce drawings for you. For a residence, the average costs for the drawing will run you a few hundred dollars, but it’s a great value considering that many homeowners don’t have a topographic map of their property denoting property lines, slopes, drainage, etc. It will also denote existing or proposed surfaces and structures such as driveways, mailboxes, porches, decks, patios, pathways, fencing, walls, etc.
- After you have your drawing, decide whether or not you’d like to receive an estimate from an outside landscaping service or handle the installation yourself. Most landscaping companies will provide you an estimate for installation (including any construction, tree or earth removal, plus the cost of materials, labor and plants) at no cost to you if you already have a drawing. If you arrive empty handed, the company may charge you a fee (cost varies) to provide a rough or detailed landscape design plan. Keep in mind that your costs can vary greatly based upon the type of plants you choose and how much demolition or reshaping of your existing landscaping you’re asking from the service. If you plan to install the landscaping yourself, do some online research to determine a list of which materials and plants you’ll need and whether or not you need to purchase or rent any equipment to perform the installation. You can print out a list and take it to your local garden center and tally costs that way.
- Determine your landscaping maintenance costs. Even if you plan to handle all the responsibilities within your own household without using an outside lawn maintenance service, there are costs involved, such as lawn care equipment, seed, fertilizer, mulches, and annual flowers. If you are able to afford an outside maintenance service, get an estimate from the company based upon a drawing of your landscape design or through a home visit. Be sure to point out all plants, beds, trees, shrubs, lawns, vines and potted plants for which you expect them to care. Depending on the size of your property and the complexity of the job, costs could range from $75/month up to $100 or more per week for an average ½ acre lot. Once you have an estimate, you can make an informed decision about your landscaping maintenance.