Setting a Landscaping Budget

Dear Expert: What should I figure as a reasonable budget for my landscaping project?

A: There are several factors that will influence what is considered a reasonable budget. For landscape remodeling projects, there is a wide range of what is an acceptable budget. This is very dependant on what is being done. Keep in mind that landscaping does have a direct effect on home value. Creating curb appeal and having outdoor entertainment spaces is desirable to homeowners, whether you are improving your outdoor spaces or trying to sell your home. If you have a smaller budget, simply changing the plantings and adding a new patio or walkway in pavers or natural stone can make a huge difference in the look of a home. With a larger budget and with people spending more time at home, outdoor kitchens and pools have become very popular. This can range from something that is prefabricated to something that is completely customized. Either way, it can make home entertaining easy and impressive.

If you have a new construction house, landscaping is a necessary and important part of the project. Often, people don’t consider landscaping until the end of their project, but the landscaping is what is seen first. It can be very beneficial and a cost savings to hire a landscape designer early in the process. It is never too early to consider the exterior of the house. A reasonable budget for a new construction home would be anywhere from 10 – 20% of the house construction budget, depending on site conditions. If there are a lot of elevation changes, retaining walls will be necessary, which can increase the budget. Materials used can also make a big difference if you are opting for pavers or natural stone.

A very important consideration in budget is also the amount of hard surfaces allowed on your site. If there are restrictions, you may need to consider alternate methods of covering, such as porous pavers or asphalt, which can be more costly than traditional methods.

Finally, there are some items that may seem negligible, but will ultimately make your investment longer-lasting. One of those would be an irrigation system and lighting. Irrigation is important when first establishing your landscaping and can keep things looking better and healthy. Lighting is great, because it can be used to highlight the landscaping you have had done. It also can increase security by lighting dark areas and being put on timers, which run while you are away. No matter the size of the project, it can be installed over time. This can allow you to have a design that is right for you and the space, while fitting into your budget.

—Stacy Isaacson Smith, Landscape Designer