How much to budget for landscaping

Folks that have recently landscaped their yards, what do we need to budget for the work? Is this something that can be done for 10k or do  landscapers end up costing something like 20k+ around here?

As a follow-up, has anyone here gotten an outdoor kitchen built and what is the price range we should expect for that?


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We had a budget of $13000 and realized it was tiny and most reputable designers wouldn’t even talk to us. It was barely enough to cover labor and material, so we ended up going with the cheapest bid and without a designer which was a big mistake. 2 years later, we came up with additional $15k to hire a design and build outfit to fix the mistakes of the original work and improve the yard. He was more affordable and available  but dropped us after the majority of work was done. He was polite but seemed disappointed to find out our $15k budget. He told us there were few things that our budget will not allow us to do, so we should wait and complete when we have additional funds (hardscape, lighting and one of the two fences we needed) as well as some of the harder privacy landscaping and tree removal.  We are now in phase 3 of improvement and refinement and will likely need another $15-20k. 

I think the size of the yard and the scope of work determine the budget. We were leveling the yard, building a swing set, replace a fence, planting trees, plants, and building a small retaining wall as well as sprinkler for grass and drip irrigation system and a small trellis for vines. 

Thanks for the info. Yea, after posting this we ended up calling a few places and it seems like the majority of the popular places have a 20k minimum for jobs now too. Crazy how much landscaping costs!

Similar to prices here.  Our front yard came in around $14k.  Our backyard quote comes in around $50k — we need to redo all of the drainage and remove lots of concrete.

Landscape architect for drawing up plans and working with us was around $5-8k.

Depends on the size of the job.  For a small yard my MIL was quoted $30k to remove a lawn and plant California native plants.  For our house, larger yard, we were quoted $60k.

We just finished a landscape project. It cost way more than what we had anticipated and we just found out the irrigation wasn’t put in correctly. So we will need to redo it when we have the funds. Anyway, $20k will be enough to do planting and irrigation. Any hardscape, you’re probably looking at another $30k. 

I really appreciate the question and answers, as we are in the same thought and looking processes.  For example, we want to turn our sloped front yard into a terraced yard, level the uneven backyard to make some playground, etc.  Looking at so many nice home gardens around us, wouldn't it be sufficient to ask a contractor to simply implement such ideas or copy the designs here and there?  I am particularly interested in learning what the big mistake was (in the first posted reply) without a designer.   A good contractor can handle material selection, lighting, and irrigation; whereas plant selection is rather personal, and nursery people could already provide advice.   So, what is the value added by a designer ?

Thanks much in advance for sharing the experiences!

We just spent $25k

$15k labor

$7k plants

$3k design

We just removed an old patio and put in a newer (larger) patio area, added turf, updated fence, added irrigation - total $24K

My yards were already terraced but without plants. I spent $2.2 K on backyard irrigation (about 1500 sq feet of area where I planned to plant) I was also quoted about 2-3K for planting in plants in the front and back. Because I wanted to do the planting myself, I ended up planting in my own plan for a bit less, and I learned about surface irrigation and added onto the irrigation myself. I also replaced an old deck with a nice one for 15K, and a fence (with a neighbor) that cost about 13K. Hope some of that info helps. Each item was a different contractor.