If you’re looking to freshen up your outdoor space, there’s no better place to start than with some new landscaping. More affordable than a total backyard reno, many homeowners look to landscaping as a way to bring new life to old or tired outdoor living spaces. But how much does landscaping cost? This is where things get tricky.
How much does landscaping cost? It depends.
If you’ve Google’d the question “how much does landscaping cost?”, you’re probably looking for a straight answer. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is truly “it depends”. As we discussed in our article about the cost of installing a swimming pool in your backyard, the internet is a difficult place to get hard and fast estimates on the cost of outdoor projects. Why? Well, there are several reasons.
First of all, if you are doing a general Google search, chances are you are getting estimates and opinions from people all over the country. Unsurprisingly, the price estimate for landscaping a backyard in Austin, TX, is going to be different than the cost of landscaping a yard on the East Coast, or in California, and so on. Unfortunately, narrowing your search to local results won’t help entirely either. This is because landscaping costs are so individual, and truly based on a project to project basis.
Some of the most variable aspects that affect the final cost of your landscaping project include:
Who You Hire
Even on a local level, who you decide to work with will greatly affect the final price of your project. Some landscaping companies may only offer very basic services, and therefore their service comes with a lower price tag. It is likely that you can find a very affordable service to help you with your yard, however results of working on a budget may not always be what you hoped for.
On the other end of the spectrum, some landscaping companies charge an arm and leg, but can help with a seemingly endless range of outdoor projects. Companies like this will often offer maintenance as part of the package as well, meaning your initial investment may not be your final investment to keep the space looking great.
Where You Live
As we mentioned, no two price tags will be the same in any two areas. A new planting plan and a water feature may be quoted to you for one number in your first home. If you move across the country, you may enter another landscaping project expecting similar costs. This is unlikely to be the case. Different regions have different topography, different climates, and support different planting plans at different price points. Knowing this piece of information can help you avoid sticker shock if you move to a more expensive area.
What Materials You Are Using
Finally, the cost of any project is largely determined by the materials used to build it. For example, a vinyl pergola is going to be far cheaper to build than a custom, high quality wood construction. The same idea can be applied to landscaping.
There are affordable plants, and there are investment plants. There are simple landscaping layouts ,and there are layouts that are custom made with every aspect of your backyard in mind. Investing in larger plantings? Expect to pay more. Want extra hardscaping, edging, or water features installed? You can up your final costs again.
At the end of the day, the hard truth is that you will never find your personal cost estimate for a landscaping project by Googling. Instead, you’re probably going to have to do some legwork. The best place to start is with knowing your own budget.
How To Get The Best Deal On Landscaping
If you’re undertaking a new landscaping project, there are several steps you can follow to make sure you get the best deal possible. It doesn’t make sense to spend more money than you need to in order to get a final result you love. Instead, take the following tips into consideration.
- Figure Out What Your Budget Is
Instead of searching “cost of landscaping near me”, start offline. Be honest with yourself, and sit down and figure out exactly how much you are actually willing to spend on your outdoor project. If you have a solid idea of what you want to pay, you can then set your own cost limits.
- Talk To Companies Inside Your Budget
Knowing your budget means you can narrow down the vast number of options in your area to only the companies that fit your budget. This way you can avoid the dance of talking to multiple companies about how much they charge for each specific feature, only to find out that you are way out of your price range.
- Pick The Most Qualified Within Your Price Range
Once you have a selection of companies advertising services within your price range, you can begin to narrow things down even further. Does one company specialize in the type of yard work you need done? Are you more drawn to one company’s style over another? This method allows you to pick what you truly prefer, all while staying within your predetermined budget.
How To Find Local Landscape Pricing
All this being said, how do you find reputable landscaping companies in your area that are also in your budget? You can go online, but we still argue that one of the best ways is also the oldest.
Word of Mouth
The best recommendation you can get is unlikely to come from the internet, but rather directly from someone you know. Words of mouth recommendations are the gold standard because they stand up against the trust test. It’s hard to take the word of a stranger online. It’s less difficult to trust your neighbor’s glowing review. After all, you can see firsthand the work they are happy with.
If you don’t have anyone on your block who you are friendly with, or who is willing to tell you where they got their work done, the next best option is to find your local community online. Neighborhood apps and forums such as the popular NextDoor have a similar appeal to talking to someone you know. These are real people in your area who you can trust are not being paid to recommend a particular service. If you’re struggling to find a starting place, try asking in these spaces to get some honest recommendation from people in your area.
Be Wary of Online Reviews
When you do a general Google search for “landscaping companies near me”, you are likely to get tiered results. Google will certainly show you companies in your area. They will even tend to put higher rated companies towards the top of the list. But we think it’s important to take these reviews with a grain of salt.
Businesses know how often people turn to online searching to find services in their area. THey know that people are likely to use online reviews to inform their decisions. And they are also aware that the more positive reviews they have, the higher they will rank in the search engine. And this reality can result in dishonesty on behalf of the business.
Not all companies with seemingly glowing reviews have earned them. Furthermore, it only takes a few unjust, or bitter customers to tank a smaller business’s online rating, whether it is deserved or not. So while the internet can be a fantastic resource, it’s still best to back up any claims with a quick look through their finished work and a face to face meeting before you dive into the design process.
Best Places to Find a Landscaping Company Online
Armed with all of this information, let’s say you still want to start your search online. Here are some of the best places to dig in:
This review platform has enjoyed a great deal of popularity in many areas of the country. However, it is not popular in all regions. While most reviews on Yelp can be trusted as honest, it is not unheard of for businesses to pay individuals for positive feedback. Take what you learn with a grain of salt.
Houzz.com is one of the best places to browse work and project specific examples of what is being done in your area. This is a great tool to find a company who specializes in the kind of projects you are interested in.
As mentioned, Nextdoor is a neighborhood forum where people in your immediate area can post about a wide range of topics. Think of it as the local coffee shop bulletin board brought online. Here you can ask for honest review, feedback, and recommendations for landscaping companies in your area.
- Google Reviews
As discussed, Google reviews can be a good place to start your search. Be sure to do your own research into a listed company before booking a project based on a few five star reviews.
Finally, if you are looking to see more of what landscaping companies in your area are doing, head to Instagram. Many of the leading companies in landscaping and outdoor living design are showcasing their work and projects on the platform. You can stay up to date with their work, and find projects that inspire your own potential outdoor renovation.