How Much Does A Landscape Cost?

by Ben Bowen

What does landscaping cost?

Impossible to say, right? There are so many variables and each landscape project is unique. Ross NW Watergardens has done landscape renovations that were just a couple thousand dollars and residential landscapes that were almost $200,000. I can pretty much guarantee that your project falls somewhere between those two extremes...

But I can do better than that. In this post I will try to give an overview of a typical Portland landscape renovation with some ballpark prices. In future posts I will do the same for specific landscape features, like paver patios, fire pits, and water features.

A "typical" Portland landscape project:

For this discussion a "typical" landscape is on a residence, perhaps one that has recently been remodeled. The house is not brand new and the landscape is not a blank slate. There is some lawn and a small number of mature plants. Let's assume a typical lot size as well- about 5000 square feet. And you do not live on a slope or with really poor access for trucks and equipment (so nowhere near the Sylvan Hills or Forest Heights or on Lake Oswego).

This sort of project starts with a free landscape consultation. We discuss your landscape and decide if you need a design or simply a concept and simple sketch. If you need a landscape design it will cost $500-$2500 with $1000 being the most common charge. However, most of our landscape projects proceed with a detailed description and simple sketch- which does not cost you anything.

Let's assume that you are doing just the front yard (backyard landscaping is phase 2). The lawn will be smaller, but new grass is needed. A few of shrubs will be pruned and/or transplanted. 10-15 new plants (5 gallon shrubs and 1 gallon perennials and grasses) and a couple trees will be installed. A few boulders are set too. The beds get finished with bark dust and everything is left clean. What does this cost? This would usually be between $2500 and $4000.

If you need an irrigation system, drainage, substantial grading, retaining, or low voltage landscape lighting then the price would obviously be higher.

Now let's consider the backyard. The back will be landscaped in a style similar to the front. Usually the backyard is larger than the front, and access is a little more difficult. So, a back yard landscaped similar to the description above would be $3500-$6000.

Total this all together and you see that a solid, but fairly basic, landscape renovation starts at around $6000.

What if you need (or want) more?

Let's add an irrigation system, 10 low voltage lights, and either some drainage work or light grading. This would usually add between $4000 and $6000 to your project.

I realize that these numbers are very broad, and are only so useful. But maybe they can help you decide if you are ready to contact a landscaper about your project.

Stay tuned for posts on specific landscaping features! Any questions? Leave them below in the comments.