How to Estimate the Cost of Your Landscape Design

How much will your landscape design cost? From small jobs to elaborate designs, calculating the cost is quite complex. With the wrong calculations, you could be left paying more than expected and racking up unwanted debt. You can also set yourself up for despair if you miscalculate the prices of goods and services and plan too quickly.

If your budget is low, you can opt for free design plans; however, this could set you up for disaster. With so many factors and things to worry about, hiring a professional may be a wise choice. Depending on the size of your design, you could potentially take care of it yourself, but save the bigger jobs for the experts who know how to get the job done correctly.

Even if you go with a professional, you should be able to estimate the cost so you can prepare in advance. Many homeowners do not have large budgets and need to save over time. By estimating the approximate cost, you can put away a little money each month and save up for your project. Tip: Always overestimate! If you ever tackled a home project you know that 99% of the time it goes over budget.

Scope of project

As stated before, the overall size of your property and the scope of the project will be some of the largest factors in determining the total cost of your project. Landscape design is priced by sq. ft. Assess the size of the project, whether your entire yard or a small garden plot and write out an itemized list of everything you will need.


Figure out which features you would like installed in your landscape. Consider every detail from large additions to small features such as fountains and decorative rocks. This is where the money adds up. If you are not familiar with the prices of these items, you can seriously miscalculate.

If you do not know which features you want, start by defining an overall style. Do you like elegant landscapes? Serene? Zen-like? Once you determine your style, research and find images online of landscapes you like. Write down the features present in your images and compile a list of must-haves, possible, and maybes. List the approximate prices of each to get an idea of your overall budget. Don’t forget to include installation costs, lighting, and any other associated costs like drainage and wiring.


Once you map out your features, consider the type of lighting. If you have a focal point, spotlight it for maximum effect. Ensure your landscape is safe with the proper amount of illumination on driveways, walkways, paths, and steps. Consider solar or low-voltage LED lights to save money on energy. Add up your fixtures and approximate the prices.

The Estimate

Your landscape professional will offer you a detailed plan of your design and instructions if you choose to do the work yourself. This cost of material and labor will be added to the estimate if you hire him/her to complete the job. If you can find a professional who designs and does the installation, you may save money on your project. Ask about packages as well since many designers offer discounts for bulk purchases. Good luck!