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Old 05-05-2011, 01:28 PM
238 posts, read 608,444 times
Reputation: 135


hi all. i live in southeastern PA. does anyone know what general costs are to get a professional landscape job? i know i will be asked what my budget is; no clue how much to spend or what's realistic. thanks
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:43 PM
Status: "yankee brusque w/grits" (set 19 days ago)
Location: The Triad
33,810 posts, read 80,712,499 times
Reputation: 42909
Like building a house there will be some costs that are the same number regardless of how large or complicated the rest of the job may be and others will be completely about how fancy you get with the size and number of the plantings you may use. And of course any exotics too.

Short of going completely over the top with exotic plant stock or overdoing the hardscape stuff, but just doing thorough soil improvements and bed prep, some irrigation and lighting, some wall construction and a nice mix of basic nursery stock, and of course qualified design help... even a small yard with this sort of soup to nuts stuffed onto it could easily be $10,000.

The same expense could do a larger lot as it wouldn't need much more (if any) of the work and expense than you'll have available to do the small place. So, for the first 1/4 acre... allow @ $10-15,000

The more room you have, the more room you have for more stock...
the more stock you can fit the more stock you'll buy and the more that all costs.

You shouldn't need to do a whole lot more in bed work for those plantings but there surely will be some and maybe even some root grinding and extra irrigation runs too. Also, the more beds and plantings you have the more important having a healthy lawn becomes hard to ignore. That lawn becomes a whole other set of costs and work. Allow for it.

So, for another 1/2 acre, say 3/4 acre overall... allow another $5-10,000

OP: thanks for the chance to sound this out for myself.
I'm still trying to er, rationalize some expenses I'm facing here.
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Old 05-05-2011, 03:08 PM
13,957 posts, read 25,358,755 times
Reputation: 39696
We paid in the $50,000 range for an acre, but that involved taking down a lot of trees and regrading. If I had to do it over again, I would have the landscaper prepare the planting beds for me, and buy my own plants. We would have saved a bundle doing that.
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Old 05-06-2011, 05:30 AM
3,763 posts, read 12,306,184 times
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OP - saying "a landscape job" is like saying "having some work done"...

That could mean anything from a complete tear down / rebuild of an existing house - to putting in a closet organizer and painting a room.

Your costs will (obviously) vary depending on how much work you want done (cost of materials, amount of labor, time, etc..).

That said - a lot of the real estate info will suggest that you have anywhere from 10-15% of the value of your home in your landscaping. So - based on that - a $200K house could conceivable support 20K or landscaping without being considered "going overboard".

Now - of course if you can do some of the work your self - you'll save money. Or, if all you're doing is paying someone to clean up the existing beds and plant a few new things - that won't cost terribly much.

A lot of the landscape nurseries in my area will work with you for free to come up with a plan - so your design could be free. Those same companies usually charge 1/2 the cost of an item to plant it. So a tree that costs $350 to buy will cost an additional $175 to plant.

Of course delivery charges figure in as well -- some places have a one fee trip charge, some places add a % to each item.

I buy at a place with a one time trip charge ($50) - whether its for one item, or 20..

So if I just bought that one tree and had it delivered and planted - it would cost me $575.

The other work (the manual labor type stuff - clearing rocks, mulching, seeding) is pretty low-skill, and so the landscaper is probably paying their crew an hourly rate. The high skill stuff (running a bobcat, grading the site, installing irrigation) - usually those persons earn more per hour, and also you're price is offsetting the machine usage (wear and tear on their equipment, or their cost to rent equipment) and paying for materials.

What I am TRYING to say (sorry about the rambling) is - you need to set your budget first. I.E. I have 10K and that's IT! (or 5K or 2.5K, or 1K) You should be able to then talk to different landscapers, get some ideas and then determine who will get you the best design for the money you have available.

Otherwise - you could easily spend from a couple of hundred dollars (to top dress your existing beds/plants with new mulch) to unlimited amount of money...

And - just for comparison - we're in the midwest and had an irrigation system installed last year (3/4 acre) - it cost us about 6K. Topsoil is $30/yard. Mulch is $30/yard. Gravel is $25/yard (depending on the type of gravel). Patio installation labor usually costs about 2x the cost of materials (here at least) - so if your brick/pavers cost $5K - your probably looking at a 15K job.

That said -- pick the number your comfortable with spending - and start talking to people. The good news is - you can have a design drawn and do it in stages very effectively. So you might not have to spend all the money at once.

Good luck!!
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:55 AM
25,621 posts, read 35,873,801 times
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Absolutely no way to answer your question. No details for the job you want done.

Get referrals of three landscape companies. Small, medium and large. Have them give you bids on the job you want done. Then wait one week to mull it over. The bids should be good for one month.

Go look at examples of the contractors work. Recent and several years past. How are they looking and does the work hold up. Talk with previous customers.

CHECK licenses with the State agency that issues and regulates the issuance of contractor licenses.

Good luck.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:24 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,470 posts, read 16,103,739 times
Reputation: 6517
Originally Posted by briolat21 View Post

That said - a lot of the real estate info will suggest that you have anywhere from 10-15% of the value of your home in your landscaping. So - based on that - a $200k house could conceivable support 20k or landscaping without being considered "going overboard"...
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:06 AM
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
3,133 posts, read 9,204,237 times
Reputation: 1111
What bull said.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:01 AM
1 posts, read 13,016 times
Reputation: 10
I have a landscape business and I need to know what should I charge to upkeep and change the flowers from time to time for a clients restaurant around 2000 sq ft
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:02 AM
Location: southwestern PA
21,161 posts, read 45,561,081 times
Reputation: 43210
Figure out your costs, add some for a profit.
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Old 05-12-2014, 12:03 PM
2,429 posts, read 3,919,071 times
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First -- what do you want done? Until you know or provide that info -- even if only in generalities -- the question can't be answered about cost. And a little background would help.

-- New or first time owner with a postage stamp yard?
-- Are you starting from scratch -- or tweaking what's already there?
-- After the work is done, how much time do YOU want to spend keeping it up?
-- Do you want a GARDEN -- or just landscaping?
-- Flowers and a yard??.... or shrubs and trees?
-- Hardscaping, too?
-- Are you going to do all the planning/designing/layout....and you just want the labor done?

I see now that you say "lawn, irrigation, landscaping, seeding," but even so....
-- how big is your area?
-- do you anticipate that you might, in the future, want garden beds?
-- do you have sun or shade?
-- what kind of "irrigation"...is grading also involved?

I ask because thinking ahead is very important when planning landscaping....
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