Cost of landscaping
Landscaping can significantly raise your home’s curb appeal and make its outdoor spaces more enjoyable for you and your family. Keep reading to learn about the cost of landscaping and how Alpine Credits can help you pay for major projects.
What is landscaping?
Landscaping is the process of beautifying your home’s outdoor spaces through carefully-planned elements such as gardens and temporary structures. Landscaping’s benefits go beyond merely making your home look better. Done right, landscaping can also save you money.
For example, you can plant trees in a way that shades your home’s interior during the warm summer months, reducing the amount of money you spend on cooling. Well-placed trees and shrubs can also reduce the amount of snow clearing you need to do in winter.
These benefits make landscaping a tremendous investment. On that note, let’s look at the costs associated with various types of landscaping.
How much does landscaping cost?
Generally, you’ll spend roughly $12 per square foot overhauling your landscaping. This works out to between $3,000 and $16,000 when all is said and done.
Why such a wide range? Well, as you can probably imagine, the exact cost of landscaping varies depending on the type of work you’re doing. Let’s look at the most common options.
If you’re installing landscaping from scratch, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $16,000 depending on the size of your property. This works out to roughly $5 to $12 per square foot or $200 per hour.
Here’s a breakdown of what you get for that much money.
|Permits||$600-$2,500 (plus taxes and other fees)|
|Water fountain installation||$2,000|
|Tree removal||$200-$600 per tree|
|Grading||$125 per cubic yard|
|Professional design||$100 per hour|
|Sod installation||$0.30-$0.75 per square foot|
|Irrigation system installation||$2,500|
Next, let’s take a closer look at each items, below.
Depending on the complexity of your landscaping project, you may need a municipal permit. In Toronto, for example, homeowners are encouraged to get in touch with a bylaw officer to determine whether a permit is necessary.
If the work is minor, the bylaw officer may simply issue a directive authorizing you to begin work without filing a formal application. For major projects – including those that may spill over onto public property (i.e. the sidewalk in front of your house) – you’ll likely need to submit an application.
The cost of applying for a landscaping permit in Toronto can range from $580 for simpler items like awnings and canopies all the way up to $2,500 or more for things like retaining walls. The government will also charge you for any associated legal fees.
If you’re working with a professional landscaping company, they may handle the application process for you at an extra cost.
While permits can be expensive, they’re a very important part of the landscaping process. If you have landscaping installed and your municipality later determines you didn’t get the right authorization, you may end up spending a lot more rectifying the situation.
Ponds are a very popular landscaping feature for those who don’t have space or money for a pool. While a pond is a cheaper option for incorporating a body of water into your backyard, it’s still among the highest landscaping costs at an average of $2,200 to $3,200.
Water fountain installation
Water fountains are another alternative to incorporating water into your landscaping. A basic water fountain set up typically costs a minimum of $2,000. At the higher end, expect to pay roughly $6,000.
A landscaping project offers the perfect opportunity to shuffle trees around on your property and place them in a more intentional way than the initial builder did.
For the typical tree on a residential property (no taller than 30 feet), you can expect to pay between $200 and $600 per tree. If you have towering 80-foot trees on your property that need to be moved, this will cost at least $1,500. Crews will need to remove the tree very carefully to avoid damaging nearby sewage lines.
Grading involves making substantial changes to your landscape by removing dirt to produce slopes and other features. This will typically cost you roughly $125 per cubic yard of dirt that will need to be removed.
Keep in mind that motor graders – the machinery used to move dirt – can also be quite large. If crews need to remove fencing or encroach on public property in order to maneuver the machinery, this will likely increase your landscaping costs considerably.
Given that the average cost of landscaping is quite high, many people choose to involve a professional designer who can ensure the job gets done right the first time. These professionals will typically charge within the ballpark of $100 per hour. Top-of-the-line landscaping designers may charge as much as $15,000 to oversee your entire project from start to finish.
If your landscaping project is particularly substantial (i.e. it involves dramatically altering your topography, building new semi-permanent structures, or installing complex irrigation systems), you may need to involve a landscape architect. Generally, these professionals are twice as expensive as landscape designers, costing $200 per hour.
Turf is another popular landscaping addition, especially for environmentally-conscious homeowners. You see, traditional lawns require quite a bit of water, which has drawn the ire of many environmental groups.
Artificial turf, on the other hand, looks great without the need for such a high environmental cost. You can expect to pay between $3,000 and $10,000 depending on your yard’s size and the quality of turf you purchase.
Sod is a popular option for those unwilling to wait for grass seeds to sprout. Depending on the type of sod you choose, expect to pay between 30 cents and 75 cents per square foot. Types of sod include:
- Bermuda sod, which is perhaps the most popular and costs between 30 cents and 75 cents per square foot.
- Fescue sod, which is incredibly tolerant of all seasons (including Canada’s notorious winters) and costs between 30 cents and 60 cents per square foot.
- Zoysia sod, which forms more of a carpet of grass than a traditional lawn with tall blades, and costs between 40 cents and 60 cents per square foot.
- St. Augustine sod, which is more popular in humid, southern climates like Florida.
Seeds are a more traditional approach to crafting the perfect lawn. The seeds themselves are also fairly cheap relative to sod, costing roughly 5 cents per square foot. Expect to pay roughly $500 to have a professional plant the seeds on your lawn.
You’ll also need to water the lawn regularly until the seeds start to germinate. In other words, count on slightly higher maintenance costs early on if you’re going with seeded grass.
Mulch can help ensure the ideal environment for your garden’s growth. Professionals typically charge around $500 to purchase and install the mulch for you. If you’re working with a professional landscaper already, this expense may make sense. If you’re handling much of the project yourself, you can buy the mulch and install it yourself at a cost of roughly $5 per cubic foot.
Curbing involves placing concrete or some other hard material throughout your landscaping. This allows you to very clearly draw lines between different areas of your outdoor space.
Curbing typically costs between $800 and $1,500 depending on the materials you’re using and whether the project involves building any retaining walls.
Irrigation system installation
An irrigation system simplifies the lawn watering process and is much more efficient than you’d be with a hose. These systems typically cost roughly $2,500 to install from scratch. Depending on the complexity of your landscaping, the cost may rise as high as $5,000.
Additional landscaping costs
The costs we’ve discussed so far are specific to a basic landscaping project. Next, let’s look at some of the commonly-incurred costs for high-end landscaping projects.
|Retaining wall||$20 per square foot|
|Deck||$15 per square foot|
Retaining walls go one step beyond curbing and provide a more substantial division between various parts of your yard. The carefully-cut stones typically cost $20 per square foot to purchase and install.
A deck will cost you roughly $15 per square foot to install and paint. If you use a more exotic type of wood, this cost can climb to $35 and beyond per square foot.
A gazebo is a classic addition to any suburban Canadian backyard. You’ll generally spend at least $1,000 on a gazebo. Installation is simple enough that you should be able to handle it yourself, as long as you have someone helping you.
It’s not uncommon for those with large estate properties to take security very seriously, installing electric fencing around the perimeter. This will cost you roughly $1,000 for an average-sized backyard.
Keep in mind that there are safety concerns with electric fencing. While the current isn’t strong enough to seriously harm someone, experts still recommend against electric fencing if you have small children or pets.
Average cost of landscaping maintenance
Of course, average landscaping costs do not end once the installation is complete. Landscaping requires maintenance, the costs of which we’ll look at now.
|Professional lawn care||$25-$50 per visit||As often as weekly; as infrequently as monthly.|
|Tree and hedge trimming||$250-$500 per tree||Multiple times per year as needed|
|Mulching||$200-$500 per application||However often your mulching needs to be topped up (keep in mind, you can buy the mulch and take care of this yourself for very little money)|
|Watering your lawn||$50-$160 per month||Roughly once per week during the summer months|
As we did with the installation costs, let’s analyze each item more closely on their own.
Professional lawn care
Many people prefer leaving landscaping maintenance to the professionals, which – in the case of lawns – costs between $25 and $50 per visit, on average. During these visits, professionals will trim the grass as needed and tend to any issues they identify.
Tree and hedge trimming
When it comes to the average cost of landscaping maintenance, tree and hedge trimming can push the figures higher. This service typically costs $250 to $500 per tree depending on its size and the amount of trimming required. Typically, you don’t need to have your trees or hedges trimmed very often; a few times per year will suffice.
In between these sporadic appointments, you should be able to maintain the trees and hedges on your own.
Mulching, as mentioned in the installation section, is something you can do yourself for relatively little money. However, if you’ve determined that purchasing a landscaping maintenance package is worth your time, the cost of mulching at $200 to $500 per application may be worth it to you.
How to keep the cost of landscaping reasonable
By now, you can probably tell that landscaping isn’t cheap. Here are some tips for keeping the costs manageable.
Time your project wisely
Schedule your landscaping well before the summer months. By doing so, you’ll avoid the peak demand season during which supplies and labor can be scarce. Spring is the ideal time to begin a landscaping project since the ground will be easier to work with and any new plants will benefit from plenty of rain.
Look for rebates
You should always keep an eye out for rebates and other incentives on certain types of landscaping materials. The provincial and federal governments occasionally offer these programs for landscaping projects that meet certain standards of environmental friendliness.
Do as much of the work yourself as possible
Landscaping projects offer a great opportunity to get outside and get creative. If you have a green thumb, consider handling things like planting and even moving small trees by yourself. You’ll save yourself a ton of money in the process.
Shop around for a competitive contractor
The cost of landscaping can also vary heavily depending on which contractor you select. Look for three to five contractors that meet the following criteria:
- A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau
- Solid reviews on various websites, including Google My Business
- Licensed and fully insured
Then, compare rates between the contractors on your shortlist and make a decision based on who you believe can do the best job at the best price.
Contact Alpine Credits for landscaping financing
Most Canadians don’t have $10,000+ lying around to cover the initial cost of landscaping. More commonly, this money is tied up in assets such as one’s home.
At Alpine Credits, we specialize in helping Canadian homeowners tap into their home equity for just about any expense they’d like to cover, including landscaping. Whether you’d like to borrow $10,000 for a standard residential landscaping project or go all-out creating a $100,000 wonderland on your estate, we can help.
The concept of a home equity loan is very simple. We take the value of your home and subtract any amounts owing on your mortgage to arrive at a figure representing your home equity, which is the amount of money you can borrow from us.
Home equity loans are much easier to qualify for, even if you have bad credit or no income. Click here to learn more about how this type of loan works and get started with your application today.
Frequently asked questions
A standard 5 x 12-foot flower bed will cost you roughly $250.
Experts generally advise spending no more than 10% of your home’s value on landscaping. For example, if you have a $500,000 home, aim to spend no more than $50,000.
This is a substantial amount of money for a landscaping project, since the upper limit for an average-sized property hovers around $15,000.