Backyard Landscaping CostGet an idea of how much it will cost to landscape your backyard
Most backyards include a patio area and perhaps a lawn. But there are many parts to a backyard that can make it more personal and enjoyable. From a warm fireplace or fire pit, to a pool for cooling off, backyards are all unique and include many different elements. You can see the options for backyards below and dive into their various price points, what affects their cost, and how to get one within your budget.
How Much Do They Cost?
Plant costs: If you are working with a lower budget, consider setting up your own sprinkler systems and planting trees and flower beds yourself. At higher price points you can have professional plant installation, but expect to pay extra for this service.
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With a $5,000 budget, you can certainly add one or possibly two new improvements to your backyard that will make a noticeable improvement. A new small patio or a prefab outdoor kitchen unit are sure to get you outside enjoying your backyard more often. Small budgets are also great for breaking up big projects into bite-sized chunks, so you might splurge for that grill knowing next year you can add a custom countertop around it. In this budget range, you can also purchase fine products that will enhance any existing backyard including fire features, comfortable outdoor furniture and other amenities.
What Can I Put in My Backyard for $5k?
$6-$10 per square foot
|Keep it small and simple, no unnecessary formwork. You might even consider a gravel patio with custom concrete borders defining the edges to save on costs.||Add one color or texture. Create a pattern with control joints.|
|Prefab Outdoor Kitchen||
|Choose a small grill and forgo the sink, side burner, etc. Locate the kitchen near your indoor one to conveniently move between the two.||Upgrade the materials for a stone veneer versus stucco. Splurge on amenities such as a warming drawer or refrigerator.|
|Portable Outdoor Fireplace||
|The most economical option is a wood burning, small, portable fire feature, such as a chiminea. Fireplace kits that piece together are sometimes DIY-friendly and can save on costs.||Get a built-in look by upgrading to a basic prefab fireplace clad in stucco.|
|Portable Outdoor Fire Pit||
|Choose a small, portable, basic wood burning fire pit available from most home improvement stores or catalogs.||Get a prefabricated model and splurge on the finish material, such as slate, for a custom look.|
|Pressure Treated Lumber Deck||
$16-$18 per square foot
|Choose a very durable sealer as maintenance costs are usually the biggest expense for this type of deck. Opt for simple, square shape with no railings and plain steps.||Add stain or paint for a more customized look. Consider higher quality materials such as cedar and redwood.|
|Open-Roof Wooden Pergola||
$3,000-$8,000 for 10'x10'
|Keep the size small. The more wood used, the higher the cost. Use less beams placed farther apart.||Beef up the beams by wrapping with additional attractive wood for a sturdier-looking structure. Cut ends of beams at a decorative angle. Grow plants to fill in for shade.|
|Chain Link Fence||
$6-$8 per linear foot
|Opt for coated 11 gauge chain link which is typically less expensive than industrial 9 gauge.||Upgrade with privacy fabric or PVC slats. Choose colored fence which will blend with the landscape better than the galvanized (silver).|
With a $10,000 budget, you can enjoy a variety of improvements to your backyard. In this range, it’s possible to spruce up your patio with concrete, or even enjoy a small pool. Definite improvements with hardscaping and plants can transform your yard without breaking the bank. Below is a list of backyard elements with ideas for how to save money or what to splurge on to make your backyard as nice as possible.
What Can I Put in My Backyard for $10k?
$10 - $15 per square foot
|Hardscaping is the largest part of your backyard landscaping budget. Keep the size small and simple. Avoid complex shapes that require extra formwork. Choose one color or stay gray.||Add multiple colors, borders or a pattern for a custom effect. Add formwork for a shape other than square.|
$1,500 - $5,000
|Keep it small but functional. Price is more about installation than it is material costs.||Get the sturdiest vinyl option and go larger on the pool deck. Choose nicer deck materials to accent the pool. Or consider upgrading to a fiberglass pool.|
|Simple Outdoor Kitchen||
$2,000 - $10,000
|Go for a rectangular shape and not an L-shape. Less framing equals more saving. Plan for only as much counter space as necessary. Choose the least expensive finishing materials.||Get a higher end finish since the kitchen is usually a focal point or hub for activity. Include a side burner or refrigerator accessory.|
|Prefabricated Outdoor Fireplace||
$1,500 - $9,000
|Order prefab fireplaces or kits from as nearby as possible to avoid high shipping and freight charges. Choose a portable set-in-place model versus built-in units that require additional costs for footings and foundations.||Choose a model with additional features such as a hearth, mantel or wood storage areas. Spend on finer exterior finish options.|
|Outdoor Fire Pit||
$1,200 - $5,000
|Choose a small prefabricated model and select lower end finishing materials. Or choose a high end portable model available at home improvement stores or catalogs. Select wood burning rather than gas or propane.||Opt for specialty materials, such as slate, for the veneer of a prefabricated model. Splurge for a small built-in, customized to your size and shape.|
|Cedar or Redwood Deck||
$18 - $22 per square foot
|Save by applying a high quality sealer as most costs are associated with maintenance. Stick with a basic design, avoid curves.||Choose a stain that will enhance the character of warm woods such as cedar and redwood. For longer life span, consider composite as an alternative material to splurge on.|
|Aluminum or Vinyl Pergola Kit||
$6,000 - $8,000 for 12'x12'
|Consider vinyl versus aluminum as vinyl has limited color selection and is often less expensive. Attach patio cover to house so less support beams are needed. Use no-frills, basic posts.||Upgrade to decorative columns. Add gutters, downspouts, or recessed lighting. Go with Alumawood which mimics the look and texture of natural wood. Get decorative end caps, corbels, and base trim.|
|4-6’ Tall Wood Fence||
$9 - $15 per linear foot
|Strive for standard 90 degree intersections and simple alignment to avoid customization which adds to the cost. Stick with the typical dog ear fence style installation; pressure-treated wood.||Upgrade to redwood or cedar. Customize by overlapping boards/pickets, adding decorative lattice, decorative post caps, etc.|
A $25,000 budget is fairly common for sprucing up an existing backyard. The rule of thumb is to spend 10% of your home’s value on your yard and the average home price in the U.S. is roughly $220k-$270k. Though you may not be able to include every feature you desire, this range does allow for many options at various price points. Although it’s best to choose the most durable and efficient materials or features at the best price, you also may decrease your spend on less significant items and increase what you spend on items that you will use every time you’re in your backyard. For instance, you might save and select a less expensive hardscape material so that you can include a small outdoor kitchen.
What Can I Put in My Backyard for $25k?
|Decorative Concrete or Paver Patio||
$15 - $20 per square foot
|Use colored or stamped concrete. Use higher end materials for borders or connections.||Choose pavers or flagstone in a unique pattern installed with open joints filled with sand, gravel, or groundcover plants.|
$12,000 - $25,000
|Choose a small size and forgo the accessories such as a heater, lights, water features, etc.||Splurge on a larger size and by customizing with a generous pool deck. Include accessories. Consider upgrading to a gunite pool unless you live in an area with dense clay soils in which fiberglass pools are ideal.|
|Basic Outdoor Kitchen||
$10,000 - $25,000
|Buy a smaller grill. Include only one or two accessories such as a warming drawer, side burner, etc.||Spend on higher end finishing materials, and custom countertop. Consider doing an L-shape for more space.|
|Outdoor Fireplace Kit||
$2,000 - $7,000 for a prefab fireplace
|Choose a basic kit with minimal sections to piece together.||Select higher end finishing materials to match your outdoor décor. Customize by spending on surrounding landscape and accessories. Or consider upgrading to an unfinished prefab model.|
|Budget Built-In Fire Pit||
$5,000 - $7,000
|Avoid costs for running gas lines and instead opt for a wood burning or propane fire pit.||Make the fire pit at least 3 feet wide to maximize area. Design round, rectangular or square shape. Combine materials with a custom concrete wall cap and stone siding.|
$20 - $28 per square foot
|You’ll be saving on maintenance costs immediately which makes this material an attractive option. Save on installation by limiting cut outs and directional changes with planks.||Enhance with built-ins and cut-outs for trees, etc. Consider multiple directional layouts of planks for added effect.|
|Solid-Roof Wooden Pergola or Shade Sails||
$10,000 - $25,000 for 12'x12'
$6,000 - $8,000 per sail
|Use inexpensive pressure-treated wood for posts and wrap with a more attractive solid redwood or cedar.
Limit to two shade sails. Use only with modern or contemporary architecture. For architecture with a lot of detail, consider a more economical wood pergola.
|Add column wraps because you can get the look of stucco, cast concrete, or stone for your columns without overspending.
Upgrade to bold colors and multiple sails.
$20 per linear foot
|Eliminate curves and radiuses. Avoid slopes where fence must rise or fall.||Add decorative caps, or choose a fence color. Include a vinyl automatic gate with motor and lighting.|
Backyard Landscaping Projects Between $20,000 and $25,000
A $50,000 budget provides a significant number of options for new and existing backyards. In this range, you can enjoy purchasing top quality materials and getting more custom designs. Every budget has its limitations, but here your best bet is to purchase quality over quantity. Get a well-designed plan from a professional and maximize your dollar with high end materials, and the amenities you desire within budget.
What Can I Put in My Backyard for $50k?
|Stone or Paver Patio||
$15 - $30 per square foot
|Install sandstone or pavers with open joints filled with gravel or planted with ground cover.||Install hardscape with mortared joints which is more durable. Upgrade to a more durable or aesthetic flagstone such as bluestone. Design with pattern/cuts.|
|Gunite Swimming Pool||
$20,000 - $55,000
|Keep size and shape small and minimum. Choose basic pool tile and interior finishes.||Add rocks and waterfalls, or built-in fire features. Upgrade to specialty plater, such as Pebbletech.|
|Large Outdoor Kitchen||
$25,000 - $50,000
|Choose simple finishing materials. Include less features such as side burners, etc. Decrease size of counter space. Design in square shapes versus curves.||Install split-level countertops for spacious cooking area and bar seating. Match finishing materials to other materials in the yard. Include cooking features such as a refrigerator, venting panels, sink, warming drawers, etc.|
|Custom Outdoor Fireplace||
$8,000 - $20,000
|Purchase an unfinished prefab model and hire an experienced landscape professional to clad the exterior.||Enhance the customization by designing features that complement your homes (such as a shape that mimics architectural features on the home, or finish materials that complement the surroundings.)|
|Custom Outdoor Fire Pit||
|Stick to standard sizes and dimensions. Locate fire pit close to gas/propane source.||Customize with a matching built-in seating area, integrated with seat/retaining walls. Accent with custom hardscaping to set off the fire pit as a focal point.|
|Ipe Tropical Hardwood Deck||
$23 - $30 per square foot
|Scale back and use only in prominent area with less expensive complementary surface materials (such as concrete or flagstone) surrounding it. Consider composite as an alternative material because ipe is similar in price but has all the maintenance costs of wood.||Capitalize on the rich color by using ipe for adjoining seat walls, planters and benches.|
|Large Solid-Roof Pergola Structure||
|Reduce the need for engineering which brings up the price. Attach to the house so less support beams are needed.||Upgrade to attractive, durable woods such as ipe, redwood or cedar. Incorporate wood benches, planters, and lighting into the design. Design custom masonry columns.|
|Wrought Iron Fence||
$20 - $30 per linear foot
|Choose a lighter weight iron. Alternate posts with finials or caps. Eliminate the need for electricity for lighting.||Consider elaborate finials, decorative caps, and lighted pillars.|
Backyard Landscaping Projects Between $45,000 and $70,000
With a $100,000+ budget, your choices are much broader for designing and installing the backyard of your dreams depending on the size of the area you plan to improve. The best rule of thumb is to invest in the highest quality options for the features you consider a necessity. Limit the features you include if it means purchasing a lower quality option. Start with a plan from a professional designer that can maximize the dollars you spend. With a large budget, your yard should be designed to complement your home and provide all the amenities you desire without compromising quality.
What Can I Put in My Backyard for $100k?
|High-End Stone or Paver Patio||
$30 per square foot
|Less complex patterns and multiple cuts.||Combine a variety of materials in intricate patterns and with custom details. Create varying levels within the patio to separate “rooms”.|
$20,000 - $55,000+
|Choose custom colored or stamped concrete for the deck. Limit the custom pool features such as a spa, baja shelf, etc. Finish interior of pool with basic plaster.||Design an infinity-edge pool. Include a water feature or rockwork. Select higher end waterline tile. Include a grotto, pool cover, lighting, swim-up bar, baja shelf, etc. Finish interior of pool with tile or glass tiles. Design a pattern/emblem/logo with interior finish materials.|
|Luxury Outdoor Kitchen||
|Choose fewer amenities. Use weather-resistant finishing materials, such as stone rather than wood.||Include a TV, multiple bar seating, sound system, heaters, and all kitchen amenities to bring indoor luxuries and comforts to the backyard.|
|Custom-Built Outdoor Fireplace||
|Limit custom workmanship. Save by choosing standard sizes and place fireplace in location convenient to gas/propane source.||Select high end materials and integrate the fireplace with other outdoor amenities. Combine fire and water or other custom features for a one-of-a-kind design. Install automatically-watered planters for a lush effect.|
|High-End Custom Outdoor Fire Pit||
|Keep size and shape within reason. Use standard materials for construction of fire pit and seating areas, such as stone or slate versus custom-cut boulders.||Combine water and fire elements in one. Create a room around fire pit with complementary built-in-seating. Design hardscaping to accent fire pit area. Consider including fire tables and fire bowls for added effect in the entire backyard space.|
|Ipe Tropical Hardwood Deck||
$23 - $30 per square foot
|Keep installation layouts simple as the density of the wood requires special tools for cutting and requires stainless steel fasteners. Consider other types of tropical hardwoods that may offer price savings because they are less well-known.||Consider creating custom designs by alternating the direction of the planks and creating patterns.|
|Custom Solid-Roof Pergola or Sunroom||
$30,000+ for pergola structure
|Forgo roof and do an open beam pergola||Match the architecture of the home. Incorporate seat walls, benches, lighting, heaters, ceiling fans. Capitalize on decorative beams, corbels, end caps, and column wraps for completely custom look. Automate features to be controlled by iPad.|
|Ipe Fence or Opaque Tempered Glass Panels||
$30+ per linear foot
|Choose a more common, easily sourced wood rather than ipe. Use opaque panels in combination with wood and only in highly visible areas.||Customize with horizontal boards versus the typical vertical pattern. Stain a wood fence black for a dramatic backdrop. Choose translucent materials for privacy and light. Add decorative toppers and metal hardware.|
Backyard Landscaping Projects Above $100,000