Asking “How much does landscaping cost?” is like asking “How long is a piece of string?”. You can’t possibly know until you get into the details. There are a number of variables that go into a landscaping estimate – the type of plants, top dressing, and hardscaping elements, and, of course, labor costs, just for starters. We understand that a ballpark price helps you to budget, though, so let’s unpack some of the factors that go into landscaping rates.
How Much Does Landscaping Cost?
In Lee’s Summit and areas near Kansas City, landscaping costs range from $15 to $25 per square foot for basic landscape installation, and between $4 and $12 per square foot for maintenance. Installation translates to executing a landscape design, complete with new plants selected by a horticulturist and, if applicable, hardscapes constructed by certified concrete and masonry experts. Maintenance packages include such services as cleaning debris out of beds, topdressing with mulch, pruning, and leaf removal.
Price per square foot estimates vary widely depending on the plants and materials a client wants to use to fulfill their vision, as well as the labor required to bring it to fruition. These and other expenses, such as fuel, annually fluctuate – and, in times such as these, costs go up across the board.
How Much Should I Invest In Landscaping?
Let’s zoom out to a cost-per-project perspective. Missouri homeowners can expect to spend between $5,000 and $15,000 on landscape design and installation. Some projects will be much less and some significantly more – it all depends on what you want to accomplish.
Landscape design projects on the basic end of the scale might include edging, building a small retaining wall, installing three to five shrubs and five to seven perennials, and adding an affordable topdressing, such as mulch. A project of this scope would likely cost between $3,000 and $5,000. Increase the height or length of the wall, incorporate more plants, and upgrade to river rock, though, and you’re looking at a more sizable investment.
If you have a grand vision but not the corresponding budget, consider breaking the overall project into smaller pieces. A good landscape designer will help you craft a project calendar for phased implementation, prioritizing the areas you want to enjoy in the upcoming season and identifying elements that will follow – as much as a year later if need be.
Putting four or five figures toward your outdoor quality of life may seem steep but, when you consider the return on investment by way of property value, it’s a wise and worthwhile line item in your budget.
Is Cheaper Better?
Everyone wants to bank savings – but when it comes to landscaping and hardscaping, cheaper does not mean better. Bargain basement prices can indicate that the landscape team does not have in-depth horticultural or structural knowledge, has less industry experience, or is not willing to put in the time or effort required to do the job right.
In all cases, working with a landscaper who’s more interested in making a quick buck than doing right by you and your property will likely cost you in the end. What’s more, oftentimes these landscapers operate a “fly by night” company that: 1) may lack business liability or workers comp insurance, posing a major vulnerability for their clients and employees, and 2) may not be around when it comes time to remedy their mistakes.
A recent, real-world example encountered by the Evolving Landscapes team featured a good hardscaping idea executed very poorly. The retaining wall was built incorrectly, and its failure created a significant issue. The homeowner engaged our team to remedy the problem, and the result is a structurally sound wall, with complementary landscaping, that will stand the test of time. Of course, hiring a knowledgeable and experienced team first would have saved the homeowners a pretty penny.
Our team frequently encounters other evidence of inadequate knowledge. Plants installed much too close to the house are a common one – and the consequences are serious, including foundation problems and wood rot from trapped moisture. Another is plants installed too close together, resulting in disease or failure to thrive. Sometimes these errors show themselves in short order; other times they don’t present for years – resulting in costly repairs.
So, is landscaping worth the money? Most definitely. Whether you have a new home or mature property, have a small backyard or a sizable lot, have the budget to do it all, or will need to tackle a plan in phases, landscaping is a wise investment. Ready to get a sense of what your budget can achieve at your property? Learn more about our services and our work, and then get in touch! We stand ready to bring your vision to life!