Gardening is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Unless planting and tending flowers and herbs is your only interest, there’s a whole lot more you can do to make your outdoor social space look its absolute best. Of course, the more work you have done, the higher the final garden landscaping cost will be.
That said, with some careful research and planning you can lay out the perfect strategy and budget. This price guide, updated for 2020, contains all you need to prepare for the various gardening costs that can arise.
- Before you start
- Things to add to your garden
- What is the garden landscaping process?
- Garden maintenance
- How long does garden landscaping take?
- How much does garden landscaping cost?
- Other gardening costs
- When is the best time to start garden landscaping?
Before you start
Just before we get into the finer details of garden landscaping costs, it’s worth covering a few of the basics first. Below you’ll find a series of topics that you should be aware of before you start spending. They may seem simple but knowing these things can help save valuable time and money in the long run.
What is garden landscaping?
If this is your first time doing any work to your garden, the term “garden landscaping” may be new to you. Most people are probably used to referring to this kind of work as gardening, and that’s effectively what we’re talking about. However, we use the term landscaping to also include things outside of planting and maintaining flowerbeds.
Landscaping encompasses anything that affects how the garden looks, from traditional gardening to laying decking to total redesigns of land.
Throughout this price guide, and elsewhere online, you may see this further broken up into softscape and hardscape work.
Softscape: Think of softscape landscaping as just another term for traditional gardening. The “softness” comes from the softer nature of soil and plants that it deals with.
Hardscape: By contrast, hardscape work refers specifically to things closer to construction and renovation. This includes laying decking, erecting fences and building shingle paths.
Know your budget
Before you start, it’s worth working out how much you’re likely to spend. This will help you decide what you can afford and the best time to do it. Several factors will affect your budget, like extra features or the materials and popularity of the styles you choose.
As you might expect, larger gardens lead to more landscaping being necessary – and as such a higher garden landscaping cost. Additionally, basic softscape changes will cost less than a total redesign including decking, bird baths and more.
Before you set out a hard budget, it’s worth checking out some garden landscaping ideas that could inspire your design. If you find something you like after you’ve already allocated funds, it can be difficult to readjust. Doing your research before you commit to anything is key to making the most of your budget, regardless of its size.
Garden landscaping design
Garden landscaping design is a wide-ranging topic that comprises a variety of options. Once you find one you like you can either model your home on it, or just draw inspiration from it.
In our article above, you’ll find a list of garden designs that you can adapt for your home. It’s a comprehensive breakdown of five of the most common options, exploring each of their strengths and weaknesses.
Listed below is a quick overview of the five you can find in our guide:
- In-ground garden: traditional, cheap options that focus on creating a natural look. They consist of planting flowers in the soil and keeping design simple.
- Urban garden: a catch-all term for an assortment of gardening designs and practices, frequently used by those in urban areas who lack reasonable sized gardens behind their property.
- Cottage-style garden: a rustic and romantic style that trades rigid structure for explosions of colour. More focused on softscape than hardscape changes.
- Formal garden: typical of larger manor houses, but adaptable for domestic properties. It gives a regal, highly organised look but also contributes to a high garden landscaping cost.
- Mediterranean garden: warm tones, dynamic paving underfoot and exotic plants. A Mediterranean garden is ideal if you want to host plenty of guests and create a vibrant social space.
Plan what you want to add
Once you have a general design in mind, it’s time to consider the more particular details you’re going to add. Certain additions are going to be more difficult if you have a smaller garden, but with some creative design work you should be able to fit in most things.
The next section will cover, in detail, a comprehensive selection of the potential options you have. This list is focused on being descriptive and explanatory – taking you through everything you need to know about each entry. If you know what you want to buy already, but are concerned with the cost, check out the “How much does garden landscaping cost?” section further down.
Things to add to your garden
When it comes to garden landscaping, there are an abundance of avenues available for you to take. Many first-time gardeners and homeowners might prefer to focus on just adding plants or some light hardscaping. That said, there are much more advanced options too.
The most obvious choice when landscape gardening is to start by adding new plants. While it can be exciting to go out and buy a whole new garden’s worth of flowers, you should start by planning. Take a look at the landscape and think about what you can do with it. The plants are a key feature, but it takes some research to get the combination and design right for the space.
- Flowering seasons and when you can expect each plant to show its colours
- Plant sizes, which can result in interesting effects for your garden
- Space size – a small landscape could benefit from upward growing plants
- Invasive plant species – avoid buying things like periwinkle, Chinese wisteria and sweet autumn clematis
Patterns and colour schemes
When planning your garden, include other elements you want besides flowers. Think about how to combine the plants’ colours with paving, furniture and ornaments. Get ideas from garden designers and other homeowners. For example, find out what stone or wood would compliment the purple of hydrangeas or the vibrant reds of a rose bush.
Imagine your space in further detail. The colour and shape of the paving stones impact the garden’s aesthetics as much as the lines of pathways and flowerbeds – angular, curved or more intricate. Investing in a precisely-planned landscaping project will save you from unnecessary expenses.
In theory, patios are a simple installation which, under the right circumstances, cost relatively little time and money. However, there a quite a few elements to a patio quote that you need to account for.
First, if you’re going to install a patio you need to make sure the ground it’s going on is flat. If not, you’ll have to ask for your tradesperson to take care of this. Second, make sure that any quote you receive covers the cost of removing soil that isn’t needed, as well as the laying of a foundational element. These can include hardcore, sand or cement.
Steer clear of any professional that says they can lay the patio on top of the pre-existing soil.
None of this takes into consideration that you may not want a patio installed, but rather removed. You can also get a quote for a tradesperson to replace a patio with lawn. Again, make sure the cost of waste removal is covered before you take up any particular quote.
Like a patio, you first need to ensure that any area you want decking installed on is already flat. If not, a professional first needs to fix this. Furthermore, with decking you need to account for the potential need for planning permission. If the installation has a height of over 300mm then you’ll need to apply for this. You can find out more about this at Planning Portal.
Fencing is a surprisingly large and complex topic. It’s one that can affect your garden landscaping cost by either a dramatic or insignificant amount. This is why we’ve covered all the potential fencing cost issues in a separate price guide.
For now, simply consider where the fence is going to go and what it should look like. Are there practical factors to its design? Because, if you need a specific height or thickness, you’ll need to budget for it. The extra dimensions and quality of materials make a difference.
You may decide that you want to add value and style to your garden by attracting wildlife. One way of doing this is to build a fishpond and populate it with bright and interesting creatures.
To do this you’ll need a relatively wide section of lawn that you can dig up. This will also need to be an area that doesn’t have any piping or electrical work running underneath. This may prevent you from installing a pond and is a tricky mistake to rectify mid-way through a project.
A shingle path can be a great way of creating a sense of structure within the garden. With this, you can either enliven the lead up to a section of your garden or even map out a small route you can walk around.
They are incredibly easy to build and relatively cheap.
Beneath the path, landscapers will need to place a membrane. Make sure this layer is made of a weed suppressant material to prevent complications later.
Turfing and artificial grass
As homeowners look for continually more modern ways to update their spaces, turfing and artificial grass become more popular.
Turfing is real grass turned into a sheet that you can deploy and thereby install for your garden.
Artificial grass, sometimes referred to as fake grass, is a handy way of adding realistic ground texture that doesn’t require the same level of maintenance as authentic grass.
There are a few kinds of vegetable beds that you can make. The simplest involves planting an in-ground garden, which costs next to nothing. All it requires is a little time and the patience to dig holes in the soil for your vegetables.
Alternatively, you can have a landscaper erect raised vegetable beds. Like most bits of landscaping, the ground underneath first needs to be made flat if it wasn’t to begin with. After that, it shouldn’t take an experienced landscaper more than a day to install a series of beds that are both stylish and functional.
You may be unfamiliar with a rockery. That’s because it used to be considered something old-fashioned people would add to their gardens. In short, a rockery is a collection of different sized rocks stacked together to create an outcropping or feature. They can be used either for their visual appearance, to create a small waterfall or to add diversity in texture.
Over time rockeries fell out of fashion in favour of more tightly organised garden features. Poorly-made rockeries can also look visually underwhelming, so many homeowners decided to stop taking the risk.
However, as homes continue to plant more and more modern flower types, the desire for rockeries has increased. Lots of homeowners want somewhere impressive to display their new plants, and these installations serve as an ideal platform.
You can welcome birds and hedgehogs as well as people to your garden, and there are many ways to achieve this.
Feeders, bird baths and fishponds are great choices that set out to do just that. They also add some visual diversity to your outdoor space. You can either pay a professional to install them or add them to the DIY arts and crafts you could do for your project. It’s a cheap and easy way to turn your garden into a real fairy-tale landscape.
To compliment that, you might consider planting specific types of flowers known to attract wildlife. Bees appreciate certain flowers like lavender and bluebells. Lots of birds are known to be attracted to Red Cardinals, Trumpet Vines and more. Many plants typically found in Mediterranean gardens have this quality too.
Be careful when investing in flowers for this purpose though. If your plants aren’t insect resistant, you may find yourself spending lots of money for low lifespan flora.
Explore what your budget – and your neighbours – will allow.
What is the garden landscaping process?
If you’re aiming for a more radical change to your garden, there’s an order to how the work should be carried out. But the job is best left to a landscaping professional you can trust. They’ll have the training and experience to get all the details right, which don’t just concern gardening or decking.
Landscape construction steps:
- Planning of the new space, including borders, flowerbeds, water lines and so on
- Unwanted features are removed
- Grading takes place to ensure the space is level and workable
- If you want a swimming pool or even a little pond, this is the stage to build it
- Any necessary utility lines and irrigation systems are installed
- Fencing or any other boundaries are installed
- Hardscapes come next – pathways, paving, patios, decks
- Now is the time for any extra special features, like a fire pit or pergola
- Once the solid structures are in place, you can add the plants
- All systems need testing, from electric to watering
- The landscape is cleared
One of the hidden garden landscaping costs is the continuing price of maintenance – both in terms of money and time. Once your garden is complete, you need to plan for how you’re going to keep it looking as good as it can be.
The initial recurring cost comes in the form of lawn mowing. While this obviously doesn’t incur additional charges each time you mow the grass, you may decide you want a new lawnmower, or even a strimmer. Brand new appliances like these can be priced anywhere around £100 to £300.
Along that vein, if you have a large garden you may hire someone to mow the grass for you. This can increase the garden landscaping cost by around £10 to £20 per hour.
Despite the extensive measures most landscapers take to prevent the growth of weeds, you’ll eventually have to deal with them. There is an abundance of common weeds that grow in the UK, each with their own ways of being dealt with.
You can follow the advice we provide in the article linked above to ensure the weeds are dealt with. Another option, of course, is hiring a professional to remove the weeds for you. Most gardeners charge between £20 and £25 per hour to de-weed a property.
Throughout the landscaping process, there will be a lot of waste that needs disposing of. This can include loose soil, dead roots and branches and even unwanted hardscape products.
As we’ve noted, whenever you get a quote you want to ensure it includes the cost of waste removal too. If not, you’ll have to hire a skip on top of all the other garden landscaping costs.
The price of this varies depending on your location and the size of skip that you need. However, as a general rule you can expect to pay somewhere between £100 to £500.
How long does garden landscaping take?
When it comes to garden landscaping, the timescale of the project largely depends on how complicated it is. If you’ve got lots of hardscape elements to install, the whole process can take several days. Factor in any weather disruption and you may end up with at least a week’s worth of work and expenses. That’s why it’s so important to plan as carefully as possible.
More specifically, each type of landscaping has its own installation time.
|Type of landscaping||Installation time|
|Patios (adding)||Avg. 2 days|
|Patios (removing)||Avg. 2 days|
|Decking||Up to 2 days (or 1, for small installations)|
|Ponds||Avg. 4 days|
|Shingle path||Up to 1 day|
|Turfing and artificial grass||1.5 days|
|Raised vegetable beds||Up to 1 day|
|Rockery||Up to 1 day|
Even if it’s a minor gardening project, make sure to let your neighbours know about the potential disruption.
The same considerations should go into estimating the length of work required for a new fence. Your circumstances determine the overall project. For example, if you’re simply replacing an existing fence, the professional won’t have to waste time setting markers. But, if you decide to include cement and gravel boards in the construction process, they should add a few hours to your timeframe.
How much does garden landscaping cost?
Once you’ve taken note of what you garden currently lacks, what you want to change and how you’re going to go about that, it’s time to price it all up.
|Landscaping option||Average cost|
|Patios||£550 – £1000|
|Decking||£800 – £1000|
|Shingle path||£400 – £600|
|Turfing and artificial grass||£1100|
|Raised vegetable beds||£250 – £500|
Keep in mind that these prices can fluctuate. As a result, we’ve given general figures to ensure our guide is as accurate as possible, with respect to how the market constantly shifts.
These figures are affected by the size and complexity of the project, as well as the number of labourers need to complete it.
There are a lot of factors that can affect the price of patio, all of which are covered earlier in this post.
Patio is typically laid out in dimensions of 4m x 2m for new installations. At this size, each 4m x 2m section should cost between £800 and £900, depending on the pattern and quality.
When it comes to replacing patio with grass, the cost is less. For an area of the same measurements, the usual price hovers around £500 to £600.
Bear in mind that this may not include the cost of flattening pre-existing lawn space, though. That will run you up to an additional £20 to £100, dependent on the number of hours it takes.
By contrast, decking often is costed in dimensions of 4m x 2.5m. At this rate, the average cost is around £800 to £1000.
The price of a garden pond is, understandably, one of the most variable entries, given there’s no standardised size. There are also factors such as installing power supplies, filters and finishing touches that will affect your garden landscaping cost.
At the smaller end of the spectrum, it’s possible to estimate the cost. Many years ago, a Which? survey discovered that the typical small pond installation cost around £500. This size pond is measured at roughly 1.5m in diameter. However, times have changed, so expect to be charged somewhere closer to £600 or £700 for an all-inclusive service.
As the size of the pond scales up, cost variance gets more difficult to manage. Instead, lets investigate the individual factors that constitute final prices.
For the purchase and installation of a 600-litre pond, you can expect to pay around £500. Then, for the purchase and installation of a filter, you’ll need an additional £180 to £200. After that, you need to account for the power supply to any pumps you may also have. This can increase the final garden landscaping cost by anything from £150 to £350. Then, finally, comes the finishing touches. These can include adding grass around the pond’s edge, or bricks or even decorative lilies. For this, there’s no minimum cost, but the upper limit is around £200.
As noted previously, shingle is quite inexpensive. For a 1m x 6m stretch of pathway, you are likely to pay between £400 to £600.
Turfing and artificial grass
This is, of course, entirely dependent on the square footage of your garden that you’re covering. That said, as a baseline price a turfing project of 60m2 should cost £1100 on average.
Raised vegetable beds
In-ground vegetable beds are practically free to create, once you’ve bought the seeds. Instead, we’ll be covering raised vegetable beds. In order to build two beds of around 4.5m x 2m each, you’ll be charged an extra £250 to £500 depending on where you are and the materials.
Rockeries are another variably costed installation, but most homeowners spend roughly £400 where installing their own.
Other gardening costs
In addition to those listed above, garden landscaping can incur other costs, such as the following:
Of all the potential extraneous costs, this has the widest gap between the upper and lower estimates.
Professionally planning out your garden requires you to hire either a designer or an architect. A designer’s focus is more suited to smaller gardens. They keep the garden landscaping cost low by working up a drawn plan of the space. This doesn’t take too long, nor does it involve many resources. They’re also more likely to be independent contractors, so you can work more closely with them to realise a vision as close to your own as possible.
On the other hand, architects and architectural services are more commonly used when landscaping large gardens. Instead of working with individual architects, it’d be more likely you’d hire a company. Their plans are more detailed but cost much more.
While this might be necessary for projects of a greater size, architects often end up costing around 10% of the whole project’s cost.
Given the difference in how either of these options functions, the final added cost can be anywhere from £250 to £2750.
Watch out for markedly cheap tradespeople. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest quote you can get but consider why their prices are so low. Some tradespeople use these lower prices to secure jobs and then take their time afterwards. This can lead to a false economy where, in trying to save money, you end up spending more than you would have with an initially more expensive choice.
You would also likely assume that qualified tradespeople, for example, would cost more than their unqualified counterparts. However, many unqualified professionals actually charge comparable prices. With this in mind, it makes more sense to hire someone that comes fully qualified if you’re paying similar prices.
Furthermore, make sure that whoever you hire is insured to use the tools they need. If they ask to borrow your tools, you then need to check that you’re insured in case they accidentally hurt themselves.
When is the best time to start garden landscaping?
The main concern for hardscaping is rain and cold. Otherwise you should be able to install most features throughout the year. It’s the plants you need to plan for. For example, the best time for flowers, shrubs and fruit trees to immediately take root is autumn. Planting in summer isn’t a bad idea but be careful not to do it when the ground is too dry. It could be a waste of time, plants and money. Getting the advice of a professional gardener will always help you make the right move.
In the case of fencing, you want the ground to be dry, so summer and early autumn are the best times for this kind of project. Frozen or muddy earth will make the work that much harder. And you don’t want to be paying for mistakes on top of everything else. If you need full landscaping services, including fencing and gardening, you could arrange for a summer start so you can plant in autumn.
Get a quote
At this point you should have everything you need to know about the factors that can influence your overall garden landscaping cost. Instead of taking on the days and days of work yourself, get a professional to do it for you.
Fill out the form below. Quotatis will contact you with a series of local, qualified tradespeople who can help you.