How to Manage Your Landscaping Budget

by Matt Solis


Hiring a landscape company only to discover the design it has customized for your space will exceed your budget can be extremely disappointing. So, how can you be sure you and your landscape designer are on the same page when it comes to design sensibilities and budget? The following tips will give you a head start:

Be honest with your designer. Before you do any other planning, meet with your landscape designer and reveal your total budget. This can circumvent miscommunication from the start and avoid the disappointment that comes from having a landscaping plan that’s far too expensive. Then, ask your landscaper for honest feedback. Is your budget large enough to work with? What are the ways the landscaper can design and build to accommodate your budget? If your budget isn’t large enough, what options do you have?

Be realistic. If you have a tight budget, don’t expect to be able to install a pond, a lighting system or a custom-built gazebo. In order to make your budget work, you may have to be willing to pick and choose what’s most important to you.

Get a few bids. Ask two or three reputable contractors to bid on your landscaping job. This will give you an idea of what you can realistically expect in terms of design and cost. Be sure to request an itemized bid from each contractor so you can see exactly where your money will be going.

Consider your options. If you don’t have a large enough budget to hire an experienced contractor to do all the work you’re hoping for, you have several options:

  • Wait until you’ve saved up enough to get exactly what you want.
  • Ask your contractor for good, better and best estimates that offer different options for materials, design and products.
  • See if your contractor will consider doing the project in phases. This will allow you to start your job and see some improvements while saving up for future expansion.
  • Find a contractor that offers financing.
  • Consider doing some of the work yourself to cut down on expenses. For example, your contractor may allow you to tear down old structures or tear out old landscaping, which may save work hours and drastically lower your estimate.
  • Reuse some of your current landscaping materials. You may be able to salvage plants, fountains and structures or even reuse materials such as wood, stone and brick. This not only can shrink your budget considerably, it’ll also save space in landfills and make your project Greener. If you’re interested in doing this, be sure to inform your landscape designer well before the designing process begins—they’ll need a chance to visit your current space and work in existing plants and materials.

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