If you want to add plants, grass, and trees to your property or care for the plants you already have, hiring a gardener can be a big help. While landscapers can help you shape all areas, gardeners focus on the growing elements. They may help you plan your garden and yard, maintain what is already there, or revive older or damaged plants. Gardeners can have many levels of experience and take on many job types, which may have different costs.
The national average cost to hire a gardener is between $150 and $300 per month, with most homeowners paying $225 for monthly maintenance services, including lawn care, clean-up, and shrub trimming. This professional’s low cost is $80 for one-time yard aeration on moderately packed grass. The high cost is $3,000 to install a 60 sq.ft. flower bed.
|Cost to Hire a Gardener|
|National average cost||$225|
Gardeners have a range of costs per hour. Some costs are based on the work being performed. For example, mowing and fertilizing a lawn may have different hourly costs than trimming shrubs or a spring clean-up. Your gardener may also base their hourly costs on their level of expertise. New gardeners without much experience charge $30 to $40 an hour, while a gardener with a degree in horticulture and years of experience who does specialty work in planning gardens may charge $100 to $150 an hour. Hourly rates run an average of $50 to $75 an hour for most gardening tasks, but some tasks may have lower or higher costs, depending on the level of skill needed. You may also find that some gardeners with higher levels of skill handle tasks like pruning and installation, which have higher rates, while gardeners with less experience may handle jobs like clean-up and lawn care, which may have lower rates. Below is the average breakdown of gardener hourly costs based on the skill level required for specific jobs.
|Level of Expertise||Hourly Rate|
|Basic||$30 - $40|
|General||$50 - $75|
|Highly Skilled||$100 - $150|
Many gardeners may carry out maintenance-based tasks designed to be done on a schedule. This can include lawn mowing, fertilizing, tree pruning, shrub trimming, yard clean-up, mulch refreshing, and weeding a garden bed. If you have a large yard with a lot of plant life, you may want to hire a gardener to come out frequently to help maintain it. Contracts and their costs may be impacted by the visit frequency. Depending on your property size and needs, you may want weekly, monthly, yearly, or seasonal visits. Weekly visits help with lawn mowing, while monthly visits take care of keeping things trimmed and cleaned. Seasonal visits may include yard clean-up or preparing a garden for the upcoming season. Yearly visits may include pruning fruit trees or cutting back overgrown areas. Sometimes, contracts can simply stipulate a range of things that may be done at each visit, particularly when the gardener comes weekly or monthly, and those items are done as needed for a cost that can be spread over the year. This means the cost of a gardener per month or week varies depending on the tasks you need. The more often the gardener arrives, the higher your costs may be. Below are the average annual costs when contracting for regular maintenance gardener visits.
|Frequency of Visits||Annual Contract Cost|
|Yearly||$1,000 - $3,000|
|Seasonal||$1,500 - $4,500|
|Monthly||$1,900 - $6,000|
|Weekly||$2,000 - $13,000|
You can also hire a gardener on a per visit or project basis. For example, you may hire a gardener to come in once to trim the trees around your home or plan and install a flower bed you plan to maintain yourself. Costs per project also range depending on your property size, project size, and the area’s condition. If you have not had your trees trimmed before or if your lawn is in poor condition and needs aerating, your costs are higher than if these are things you have done more regularly.
|Weed Control||$65 - $150|
|Lawn Mowing||$65 - $150|
|Lawn Aeration||$80 - $250|
|Mulching||$150 - $400|
|Leaf Clean-Up||$150 - $550|
|Tree Trimming||$175 - $750|
|Lawn Fertilization||$200 - $500|
|Yard Clean-Up||$200 - $500|
|Tree Planting||$200 - $550|
|Tree Pruning||$350 - $650|
|Shrub Trimming||$400 - $1,000|
|Lawn Seeding||$700 - $2,000|
|Flower Bed Installation||$1,000 - $3,000|
|Sod Installation||$5,800 - $7,200|
Many gardeners may perform tasks you need around your home and property. Choosing the right one can mean getting a good fit for your project and budget. Always interview at least three professionals for the job. Ask each to show you a portfolio of their work as it relates to your project. For example, if you hire a gardener to revive your fruit trees, you may wish to see before and after photos of previously completed jobs. Each gardener you interview should give you a written estimate breaking down the costs and proposed materials.
Most gardeners do not require licenses, particularly if they mainly do maintenance-level work and nothing structural. However, they should carry insurance and have a business license in your state. You can ask for credentials, such as where they studied and a minimum of three recent references. When calling references, ask if the previous client was satisfied, if the gardener cleans up after themselves, and if there were surprise costs in the project. Ideally, you should be comfortable with the gardener you hire. You should trust they have the expertise to complete the job, are reliable, and share your vision for the project.
Most gardeners have years of experience working on projects like the ones you may be hiring them for. This means they can estimate how many hours a project takes to complete and what materials are necessary. They can give you an estimate of the costs based on these figures. For large projects, such as seeding or mowing large properties, they may calculate the cost by the square foot, taking measurements of the area. For smaller but very detailed projects, such as creating a flower bed, they may estimate the cost based on the plants you choose, number of plants, and time it takes to complete the project. For small projects like trimming a single tree or shrubs, most gardeners quote an average cost based on their experience in how long it takes to complete each. They may offer a volume discount for very large numbers, such as trimming 20 shrubs.
There is an overlap between what gardeners and landscapers can do for your property. Both can plan your yard, help maintain it, and install new features and items. However, a gardener primarily takes care of plants and plant life, while a landscaper may handle hardscaping, xeriscaping, and softscaping elements that do not involve plants like sprinkler installations, adding rocks or boulders, creating paths and walkways, and changing the slope or structure of your yard. Most gardeners do not need to be licensed in the state where they work, but many states require landscapers to be licensed, particularly if they handle structural changes or hardscaping.
Because the two professions overlap, you often find that their costs may overlap. Physical landscapers charge between $50 and $100 per hour, with design work costing up to $200 an hour. Gardeners have starting rates of around $30 an hour and may charge up to $150 an hour for highly skilled and specialized work. Below is the total cost comparison for both professionals.
|Professional||Cost per Hour|
|Gardener||$30 - $150|
|Landscaper||$50 - $200|
Gardeners can help care for your plants and yard. They can also softscape your yard, plant grass, trees, and bushes, or help you create a flower garden. Most gardeners can handle any plant-related work.
This depends largely on what you want the gardener to do each month. Monthly costs may start at $100 for basic maintenance and approach $400 for more involved monthly tasks.
This depends on what you want the gardener to do. Some people may only need them to come seasonally to help get plants ready for the next season. Others may want them to come weekly for basic yard maintenance. The more often they come, the higher the total costs.
Both professionals can work with plants and softscaping in your yard. A landscaper can plan and execute hardscaping and xeriscaping 2 and handle things unrelated to plants, such as paving, gazebo building, fountains, and water features.