Landscaping Cost

How much does it cost to landscape on a new construction?

Landscaping on a new construction can dramatically alter the appearance of a home. Whether you prefer a neatly trimmed lawn or you may live in an arid climate and need to xeriscape, professional landscaping will improve the value of your new construction. This cost guide looks at the cost of landscaping a new construction site of 1200 sq.ft. front and backyard.

Cost breakdown

  • Labor: labor costs typically depend on the size of the site, and the detail of the landscaping work required. Professional landscaper contractors average between $45-$75 per hour. For 1200 sq.ft. homes, this is estimated to take 6.5-9 hours and would cost between $290-$675.
  • Plan and design: often, a landscaper will draw a customized design for your new site to ensure that you receive the look you desire. The concept design will show a specific vision for the site and should take into account soil conditions, drainage, area usage, sun, shade, slope, level of maintenance desired and other factors. Design and planning costs is typically separate and can be expected to range between $100 for a basic consultation while a high-end designer can charge up to $16,000 for the landscape plan.
  • Level 1 and grade 1 the land to the desired steepness. Depending on the current condition and grade of the land, will increase costs by an additional $500-$1000 and up to two days of labor or $360-$1200.
  • Material: there are two ways to determine the budget of the landscaping, the percentage method and the sq.ft. method.
    • In the percentage method, the budget should be set according to 5% of the value of the site for a basic landscape or 10% of the value of the site for a more comprehensive landscaping. Included would be the planting of shade, evergreen and ornamental trees, deciduous and evergreen shrubs, ornamental grasses, flowers, and groundcovers; grading 1 and soil preparation for lawns and planting beds; installation of organic mulches 2 for plant beds; sodding or seeding of lawn areas; and drip-type irrigation system 3. Not included in this cost any major construction or hardscape elements.
    • In the square foot method to determine the total square footage of the property or site (from a plot plan, an on-site survey). Deduct the footprint 4 or ground floor area of the house and the hard surfaces areas such as the existing driveway, walkways and patios, then determine the total area available for landscaping. Then apply the following cost per sq.ft. according to the garden style prefered:
      • Xeriscaping 5: a water saving, lawn-free garden will average $9-$11 per sq.ft.
      • Plants and natural elements: a naturalistic garden averages $11 per sq.ft.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • Enhance your landscaping by adding water features between $150-$1200, retaining walls up to $25,000, decks and patios between $7-$35 per sq.ft. Typical hardscaping costs run $17-$23 per sq.ft.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Permits may be required for deep landscaping and can be obtained through the county for less than $100.
  • Xeriscaping 5 can save homeowners money through rebates. For example, the Southern Nevada Water Authority rebates homeowners $1.50 per square foot of grass removed and replaced with xeriscape 5.
  • Xeriscaping 5 can use 70% less water if done correctly as it makes full use of the rainfall by using native plants species, by grouping the plants with similar water requirements together, using drought-resistant plants and breaking up the landscape with walkways and patios so that those areas save water.
  • Professional landscaping is expected to increase the value of a site by around 20%.
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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Level: (Also known as Grade) The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
2 Mulches: A natural substance derived from plant, animal, or mineral matter that is added to soil in order to make it more fertile
3 Irrigation system: Set of equipment used to irrigate lawns
4 Footprint: The entire area of ground covered by a building, including the exterior walls and porch or patio areas
5 Xeriscaping: Landscaping so as to avoid the need for watering by using native or drought-resistant plants, paving stones and gravel, and other methods to create an attractive yard that is ideal for dry climates or environmentally friendly in any area

Cost to landscape on a new construction varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Aberdeen, MD
-8%
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Alexandria, VA
+2%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Chesapeake, VA
-6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denton, TX
+17%
Denver, CO
+1%
Dublin, CA
+35%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fontana, CA
+6%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Helendale, CA
-1%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Joliet, IL
+25%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Katy, TX
+63%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Little Rock, AR
0%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Magnolia, TX
+14%
Media, PA
+26%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Monroe, GA
-17%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Oceanside, CA
+8%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palmdale, CA
+9%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Plano, TX
+24%
Portland, OR
+11%
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
+23%
Reno, NV
0%

Labor cost in your zip code

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Methodology and sources