How Much Does Landscape Design Cost?

Typical Range:

$1,944 - $7,214

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 2,987 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated October 3, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

On average, the cost of landscape design runs between $1,944 and $7,214, with an average landscape design cost of $4,571. Costs will vary depending on the size and location of the project, plus the extent of work you’re hoping to have done. 

For simple projects, homeowners can sometimes hire a landscape designer for a 1- to 2-hour on-site consultation, usually at $50 to $150 an hour. For more complicated projects, landscape designers and architects may charge $6,000 or more for detailed plans and drawings.

It’s important to note that landscape design is purely that: design. You’ll have separate landscape installation costs once you move forward with a project.

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National Average $4,571
Typical Range $1,944 - $7,214
Low End - High End $500 - $14,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 2,987 HomeAdvisor members.

What Is a Landscape Designer?

Landscape designers are skilled contractors who can help you develop a plan to transform your outdoor space into something both functional and fashionable. While you can certainly DIY your front or backyard transformation, using an experienced landscape designer can ensure maximum return on your investment.

Though often used interchangeably with landscape architect, a landscape designer usually focuses on smaller residential projects, including:

  • Gardens

  • Trees

  • Patios

  • Water features

You can find a local landscape architect when your vision includes more complicated features like a retaining wall or yard regrading.

Landscape Design Cost per Square Foot

The typical landscape design price per square foot can vary greatly depending on the project’s complexity. More complex projects requiring a licensed landscape architect may cost more per square foot than a basic garden design. In general, budget anywhere from $4 to $40 per square foot for landscape design:

Level of Design Cost per Square Foot
Basic landscaping services $4 – $6
Intermediate landscaping services $6 – $10
Full tear-out and remodel services $10 – $40
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Landscape Design Costs by Type

The type of landscape design you choose can drastically impact your costs, with vegetable garden design costing as little as $0.03 per square foot and full-on xeriscaping design costing $200 per hour.

Residential Garden Design Cost

Garden designers near you may charge by the hour or area—or just a flat rate. Whether you’re building a butterfly garden or a vegetable garden, costs will range from $0.03 to $0.10 per square foot. In general, however, residential garden design costs less than the average landscape design.

Small Garden Design Cost

Small garden costs vary by size, location, and complexity. You'll spend anywhere from $4 to $18 per square foot, including installation. Design costs run from $0.05 to $0.75 per square foot, or about 5% to 10% of the project cost. Complex urban gardens tend to run on the higher end of the spectrum, with simple gardens in rural areas being the least expensive.

Xeriscape and Environmental Garden Design Cost

Xeriscaping tends to cost more, with local backyard designers charging about $200 per hour for the design work alone. These eco-friendly gardens—which use less water and generally no fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides—are cheaper to maintain in the long run.

Because xeriscaping relies on natural resources for irrigation and pest control, you won’t need to budget for the cost of a sprinkler system. Instead, designers utilize permaculture elements—a form of design centered on an ecologically balanced landscaping.

Throughout most of North America, more than 50% of residential water goes to landscape and lawn care. Xeriscaping reduces your annual lawn care costs. It’s also aesthetically pleasing, which can drive up your home’s value.

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Landscape Designer Rates and Fee Structures

So, how much does a landscape designer cost? Different types of landscape designs cost more depending on the landscape designer, the project, location, and other factors.

Consultation Hourly Rates

Hourly rates range from $50 to $150 with most charging between $50 and $75 an hour. Since hourly rates are open-ended, they usually include everything from the initial consultation to design plans and revisions.

The cost of landscape design consultation on an ongoing basis can exceed $200 per hour—though as consultants, landscape designers take a more hands-on approach with on-site management of local landscapers, gardeners, and arborists.

Some professionals charge by project or area.

Per Project Rate

Flat project rates rely on the hours the designer calculates the project will take. This number will vary with complexity, location, and size. A per-project rate usually includes a limited number of plan revisions and typically doesn't include time spent working with landscapers. Designers may charge flat rates for front and backyards in some areas where yard sizes are uniform.

Percent Rate

Some landscape designers charge a percentage of your home garden budget as their cost. For example, a landscape designer may charge 20% of a client’s budget for small gardens and about 15% for medium-sized gardens.

Rate by Area

Your outdoor area’s size is one of the most important factors in determining the cost. The size, coupled with materials, location, and season, may increase or decrease the cost. However, expect to pay $500 or more for a quarter acre and $2,000 or more for a full acre (43,560 square feet).

By Plan

Design plans can range anywhere from $300 to $15,000, though most fall under $7,000. Some designers price by a percentage of the overall cost, anywhere from 5% to 15% of the total construction project. Most flat rates include plans. How designers bill varies by region and market, though price often equates with quality.

Garden and Landscape Cost Factors

The cost of landscape design depends on several factors, including the project size, the time of year, and the actual scope of the project.

Size and Location

Expect to pay $300 to $2,500 for most detailed landscape designs, depending on the size of your property. For big-name designers, you might pay between $6,000 and $16,000 for larger spaces. Anticipate at least 1 to 2 hours of talk time between you and your landscape designer, which often costs $50 to $75 per hour.

Cost of Materials

Material costs are separate from the design costs. Your designer will usually suggest materials to use along with the plants and other amenities you'll want; you’ll discuss most of these suggestions in the first consultation and site visit. If you're open, they'll offer more suggestions with the plans.

Cost of Labor

Labor costs are also separate from design costs but are directly related to the design your local yard designer dreams up. These labor costs will vary wildly, depending on your location, materials, landscapers’ experiences, and your project’s specificity. However, expect to pay about $50 to $100 per hour for a two-person crew.

Soil Testing Costs

Designers may test the soil for drainage, acidity, and nutrients during a site visit. This type of soil testing costs between $10 to $200—a cost commonly included in the consulting fees. With this testing, the designer can more accurately recommend the best types of trees and plants for the soil (as well as the climate).

Experience Level

Landscape designer fees usually range between $50 and $150 an hour. You’ll pay on the higher end of that range for a more experienced designer or a more established design company with a large portfolio of successful work. Sometimes, only the bigger-name designers can take on larger-scale projects and may have in-house local arborists, gardeners, and even licensed retaining wall contractors.

Time of Year

Landscape designers are busiest in the spring and summer months, so you may have to wait longer for a consultation and may pay a premium. If you plan ahead and get the consultation in the winter, when landscape designers are less busy and thus eager to take on work, you might be able to cut costs.

Landscape Materials and Features

Designers usually recommend materials that best fit the design, your budget, and your home. You can expect brick and paver recommendations for patio and walkways and woods for pergolas, decks, and planters. Designers have a good sense of how the varied materials cohesively unify the design, though you can always ask about cost-effective alternatives.

Designers usually know the best places to buy materials and may be able to recommend where to get the best deal. Just remember that all material costs (and labor costs) are separate from landscape design costs.

Common Landscape Materials 

Material costs will vary widely depending on where you live, especially when accounting for inflation. The table below breaks down some common materials used in landscape design—and their typical costs:

Material Typical Cost Range
Cost of crushed stone $40 – $70 per ton
Brick prices $2.50 – $8 per sq. ft.
Paver costs $6 – $30 per sq. ft
Cost of stone tiles $5 – $20 per sq. ft
Pea gravel prices $10 – $50 per ton
Sod installation costs $1 to $2 per sq. ft.

Common Landscaping Features

Many landscape design projects include specific features, like a new patio, pool, or pond. The table below estimates materials and labor costs for each project, outside of the initial design work.

Feature Cost
Cost to Install a Pond $1,225 – $5,575
Fence Installation Cost $1,725 – $4,375
Cost to Build a Pool $19,700 – $49,800
Pergola or Trellis Prices $2,100 – $6,000
Deck Building Estimate $4,125 – $11,600
Patio Cost $1,950 – $5,600
Fountain Installation Price $850 – $4,550
Gazebo Cost $2,800 – $9,300
Outdoor Kitchen Price $5,650 – $22,950

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional Landscape Designer

Homeowners can technically design their own yard or garden using free software or paper and pencil. Some better-than-average design software might set you back $200. But hiring a local landscape designer comes with many benefits, including:

  • Expert recommendations for specific plants, trees, wood, and stone

  • Information on how to save money on materials and labor costs

  • The potential for a much greater ROI when you go to sell your home

If you’re considering a landscaping project that’s any bigger than planting a flower bed, consider working with a local landscape designer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do landscape designers do?

Landscape designers create designs specific to your property, considering your budget, vision, and physical space. Most landscape designers work solely as a designer doing a site visit and creating a landscape plan for a separate contractor who will do the work. Other landscape designers work as consultants who take a more hands-on approach to the entire project.

When should you hire a landscape consultant?

Landscape consultants manage the entire process from start to finish. If you want someone who can survey your land, offer up a detailed plan for a total transformation, find the right materials, hire contractors, and oversee the work, then you should hire a landscape consultant. You may pay up to $200 an hour just for their fee alone, but it can take considerable stress off you and add time back into your day.

Should you hire a freelance consultant or someone from a design service?

If you're on a budget, a freelance landscape designer may be the way to go. A design firm focuses more on every project, ensuring fewer mistakes and a more comprehensive plan. Though a firm is usually more expensive, it also provides more comprehensive services. For instance, the same firm that designs your landscape may be able to handle the labor of the actual installation.

What are some questions to prepare for your designer?

If you get quotes before hiring a landscape designer (and you should), ask them a few questions before you make any final hiring decisions. Some good questions include: 

  • Do you bill by the project, area, or hour?

  • How long does the design process take?

  • What do your services include?

  • Can I see your portfolio and talk with previous clients?

What’s the difference between a landscape designer and architect?

A landscape designer has no licensing requirements, but they often have a design, horticulture, or nursery background. A landscape architect is a legally protected title in most states, requiring a college degree and state licensure. When you need a complex job that includes things like a retaining wall, grading land, or restructuring the soil, you should call a landscape architect.

Many also do design work inclusive of the larger project. Architects work on both commercial and complex residential projects. Landscape architects cost up to $150 per hour—or $200 per hour for principal architects.

What is included in a landscape plan?

Landscape plans vary by design firm, so it’s a good idea to ask the designer before moving forward with their services. In general, you should expect the landscape plan to include natural elements, like trees, plants, flowers, and even vegetable gardens. 

Depending on your project’s specifics, the plan may include patios, sheds, decks, fountains, and lawn furniture. More complex designs, like those requiring retaining walls or lawn regarding, require a landscape architect. Retaining wall installation costs from $3,200 to $8,950 while yard leveling costs between $1,000 and $3,225—but design fees for these projects are separate.