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How Much Does It Cost To Landscape a Garden?

Last Updated May 24, 2016 · Written by

Landscaping|Renovation Costs

The other day, a friend – who’s just bought his first home – said he hadn’t realised what it cost to landscape a garden. It seems a common thread among new homeowners who perhaps underestimate the cost to landscape a garden and create their dream outdoor space.

This article will help you figure out:

  • What jobs a landscaper can do
  • What to look for when hiring a landscaper
  • What they might charge you

What jobs can a landscaper do?

Landscaping professionals can make a whole range of projects a reality, including:

Landscape design: drawing up plans and a design is an important first step to visualise your project.

Landscape construction: the next phase is the nitty gritty of making it all happen, and can involve hard (paving) and soft (planting) scaping.

Horticulture: choosing species suitable for your project and knowing which plants to position where are all skills a professional landscaper will have.


A high end project combining a number of different elements. © Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping

DIY or hire a landscaper?

With the rise of DIY stores and home renovation shows that make landscaping look like a breeze, you may be considering buying some mulch, a cheap water feature and giving it a go yourself. But be warned – attempting to create your own landscape is rarely a good idea. Doing a good job requires a lot of thought, careful planning, council approval (depending on where you live and what you plan to do), proper tools, the right equipment and a lot of hard work!

Hiring a professional landscaper ensures your new garden is landscaped on budget, on time and to meet your personal preferences. They’ll also be able to suggest new ideas, show you innovative products and help you understand how to maintain your new garden.


Natural stone paving, gravel and drought tolerant planting. © Aesthetic Landscapes

Does my landscaper need to be licensed?

Most states require landscapers to be licensed to carry out their work, whether this is ‘soft’ landscaping or more involved structural projects. Depending on where you live this may be a landscaping, structural landscaping or restricted builders licence.

Read: 7 tell-tale signs that it's time to hire a landscaper

Hiring a landscaper

When it comes time to hiring a landscaper make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask them include:

  • Are you licensed for my project?
  • Do you hold valid insurance?
  • Can you provide a written quote?
  • How long will my job take?
  • Do you have references I can follow up?

Decking with a difference. © Aesthetic Landscapes

Read: Where to save and where to splurge on your landscaping project

How much does landscaping cost?

Given the thought, skill and care that goes into landscaping a garden be prepared to set aside between 5 and 10 percent of the total value of your home, as this is usually how much it will cost to complete the project. Of course, what you pay depends on the complexity of the job and how much time the landscaper needs to do it. A simple garden might cost around 5 percent, while a complex project with expensive features is more likely to cost nearer the 10 percent mark.

#hiptip: Set aside between 5 and 10 percent of the total value of your home for landscaping

While landscapers will often calculate your quote based on an hourly rate, it is misleading to rely on this for your job. It really does depend on the size and scale of your project. The first thing to do is to get a landscape plan - this will help landscapers accurately quote your job. When you get quotes from landscapers, tell them as much as possible about the job and what you want to achieve. They’ll then be able to prepare an accurate quote – most likely after visiting your property and meeting with you to discuss your plans.

From the horse's mouth...

For an idea of some ballpark costings, hipages caught up with award winning landscape designer Paal Grant, known for his innovative approach to his craft.

For design work, expect to pay:

  • $55 to $70 per hour labour for an experienced, qualified landscaper
  • $850 for garden designs (basic plans)
  • $2750 to $6000 for 10 x A3 pages of design work which usually includes some 3D rendering (from a sought-after designer)


Expect to pay in excess of $200 per square metre for quality decking. © Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping

For decking, expect to pay:

  • $280 to $320 per square meter for Merbau decking (supply and install). This is based on 140mm wide board top fixed with screws, treated pine sub frame and concrete stumps & M class footings.

You will get cheaper quotes for around $200 a square meter, however the finish will usually be nailed and timber stump footings just within regulations, instead of concrete and timber bearer sub floor spanning.

Paal believes it is always better to over-engineer everything you build so it lasts.

“It is always better to over-engineer everything you build, so it will last.”- Paal Grant, Landscape designer

For paving, expect to pay:

  • $280 to $350 a square meter for Bluestone paving, on a 100mm concrete base with mortar gaps and steel reinforcement (supply and install)
  • $18 a meter to seal paving

For a feature, expect to pay:

  • $5,000 for a conversation pit with paving and built in seating


Conversation pit with integrated seating. © Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping

For a driveway, expect to pay:

  • $60 per square meter for a plain concrete driveway (supply and install)
  • $90 to $130 per square meter for an exposed aggregate driveway (supply and install)

The best way of finding out the cost of your landscaping job is to get quotes from local landscapers. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.

* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.

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