If you are considering a landscape design project and are wondering how to go about getting a price, here are some pro tips on how to budget for a landscape project and how to know a fair price when you see it.
First, a common frustration among those looking for landscape design pricing. Here’s the scenario: You call two different landscapers, asking both for ideas and pricing for your backyard project. You become frustrated when you learn that one price is $3,000 whereas another’s is $30,000… for the same exact space. In the next couple of paragraphs we will break down how exactly landscape project pricing works, and how to make sure you are getting a fair price on your landscape project.
It is a common misconception to think of two separate prices to install landscaping in the same space as being comparable.
The truth is that in most circumstances- two prices for the same yard are impossible to compare, except that one might be higher than the other- it can be super frustrating.
Here is why.
Say you see someone in your neighborhood cutting grass, so you show them the front yard of your home. You ask them to put together a design and quote. Soon enough, they come back with some plant names and suggestions. If purchased at a local box store’s garden center, the cost for the plants would come to roughly $820. After applying a 3 times markup to account for labor and profit, the landscaper gives you a price of $2,460.
Are the cultivars aggressive and hard to control? What will they look like 2 years from now? Production grown plant cultivars, like those supplied by most box store garden centers, are sold because of their profitability- which correlates directly with the speed at which they grow- fast growing plants create fast growing ROI, for the supplier. But when it comes to your landscape, it’s not a stretch to say you’d be paying for a ‘pretty weed’ (which will continue to grow at a high rate) that will require removal in just a couple years.
The same materials, sourced from a local garden center might be available in a better cultivar, although they are likely to be more expensive. This is because the plants themselves might be 3 times the age, even if they are the exact same size as their invasive cousin. Although slower growing cultivars may be better suited to grow in your space, the initial purchase price could be higher because you are buying a slower growing, higher quality plant.
Almost all landscapers base their pricing on what it costs them to acquire the products and materials for a given project. Therefore, the two factors you want to identify when getting pricing for landscape design services are:
#1 The suitability of the material(s) being recommended.
#2 That the markup is fair.
We recommend that you start by specifying(or having a qualified landscape designer specify) the material cultivars that work for your environmental conditions, and the size you want to purchase them at (small, mature or large).
Once you decide on material cultivar/maturity, you’ve defined a “product” that multiple contractors can bid on- so then you are able to compare ‘apples to apples.’
You will see from their responsiveness, their pricing, and the quality of your interactions just who you will want to work with to create your perfect space.
If you call PLANT for an estimate on your landscape project, we can help you establish a scope, suggest cultivars and create an ideal budget range on the first visit, so you can get the answers you need without waiting!