One Backyard Makeover, Six Budgets

Posted on June 10, 2022

Yardzen’s mission is to deliver the most delightful landscape design and build experience available, and ultimately improve our clients’ quality of life by helping them spend more time in their outdoor spaces. One of the ways we do this is by providing unbiased information about landscape construction costs upfront to potential clients, so they have a better idea of the budget they need for the project they envision. 


Client’s backyard top view before Yardzen transformation

Client’s backyard top view before Yardzen transformation

We also go through a budget exercise with all new clients during onboarding—and design their yard to that budget. We have landscape contractors with many years of experience on staff, and have reviewed countless landscaping estimates from our nationwide network of vetted landscaping contractors in our Pro Network. We don’t set installation costs, contractors do, but we share what we know from our wealth of firsthand experience around landscape installation costs to help clients plan a successful project

Potential clients frequently ask us what different budgets will afford them: “What will $10,000 get me?” or, “What does a $50,000 yard even look like?”. So, we tapped one of our top designers to design one yard at six different budgets, from $10,000 to $125,000. As you’ll see, budget can be exhausted quickly in landscape design, but with smart choices and good planning, you can make the most out of any budget.

Keep in mind that these estimates are if the landscape is installed top-to-bottom by a contractor. A majority of our clients phase large projects so that payments (and installation) are completed in manageable chunks over time. Many of our clients also choose to DIY certain small projects or features of larger projects as well, which would also bring down costs. Lastly, the following designs and budgets do not include the cost of any furniture pictured—furniture costs vary wildly depending on where they were purchased or if they are vintage finds vs new. Or it may cost nothing if you already own furniture!

 

THE HOMEOWNER’S EXISTING YARD

The “before” of this client yard. The client’s top priorities: overall refresh, more functional space, and replacing water-intensive lawn and plants.

Any landscape design or budget exercise starts with the existing yard. Gather all your backyard ideas and inspiration then take note of what you’d like to keep, remove, or add. This backyard’s primary existing features were:

  • Junipers in corners

  • Decorative rock garden

  • Natural-shaped stepping stones

  • Lawn (in struggling condition)

  • Concrete steps off back door

  • Concrete patio

 

A $10,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER

Lower-budget projects like this rely on the strategic use of plants, gravel, and mulch. This budget does not allow for any construction, demolition, or new design elements, so it’s best to make the most of what they already have in the yard.

  • Irrigation & site preparation
    $3,000

  • Gravel pathway
    $500

  • Planting
    $3,500

  • Bark mulch
    $2,000

  • Wood edging
    $1,000


Client’s backyard top view for $10,000 Yardzen transformation

The $10,000 design stays very simple, surrounding the existing patio and lawn with widely spaced new planting. Installation costs include fundamentals like irrigation and site preparation, along with necessary details like bark mulch and edging. Material costs are minimized: bark mulch for planting areas, gravel for the new path. Plants are purchased at smaller sizes, and vines and groundcover species spread widely to green things up while keeping plant quantities low. Notably, three young canopy trees replace the junipers; even with a restricted budget, trees are a priority investment.

 

A $20,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER

  • Prefab steppers
    $600

  • Irrigation & site preparation
    $6,000

  • Planting
    $8,500

  • Bark mulch
    $2,000

  • Wood edging
    $1,000

  • Solo stove fire pit
    $700

  • Gravel
    $2,000

  • Water feature
    $1,800

  • Electrical
    $1,400


Client’s backyard top view for $20,000 Yardzen transformation

The $20,000 design makes a big leap in planting density, and adds a second seating area, furnished with a Solo Stove and surfaced with gravel. A new prefab water feature tucks into the planting nearby, as do two additional trees. Across the yard, 2’x2’ prefab concrete pavers upgrade the gravel path. Installation costs include an expanded irrigation system and electrical connections for the water feature.

 

A $50,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER

  • Prefab 2’x2’ concrete pavers
    $600

  • Irrigation & site prep
    $6,000

  • Planting
    $4,500

  • Bark mulch
    $2,000

  • Steel edging
    $2,500

  • Solo Stove fire pit
    $700

  • Gravel between walkway
    pavers & for fire pit area

    $2,000

  • Water feature
    $1,800

  • Electrical
    $1,400

  • Concrete demo
    $1,500

  • Sand set paving
    $7,000

  • Kitchen
    $5,500

  • Gas line
    $2,000

  • Lights
    $3,000


Client’s backyard top view for $50,000 Yardzen transformation

At $50,000, new herringbone pavers replace the old concrete patio and stairs, and a space-efficient G5 RTA outdoor kitchen drops into the patio’s north end. Basic black lights illuminate the path and seating areas, while edging upgrades to steel throughout the yard. Trees are now purchased at a more mature 24” box size, while several tall 15 gallon shrubs tuck along the north fenceline to improve privacy. Utility connections for the outdoor kitchen and lighting factor into installation costs.

 

A $75,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER

  • Prefab 2’x2’ concrete pavers
    $600

  • Irrigation & site prep
    $7,500

  • Planting
    $8,500

  • Bark mulch
    $2,000

  • Steel edging
    $2,500

  • Solo Stove fire pit
    $700

  • Gravel between walkway pavers
    & for fire pit area

    $2,000

  • Water feature
    $1,800

  • Electrical
    $3,000

  • Kitchen
    $10,000

  • Gas line
    $2,000

  • Lights
    $3,000

  • Deck
    $21,000

  • Artificial turf
    $5,000


Client’s backyard top view for $75,000 Yardzen transformation

The $75,000 design trades the paver patio for a new TimberTech composite deck, complete with wraparound stairs and recessed step lighting. The deck expands beyond the footprint of the original patio, the better to accommodate a more expansive G7 RTA outdoor kitchen, spiffed up with more counter space and a mini-fridge. New artificial turf replaces the remaining patch of existing lawn.

 

A $100,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER

  • Custom poured-in-place concrete
    paver walkway

    $4,000

  • Irrigation & site prep
    $7,500

  • Planting
    $8,500

  • Bark mulch
    $2,000

  • Steel edging
    $2,500

  • Custom hard-lined fire pit
    $4,000

  • Gravel between walkway pavers
    & for patio

    $3,000

  • Water feature
    $1,800

  • Electrical
    $3,000

  • Kitchen
    $17,000

  • Gas line for kitchen & fire pit $3,000 

  • Lighting
    $3,000

  • Deck
    $21,000

  • Artificial turf
    $5,000 

  • Pergola
    $12,500

  • Raised garden beds
    $2,200


Client’s backyard top view for $100,000 Yardzen transformation

At $100,000, the design adds a prefab pergola above the lower seating area, lit up by Edison string lights and a new custom fire pit with a hard-lined gas connection. Up on the deck, the kitchen upgrades again, subbing in a custom L-shaped design with an added sink. Both the lower gravel patio and artificial turf areas expand, with new custom raised vegetable beds tucking into the expanded gravel patio. The path swaps in larger, custom-poured concrete pavers.

 

A $125,000 BACKYARD MAKEOVER

  • Custom poured-in-place concrete paver
    walkway & patio

    $14,000

  • Irrigation & site prep
    $7,500

  • Planting
    $8,500

  • Bark mulch
    $2,000

  • Steel edging
    $2,500

  • Custom hard-lined fire pit
    $4,000

  • River rock between pavers
    in walkway & patio

    $1,500

  • Water feature
    $1,800

  • Electrical
    $3,000

  • Kitchen
    $17,000

  • Gas line for kitchen & fire pit
    $3,000 

  • Lighting
    $3,000

  • Deck
    $21,000

  • Artificial turf
    $5,000 

  • Pergola
    $12,500

  • Raised garden beds
    $2,200

  • Hot tub
    $8,000

  • Shower with small deck platform
    $8,500


Client’s backyard top view for $125,000 Yardzen transformation

The $125,000 backyard transformation further expands the lower patio, and re-paves it with oversized concrete squares. In place of gravel, decorative river rock laces between the paving in both the patio and the path. For a luxurious final touch, a new above-ground hot tub and adjacent outdoor shower nestle among plants at the lower patio’s north end. TimberTech stairs and ground-level decking, colored to match the upper deck, complement the hot tub and shower zone.

 

DESIGNING TO YOUR LANDSCAPING BUDGET

At Yardzen, we discuss your budget at the start of the landscape design process to minimize surprises when it comes time to build. We want to make sure our design team can personalize your yard, delivering a vision that includes what’s most important for your outdoor living space and unique environment—while keeping costs within range. We do this by utilizing our in-house Build Team made up of former contractors and our Pro Network of vetted professional landscapers across the country.

Ready to level up your home improvement and bring your backyard paradise to life with a professional landscape design? Create your design profile or explore our design packages today!

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