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Landscape Design & Build Project: How to Create a Budget

person using calculator

As a homeowner, one of the most important, if not, the most important element of planning a landscape design project is budget. However, setting a budget can be very difficult, especially if it’s your first time working with a landscape design & build company. If it’s your first time, you might not know if your budget is too little or too much for landscape design services. Most homeowners don’t realize how much materials cost or what existing issues need to be solved on their property before even starting a new landscape project. You might feel very protective of your budget, or nervous that disclosing your budget to a landscape designer means they will use up your entire budget or more!
Fear not! Here are a few tips to help you analyze your space, be realistic and trust in the professionals so you can feel confident with your budget for your landscape design & build project.

1. Analyze the Space for your Landscape Project

Single family home
The first step to creating your budget is to analyze and specify your space, whether it’s your front yard, side yard, back yard or the entire property. You need to ask yourself; what do you see yourself doing with this space? Are you going to be hosting Sunday BBQs, lounging in the hammock reading a good book, growing vegetables, or swimming laps? To help establish what you want for your space, read our latest blog about creating a vision board of your landscape design.
Before consulting with landscape design services, another commonly overlooked element is the “B” list elements. The ‘B’ list contains elements of your landscape design & build project that you don’t always notice but are essentially “behind the scenes”. Elements such as; grading adjustments to ensure positive drainage, creating privacy from nosy neighbours, adding/removing piping or wiring and much more. These elements cost money too, but are vital to ensuring your landscape design not only looks great, but functions properly as well.
If you find after analyzing your space and considering all those “B” list elements, you’re still struggling to feel confident in your budgeting abilities, you can utilize a tool we developed called “Shop Your Landscape Design.” This tool is intended to help homeowners look through various landscape designs, with varying price tags, and recognize aspects of their own home and design ‘wants’, then match it to their budget. You can use this tool to see how little or how much money certain elements cost and may even help you visualize your own space.

2. Be Realistic about your Landscape Design and Budget

Want versus needs on chalkboard
Now that you’ve established what you want from your space, it’s time to be realistic. You need to look over all the elements you want and think about how much money you’re willing to spend.  A great start is to prioritize.
For example, let’s say you want to update your backyard. You’ve made your vision board and listed everything you want and it looks something like this:

Backyard Wants:

Backyard Wants

  • Patio
  • Bbq station
  • Firepit
  • Pergola
  • Low maintenance gardens
  • River rock

Now you need to separate your wants and your needs. Let’s say, your existing patio is uneven and every time it rains a bunch of puddles pop up that are dangerously close to your house. This grading issue is a “B” list element that you need to correct before you put your new patio down. After going through your needs, your list may look something like this:

Backyard Wants & Needs:

Backyard Wants & Needs

  • Patio
  • Bbq station
  • Firepit
  • Pergola
  • Low maintenance gardens
  • River rock
  • Fix drainage against house
  • Add a privacy screen on west side of new patio

The landscape elements on your ‘wants & needs‘ list are starting to add up and it’s time to be realistic about what your budget can achieve.  Once you have done this, you can take your list and to a company that provides landscape design services and consult with a designer.

3. Trust the Landscape Design Professionals

Landscape Designers are there to bring your vision to life, while also making sure you have a functional space. Designers will look at three main aspects of your landscape design & build project.

  1. Size of the project – This is the actual size of your project space. You could have anything from a half acre backyard to a small front entry.
  2. Scale of the Project – This is based on your vision. The Designer will look at your wants, needs and any other aspects that may play a vital role in the projects functionality.
  3. Site Access – This is based on contractor accessibility. This means the type of access the construction team will have to your project, from a very narrow side yard to get to the back yard or a front yard with an aggressive slope.

Based on these aspects and your budget, the designer can help you to better understand what materials cost, what ‘B” list elements may eat up a chunk of your budget and where your budget is best spent. Designers take the time to be cost effective too, by recommending alternative products, changing the location of the patio to fit existing grades, or revising the design to reduce the number of stairs or the need for a retaining wall.
In all, finding a good designer is most important. This doesn’t mean, a designer that has PHD in landscaping, this means a designer that is open and honest throughout the entire process. It is a designer like this that will take the time to make the space function properly, last much longer, and be cost effective to ensure you can enjoy as many elements as possible.
If you’re ready to start consulting with a professional landscape designer, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!