How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Landscape Designer?

Justine Harrington
Updated March 7, 2022
grey large house with beautiful landscaping
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Average cost to hire a landscape designer is $4,500

  • Cost will vary depending on project complexity and size

  • Material costs are separate from design costs

  • Proof of credibility is crucial before hiring a designer

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The average cost to hire a landscape designer is $4,500, or between $2,000 and $7,000. The cost essentially depends on the scope and location of the project. 

Are you dreaming up your ideal outdoor space? Maybe you’re picturing lush plantings and a rose-covered arbor or a brand-new patio space and stone pathways. Or, maybe you want to do some xeriscaping to help reduce water waste. Whatever your vision is, a professional landscape designer near you can help you achieve it. Here are the landscape design cost factors to know.

National Average Cost: $4,500

Average Range: $2,000 – $7,000

Minimum Cost: $500

Maximum Cost: $13,500

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Landscape Designer?

Some professional landscape designers charge by the hour, and some charge by the project. Hourly rates generally range from $50 to $150, and this usually includes everything from the initial consultation to design plans and revisions. Flat project rates are based on the number of hours the designer expects to spend on the project.

Design plans can range anywhere from $300 to $15,000. Most fall under $6,000. Plans are included in most flat rates. The exact figure will depend on the market, where you live, and the designer’s experience. Contact a top-rated landscaper in your area to get an exact quote.

Landscape Designer Cost Breakdown

The cost to hire a landscape designer will vary depending on how complex the project is and the size of the area involved. Here is a breakdown of the main factors that impact the final cost.

Complexity

The complexity of the project is a big factor in the overall cost. For example, building a vegetable garden (which costs about $0.03 to $0.10 per square foot) obviously costs less than building a pond (which costs anywhere from $1,200 to $5,500). 

Landscapers charge about $25 to $50 per shrub, and installing a flower garden costs from $300 to $3,000.

Xeriscaping covers your whole outdoor area and costs $10,000 to $30,000 (the maintenance and water costs are low, though).

Size

The size of your property is another big factor when it comes to cost. For example, artificial grass or turf installation is priced by the square foot (at $5 to $20 per square foot), so you can expect to pay more the bigger your yard is.      

How Much Do Landscape Design Materials and Features Cost?

A designer will help you find materials (brick, crushed stone, paver, etc.) that best fit your design and budget. Keep in mind that material costs are separate from design costs. The cost of deck, patio, and walkway materials vary based on quality and quantity. 

To give you an idea, though, here are some common landscaping materials and features and their average costs:

Materials

  • Crushed stone: $27 to $64 per ton

  • Brick: $10 to $14 per square foot

  • Paver: $3 to $15 per square foot

  • Stone: $8 to $15 per square foot

  • Pea gravel: $40 to $95 per ton

  • Sod: $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot

Features

  • Pond: $1,300 to $5,000

  • Fence: $1,500 to $4,000

  • Deck building: $4,000 to $10,000

  • Patio: $1,800 to $5,000

  • Pergoloa or trellis: $2,000 to $5,000

How to Save Money on Professional Landscape Design

landscape designer and contractor going over project
Photo: sturti / Getty Images

Knowing what gets you the most bang for your buck is helpful if you’re on a tight budget. Installing permeable hardscapes (materials like gravel and decomposed granite) is a cost-effective way to cover open spaces. 

Using what you have rather than building new structures will always save you money (and time)—and if you do have to remove structures or hardscapes, consider reusing materials. Being strategic with groundcover plantings (rather than buying a bunch of new plants) can help save money, too. 

And, since planting a single tree costs anywhere from $150 to $300, keeping the trees you have can help cut costs.  

Landscape Designer Questions and Answers

What is the difference between a landscape architect and a landscape designer? 

Wondering whether you should hire a landscape architect or a landscape designer? Landscape architects and landscape designers may have similar backgrounds and perform some of the same functions, so it’s easy to confuse the two.

The difference is that a landscape architect is required to hold a college degree and a state license (in most states). Architects generally work on commercial and complex residential projects, whereas landscape designers work on small-scale residential projects. 

What are the main benefits of hiring a professional landscape designer?

Hiring a professional to design your outdoor space can be much less stressful than trying to design it yourself. It may even end up saving you money and time over the long run—DIY landscaping can result in over-spending before you know it. 

Here are some of the main reasons you need landscape design plans

  • Achieve your vision. You may know exactly what you want your yard to look like but feel unsure about how to achieve that vision. A designer can help you create your ideal landscape.

  • Technical knowledge. A designer can give you advice on which plants are native, where to plant trees in relation to your house, and how to create a garden design that makes the most of your property’s features, using their technical knowledge and expertise.  

  • Boost curb appeal. An immaculate, professionally designed landscape can help boost curb appeal and increase your property value. Because landscaping increase your home’s value, be sure to invest wisely with a top-rated pro for maximum ROI.

  • Environment preservation. A landscape designer will know which plants are considered harmful to the local environment, thanks to their understanding of ecological principles and design practices.  

What should I look for in a landscape designer?

It’s important to know what to look for in a professional landscape designer. Proof of credibility is at the top of the list. Designers can become certified or accredited through various organizations. Ask about the designer’s credentials, and ask to see their portfolio and a client list. 

A designer with a long career, first-rate portfolio, and good recommendations will certainly cost more, but it’s almost always worth it. 

What else should I consider before hiring a designer? 

It’s crucial to set your own expectations and needs so that you can communicate them to someone else. Be sure you have a good idea of your overall goal and budget before contacting an expert. 

Consider also whether you expect to do some of the work yourself, how long you expect the project to take, and whether you need a professional to manage the entire project or just for the initial planning stage. And, remember to always get a proposal in writing before signing a contract. 

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