What Does $50, $500, or $5,000 Worth of Landscaping Look Like?

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated December 14, 2022
bed of begonias
Photo: shurkin_son / Adobe Stock


  • A $50 budget works best for DIY landscaping endeavors.

  • $500 can buy a small area of sod, a selection of plants, or a few basic services.

  • $5,000 can buy a mature tree, flower garden, water feature, and more.

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When you drive past those well-manicured landscapes and perfectly placed flower gardens, it’s easy to let your mind drift to the potential of your own outdoor space. However, it’s not so easy to picture how much green it took to achieve, and whether your budget is enough to make your plans blossom. 

Learn what your buying power could look like with $50, $500, or $5,000 worth of landscaping for a backyard makeover.

Landscaping budget breakdown into three levels, with $5,000 allowing for sprinklers or flower garden with border and water feature
Photo: Jacky Parker Photography / Moment / Getty Images

$50 Landscaping Budget

For $50, you can stretch your landscaping budget by putting your own green thumbs to work. Head to your local nursery or garden center and pick up around five or six flats of colorful annuals to plant around your space. You can also buy enough potting soil and flowers to put together a couple of beautiful, vibrant planters. 

If you’re working with a tight budget, you can save considerable cash by hunting for plants on secondhand selling apps like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp. You can also scope out local garden community pages to learn of any plant swaps or freebies. 

$500 Landscaping Budget

For $500 worth of landscaping, you could get a hefty selection of flowers and a few larger trees and shrubs at your local nursery or garden center. This budget will also cover the cost of mulch for roughly 500 square feet

Another option is getting one to two pallets of sod at a cost of $150 to $450 per pallet. You’ll have to DIY your sod installation and it won’t cover the whole yard, but it can spruce up any dead or sparse areas.

If you’re looking to hire a local landscaper to take care of some maintenance tasks, here’s what could fit into a $500 budget:

  • Weed abatement: $35–$120

  • Aeration: $70–$190 

  • Fertilization: $80–$380

  • Pruning trees: $350–$650 ($500 average cost)

Professional landscapers can plant shrubs for around $25 to $50 per shrub, trees for $100 to $300 each,and possibly a small flower bed for $300 to $500. Your landscaper can work with your budget and let you know all your backyard makeover options.

$5,000 Landscaping Budget

For $5,000 of landscaping,you can get 1/4 acres of sprinklers installed at a cost of $2,500 to $3,500. You can sod your yard for an average cost of $2,000 and still have plenty leftover for plants and accessories. Or, if you need it, you can have up to 2,500 square feet of mulch installed.

As for plants, you have a lot of buying power. Landscapers can install a flower garden with borders for $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on what you’re looking for. You can even get a mature tree that’s past the sapling stage for about $1,000 to $3,000 per tree

This budget also gives you room to splurge on a water feature and create a dramatic focal point for your backyard makeover. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a backyard water fountain is around $2,700, but prices can go as low as $50 or straight to the top of your budget at $5,000.

Can You Do a Complete Backyard Makeover for Under $5,000?

outdoor light
Photo: shurkin_son / Adobe Stock

While it’s possible to make a big difference in your landscape for $5,000 or less, you’ll still need to select areas to focus your budget on. Big jobs like sodding or mulching can eat up a lot of your spending power before you get to the more impactful additions like plants, trees, and water features.

One more thing to note—this price point will cover the cost to hire a landscape designer at around $4,500. However, material costs will be extra, so you might go over budget if you go that route. Get in touch with a local landscape designer to learn more about your options.

If you’ve got a specific addition in mind for your landscape, there are tons of options that can fall below $5,000 or even $500. Smaller-scale projects and DIYs can shave significant sums from your total cost. 

There are also many different types of pavers and other building materials that can fit a wide range of budgets. Here are some of the most popular projects and their average costs:

  • Pergola: $2,200–$6,000

  • Gazebo: $3,100–$9,400

  • Trellis: $400–$2,400

  • Patio: $1,900 to $5,300

  • Outdoor kitchen: $5,600–$22,500

  • Pond: $1,250–$5,480

  • Fire pit: $200–$3,000

  • Outdoor fireplace: $1,500–$20,00

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