Step Eight: Prepare a Cost Estimate

Step Eight: Prepare a Cost Estimate

Getting an accurate cost estimate before you make a final decision on your landscape plan will help to avoid costly surprises and can help you decide whether to install your landscape all at once or install it in stages. You may also choose to revise your landscape plan to include more or fewer features.

It is advisable to get a cost estimate for materials and services from more than one supplier. To ensure consistent cost estimates, ask for the same product or service from each supplier.

Download the worksheet shown to the right to generate the cost estimate.

  • Make several copies of this worksheet in case you need additional space or want to revise your list of materials and services.
  • It might save some time to list similar items on one line. For example, if you plan to purchase five fifteen-gallon trees and they happen to be the same price, list all of the trees on one line, note the unit cost, then multiply that cost by five.

The following steps will walk you through gathering the information necessary to estimate the total cost of the project.

1Make a list of all of the materials included in your landscape plan

  • Begin with the hardscape elements such as concrete walkways, benches, patios, walls and decomposed granite.
  • Then list the plants you want to include in your landscape. Make sure to include the quantity and size of each plant.

2Choose the irrigation system components

2.21 Plant Sale 2
  • With your preliminary landscape design in hand, make a list of all of the items needed to complete the irrigation system.
  • Also note the quantity of each part needed.

3Identify any additional tools or supplies that must be purchased or rented

  • Identifying everything you will need to complete the installation of your landscape prior to the installation process will help save time during installation and also will help you stay within your budget.
  • Note those items that must be purchased, as well as equipment that is available to rent.
  • Nursery professionals, irrigation suppliers and other materials suppliers should be able to advise you on the tools and supplies needed to do the job right.

4Investigate professional services if you want to consider hiring someone to help you

  • Professional services can be incorporated into any aspect of the landscape process from design through installation and regular maintenance.
  • If obtaining professional landscape services is a possibility, give yourself plenty of time to find capable people to help you, and read through our tips for selecting professional services.
  • If you are not familiar with the types of landscape services available, consult this list of professional titles and certifications.
  • For additional information, consult this listing of landscape professional associations.

5Now, go shopping

  • Visit local nurseries, garden centers and other landscape materials suppliers. Write to manufacturers, shop online, request catalogs and, if appropriate, request written cost estimates.
  • List all suppliers and costs along with any necessary notes.
  • If you have questions, follow up with telephone calls or make additional visits.
  • If possible, make some preliminary decisions on plant materials (especially tree sizes) and hardscape choices.
  • Consider product quality and durability, guarantees, warrantees, product availability and customer service. Remember, less is not necessarily best.

Once you have prepared a cost estimate, compare it with the amount you have budgeted for the landscape. If your cost estimate is within range of your budget, proceed to Step Nine: Finalize Your Plan. If not, return to Step Seven to reevaluate your preliminary design or make the decision to install your landscape in phases.