How much will it cost to landscape my garden?

CEO & Garden Designer
Ruth Marshall

As designers and landscapers, we get asked ‘how much will it cost to landscape my garden?’ more than any other. Having a good understanding of typical costs will help you to identify the areas that you value most, what you want to focus on, where you can save money, and how you would like to manage your own budget.

Here, Ruth Marshall, CEO of CGLA, draws on her 25 years of experience across more than 900 projects to provide some guidance.

Declaring our interest, at CGLA, we are specialist Designers and Landscapers with a turnkey project managed approach. This will not be the best fit for all projects, but having good base information will help you make the best possible decisions for your own needs.

Buckle up as this is a long one!

I will show :

PART 1 – Ballpark averages

  1. ‘Typical’ square metreage rates leading to example costs main landscaping elements on different size gardens
  2. The average impact of ‘Add-ons’ (and what they often are)
  3. IdentifiPart 1cation of what typically makes a project come in at the high or low end of the stated ranges (or off the scale!)

PART 2 – Worked examples

Summaries of 5 projects (reflecting the categories for the ballparks) with design overviews and costs

PART 1 – Ballpark averages

A) Typical cost per square metre for landscaping projects

Calculating averages per square metre for projects across a range of sizes that landscapers commonly deal with is a helpful start. This distils the wide range of sites, aspirations and real-world decisions that are taken by those looking to undertake a landscaping project into some simple ranges.

Checking these with my experienced team, these feel about right – the numbers are big, and often much more than most people expect, perhaps because there is little available general advice on the typical costs.

So to cover the core elements of a landscaping project (all the main hard and soft landscaping including clearing, waste, mid to high-end materials and excellent planting) we see a range of £160 to £300 per square metre (inclusive of VAT).

On this basis simple arithmetic drives the following ranges:

Base landscaping costs– Ballpark costs by garden size inclusive of VAT

Garden size (sqm) Lower rate Higher rate

Costs are for the UK home counties, as at 2024, are INCLUSIVE of VAT, and assume a full managed build to an excellent standard.

B) Typical average cost per square metre for landscape ‘add ons’

Most projects include some ‘Add-ons’ above and beyond the main landscaping (such as pools, pergolas, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, major ground or retaining works, lighting, play equipment and furniture). Unsurprisingly the cost of those can shift totals massively. Including these in the averages is shown below:

‘All-in’ landscaping costs– Ballpark costs by garden size inclusive of optional add-ons and VAT

Costs are for the UK home counties, as at 2024, are INCLUSIVE of VAT, and assume a full managed build to an excellent standard.

As a rule, the larger the scale of the garden, the more of the project becomes ‘optional’- ie goes beyond the basic hard and soft landscaping and will include more of these other elements. Many people will not in fact consider these optional at the start of the journey- you might consider the outdoor kitchen or lighting to be core to the design of the garden- but this is precisely why a ballpark estimate can be very misleading if this is not factored into the thinking!

C) What makes landscaping projects higher or lower in cost

Some of these factors can drive a multiple of costs. Site access is often a big one- being able to get a digger and other machinery in is assumed in the averages. Roof terraces hit pretty much all the increased weighting factors and will typically fall outside of these ranges.

a) What sort of projects tend to be at the lower end (or below that) for a given size?

  • Those where the whole garden does not need revamping
  • Those without ‘add-ons’- (such as outdoor kitchens, pergolas, lighting, irrigation, play equipment and larger feature trees)
  • Gardens that largely need soft landscaping only (lawn is usually the lowest cost per square metre whereas stone and decking are amongst the highest)
  • Flat sites, with good access and little clearing or levelling/groundworks cost less than steep sites with tight access

b) What sort of projects tend to be at or above the upper end for a given size?

  • Complex designs on multiple levels
  • Large driveways with hard surfaces (particularly resin-bound gravel)
  • Selection of high-end materials and bespoke items
  • Multiple additional features such as outdoor kitchens, studios, pools, pergolas, lighting, irrigation, electric gates, and larger feature trees and hedging
  • Retaining works, raised patios and engineered or safety structures
  • Steep sites, poor access (tight side paths or through the house only).

c) Which items are often removed as part of a value-engineering exercise

Once a preliminary budget cost has been calculated, most people will seek an informed way to prioritise and value-engineer to bring the cost of landscaping their garden to a level they feel comfortable with. This is not about checking ‘best value’ in terms of quotes (which is a different exercise), but about understanding the broader costs for your stated requirements and better matching the two. Whilst this is often an iterative process, it is worth knowing that in most cases, changing materials or details can often shift the costs by up to 20%, but to achieve more significant savings, whole items may need to be removed or delayed, or the design may need a much bigger overhaul. The most common cost saving decisions are:

  • Change a driveway from hard paving to blockwork/tarmac or gravel
  • Remove or delay an outdoor kitchen or overhead structure
  • Reduce the amount of levelling or swap retaining walls to banking
  • Omit or reduce the scale of large specimen trees
  • Remove or simplify some boundary treatments or edgings

Some examples will help you to understand the common scale of “basics” versus “add-ons” and therefore the sort of discussions that will need to be had!

Examples of landscape projects with costs:

To illustrate the above and get across some of the more common drivers of variability, I have included 5 examples here. These are based on real examples of recent projects.

  • 75sqm makeover £12,000 base price (including VAT), with £4,300 of optional extras. Flat garden.
  • 300sqm rear garden full makeover, £65,000 base price (including VAT) with up to £17,000 of additional items. Flat garden.
  • 450 sqm rear garden full makeover, £76,000 base price (including VAT) with up to £32,000 of optional additions. Broadly flat garden, but house floor level raised.
  • 800 sqm front and rear garden, £200,000 base price (including VAT), up to £106,000 of optional additions (including a pool). Broadly flat plot.
  • 900sqm steep rear garden, £204,000 base price including VAT £118,000 optional additions

Garden 1:

75sqm REAR GARDEN

PARTIAL MAKEOVER

£12-16,000 (inc VAT)

A redesign to add some paving to the rear of the garden and an elegant path leading to it with associated planting and site decoration. This is below the cost of the lower end of the full makeover range as some elements of the hard landscaping are already in place.

spring garden inspiration for hedgerows
spring garden inspiration for hedgerows

What was there:

  • 75 square metre plot
  • The studio at the back of the house, paving adjacent to the house and retaining wall (to step up to lawn) are existing.
  • Lawn is ok but will need some repair after paving
  • Fencing is ok
  • Large tree front right is existing

What is being added:

  • Brick path 4 sqm
  • 30cm retaining wall at rear (to step down to rear patio)
  • Strip and prepare planting areas with 9 linear metres of steel lawn edging
  • 2 specimen Acer trees at 2m tall
  • 7 sqm of decorative planting
  • 19 sq m of paving for rear terrace- a sawn (ie smooth) grey sandstone with new base

Optional Extras:

Garden 2

450 sqm REAR GARDEN

FULL MAKEOVER 

£65,000 base price (including VAT) with up to £17,000 of optional additions.

A traditional garden redesign, including new paving, paths, substantial structural tree planting and a large dining pergola.

spring garden inspiration for hedgerows
spring garden inspiration for hedgerows

What was there:

  • 450 sqm rear level garden
  • Lawn needs levelling and replacing entirely
  • Site is level, access and boundary fencing is ok

What are we adding/removing:

  • Clear site (Strip old turf, paving and assorted waste-skips away)
  • Remove some large trees
  • Large oak pergola
  • 115 sqm of top quality paving plus gravel areas, brick detailing, and edgings (excavate, prepare base, supply, fit and point)
  • 70 sqm of lawn (Strip old turf level, prepare, turf)
  • Strip and prepare planting areas with 30 linear metres of steel lawn edging
  • 130 sqm of decorative planting (strip turf, prepare soil, supply plant and mulch)
  • 10 specimen trees (Supply plant and anchor)

Optional Extras:

  • Irrigation
  • Lighting
  • Pots

Garden 3

300 sqm REAR GARDEN

FULL MAKEOVER

£75,000 base price (including VAT) with up to £32,000 of additional items

Stylish complete revamp including full patio near house and studio, paths, screen planting and new lawns.

spring garden inspiration for hedgerows
spring garden inspiration for hedgerows

What was there:

  • A larger garden at 450 sqm
  • The studio at the back of the house is existing as is canopy over patio and one of the larger feature trees
  • Lawn needs levelling and replacing entirely
  • Canopy over patio is existing
  • Access and Boundary fencing is ok

What are we adding/removing:

  • Clear site (Strip old turf, deck and paving and assorted waste-skips away)
  • 150 sqm of top quality paving (excavate, prepare base, supply, fit and point)
  • 175sqm of lawn (Strip old turf level, prepare, turf)
  • Strip and prepare planting areas with 30 linear metres of steel lawn edging
  • 50 sqm of decorative planting (strip turf, prepare soil, supply plant and mulch)
  • 6 specimen trees at 3-3.5m (Supply plant and anchor)
  • 6 sqm gravel section with 9 linear m of steel edging (Excavate, create base and fit)

Optional Extras:

  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Lounge furniture
  • Dining furniture
  • Irrigation
  • Lighting
  • Removal of large stand of leylandii at rear boundary

Garden 4

800 sqm FRONT AND REAR GARDEN

FULL MAKEOVER

£200,000 base price (including VAT), up to £106,000 of optional additions (including a pool).

Broadly flat plot but house higher.

Complex redesign with some level changes around house to accommodate, front and rear gardens, including driveway and pool.

spring garden inspiration for hedgerows
spring garden inspiration for hedgerows

What was there:

  • 800 sqm of front and rear gardens to be completely revamped after a building project
  • The studio at the back of the house is part of the main build project
  • Access on tight road with little space for deliveries
  • Boundary fencing is ok but some TPO trees to work around
  • Complex levels around house

What are we adding/removing:

  • Significant site clearance (Strip old turf, deck and paving and assorted waste-skips away)
  • 425 sqm of top quality paving/tile and gravel including driveway and pool surround. Patio raised with retaining walls and steps (excavate, prepare bases, supply, fit and point)
  • 100 sqm of lawn (Strip old turf level, prepare, turf)
  • Strip and prepare planting areas with 30 linear metres of steel lawn edging
  • 230 sqm of decorative planting (strip turf, prepare soil, supply plant and mulch)
  • 18 specimen trees including large ones for rear screening (Supply plant and anchor)
  • 16 linear metres decorative ironwork fencing and gates

Optional Extras:

  • Large, tank fed irrigation system including pop-ups for lawn
  • Large lighting system attached to Lutron
  • Bespoke water wall

Garden 5

900sqm STEEP REAR GARDEN

FULL MAKEOVER

£204,000 base price including VAT £118,000 optional additions

A complete redesign of a steep rear garden, creating a larger lower terrace with pergola and fireplace, step access to rear of garden, firepit with built in seating and extensive paths, retaining structures and planting

spring garden inspiration for hedgerows
spring garden inspiration for hedgerows

What was there:

  • 900 sqm of steep rear gardens to be completely reprofiled
  • Some retaining structures in place
  • Access through client garage
  • Boundary fencing is ok but lots of TPO trees to work around
  • Complex levels and services

What are we adding/removing:

  • Significant site clearance (Strip old retaining structures, remove significant spoil and paving with assorted waste-skips and grabs away)
  • 40 linear metres of curved retaining walls up to 2m in height, some clad in natural stone dry-stone wall effect
  • 135 sqm of top quality paving with sett detailing and drainage (excavate, prepare bases, supply, fit and point)
  • 100 sqm of resin bound gravel paths with steel edging
  • 250 sqm of lawn (Strip old turf level, prepare, turf)
  • Strip and prepare planting areas with steel lawn edging
  • 280 sqm of decorative planting including mature hedging (strip turf, prepare soil, supply plant and mulch)
  • 5 specimen trees (Supply plant and anchor)

Optional Extras:

  • Tap fed irrigation to patio planting only
  • Large lighting system attached to Rako
  • Built in wood-burner and chimney
  • Large bespoke corten planters
  • High end steel pergola with louvered roof and heating
  • Bespoke corten steps

None of these will be directly comparable with what you are looking to do in your garden, but hopefully these examples will help answer the question you all want to know – how much will it cost to landscape my garden? and hopefully give you some ideas for your new garden while we are at it! 

CGLA are an award winning team of Garden Designers, Landscape Architects, Landscapers and Garden Maintenance Operatives working in Buckinghamshire, London and the South East, as well as on prestigious design projects across the UK and abroad. We are currently working in Oman, Jersey and France, and welcome enquires for design, landscaping or garden maintenance. Contact us here