How much does a landscaper cost? How much should I invest in my garden?

We are often asked these questions. Two basic costs are involved when contracting with a landscaper, namely:

  • Design costs
    The cost to design the garden, similar to an architect’s fees when building a house
  • Installation costs
    The cost to install the design, similar to construction costs when building a house

Garden design fees vary. Factors including the scale, scope and complexity of the design influence design fees. Consequently, garden installation costs are determined by the elements included in the scope and scale of the final design. It follows that the larger the space to plant, the larger must be. In other words, larger gardens require bigger budgets for landscaping.

Gardens for every budget?

The good news is yes, there is a garden for every budget. The not so good news is that the photos of our work that you see take more than the bare minimum. Spruce up a very small garden space for a few thousand rand, no problem. Create paradise in your backyard for a few thousand rand? Not realistic.


Understanding landscaping pricing is easy. Compare it to buying ingredients for lunch at a supermarket. Think of lunch. A freshly baked loaf of bread and a tub of butter provides a tasty meal. Alternatively, buying smoked salmon, fillet steak and imported ice-cream also provides a tasty meal. In other words, while both of these scenarios provide a nice lunch, each comes at a very different price point. Clearly, the higher priced lunch provides a more substantial and arguably tastier meal. The less expensive lunch will still provide a great meal! It is simply a case of different horses for different courses. Some clients require more of a ‘nip and tuck’, while others are looking for a full makeover.

Garden costs

Now put this train of thought into a garden context. Landscaping includes mostly plants and features added to your garden. The more features, the higher the cost will be. Larger features also cost more. The larger the area to be covered by plants and features, the more it will cost. Service providers with larger infrastructure and higher levels of supervision cost more. Value lies in the peace of mind and and ‘awesome’ garden compared to a ‘nice’ garden.

Internationally, the guideline is to budget approximately 10% of the cost of your house in your garden. This is not a hard and fast rule, it is simply a guideline. In the South African context, many residential gardens are relatively small as the house and paving can take up most of the available space on the stand. Consequently, in many cases, South African gardens find themselves costing around 5% to 7.5% of the cost of the house.

In conclusion

The less one does in terms of landscaping, the less it costs. We can ‘landscape’ your garden for just R5,000 by planting a solitary tree and surrounding it with a few bags of pebbles. However, while this could give a somewhat ‘zen’ look, it would not look like the kind of our previous work that you will find on our website (photo gallery, before and after gallery). Simply put, the more you put into your garden the more beautiful it will look and the higher the initial installation cost will be.

Our video takes some of the mystery out of landscaper pricing. It explains how the same piece of property could be landscaped in different ways at different price points.

Looking for a stylish designer fire pit to enhance the landscaping of your outdoor space? Have a look at our FireBlades range of designer fire pits.