Garden landscaping is a trade that involves various skills that are built up over time and range in diversity to include design, plant knowledge, stone work, timber work and soil preparation to name a few so why is it that every landscaper I talk to complains about clients questioning the amount they should be paid?
I personally think it’s because people see landscaping as ‘gardening’ and something their grandparents did and not a highly skilled trade – which it is. I thought I’d clear the air a bit and outline the fees you should expect to pay for a landscaper:
Consultations – Remember you are using a landscaper’s time and expertise that they have studied long and hard for and taking their ideas to use with no promise of work. For all the landscaper knows you could be picking their brains for ideas and getting your brother-in-law to do the work on the cheap so expect to pay for their time. Prices will range due to the different level of expertise you could be getting but expect to pay between $200 and $500. For the upper price ranges you should also expect notes and pictures from your consultation so you can implement ideas yourself.
Maintenance – For those of you who think gardens are to be enjoyed and not worked in, getting someone in for the garden maintenance seems like a good idea. $40 per hour is reasonable for unqualified workers that should be able to cut hedges and mow lawns. Qualified horticulturalists should be able to do a lot more like detailed pruning, applications of fungicides and pesticides and soil maintenance etc. Expect to pay $55 per hour for this expertise.
Design – A good garden design can mean the success of a garden so you are paying for the experience of good ideas and planning. Prices will vary depending on the size of the plot but detailed plans will cost between $2000 and $5000 for the average garden depending on the level of designer you choose.
Plant Installation – This is a big sticking point with most landscapers and me in particular. Yes we do get plants at trade prices and no you as a client will not receive this discount. Plants are the way many in the green trade make money and it takes a lot of learning to know what to put where. You wouldn’t ask a plumber for cheap pipes or an electrician for cheap cables so don’t ask a landscaper for cheap plants. What you can expect is for the plants to be of the highest quality and for them to flourish in the garden.
Landscape installation – This will range hugely depending on the detail and size of a garden but tradesmen across the board should be paid around $60 per hour worked. I regularly install gardens ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 for an average sized garden. I strongly believe once the budget has been long forgotten the quality remains forever in your eye and this quality will take time to install.
I really don’t want to seem money hungry but people in the landscape industry deserve to be paid well for their expertise and time and shouldn’t have to worry about a pricing confrontation - so with all that said and done ... happy gardening!