Everything you need to know about landscaping costs & ROI

Beautifying and increasing the functionality of outdoor spaces has been top of mind for most homeowners in the past 2 years. It’s easy (and entertaining) to scroll through beautifully manicured landscapes on Instagram or Pinterest but, when it comes time to transform your own yard, the process gets a lot less clear, especially when it comes to money. Fortunately, we teamed up with Realm to break down everything you need to know about landscaping costs & ROI and give you the tools to turn your landscaping vision into a reality.

Realm is a free-to-use resource for homeowners to learn how to best manage their biggest asset — their home. With hundreds of data points on 80 million single-family homes across the country, Realm is the most powerful, action-oriented tool for helping you invest in and get the most out of your home. Realm’s mission is to democratize access to all the real estate data that professional investors have had access to for decades. 

In this article we’ll provide you’ll learn: 

  1. This past year’s landscaping trends
  2. How landscaping affects home value
  3.  Landscaping costs over time
  4. Detailed breakdown of landscaping costs
  5. How to use Realm to understand landscaping costs and ROI

What’s trending in 2021

This year, we saw the outdoors take center stage as we sought places to find a bit of reprieve from the indoors. In general, homeowners looked to open up their home for an indoor/outdoor lifestyle, create space for outdoor socializing, and bring the outdoors in by designing beautiful landscapes outside of their windows. Firepits, outdoor lighting, and front yard social areas are helping people take advantage of their yards year round and change the way that we gather. 

Additionally, homeowners doubled down on natural, imperfect landscapes using native plants, organic material, and vertical gardens. We even saw clients re-thinking the way that their children play in the yard, switching out constructed play structures in favor of things like climbing walls and zip lines. 

As we continue to adjust to our new normal, homeowners realize the importance of creating a space to relax and unwind. As we look forward to 2022, we can expect to see these trends continue with an emphasis on landscaping being a big part of the homeowner experience as well as the buying/selling market. 

Tilly Client 3D Render

Home value increase

When it comes to designing the perfect outdoor space for you, your lifestyle, and your property, that’s Tilly’s specialty. When it comes to providing property-specific data insights for home projects, that’s where Realm comes in! 

On average, landscaping increases your home value by 1.22% which, for a $600,000 home in the US, is a home value increase of $7,294.05. Realm is able to calculate how landscaping, and other specific projects, increase your home value by comparing your home with the valuation of similar homes in your area with and without these features.

Below showcases some of the most popular backyard projects, their cost, home value increase, and % recoup based on a $600,000 home. You’ll notice that landscaping is one with the highest return on investment on average!

Average Home Value IncreaseAverage Cost% Recoup
Fire Pit$6,820.87$3,011226.53%
Pergola$5,740.92$4,875117.76%
Landscaping$7,294.05$9,17879.47%
Deck$10,265.57$6,012170.75%
Backyard Gym/Office$24,125$67,59435.69%
Pool$9,189.91$50,27618.28%
Outdoor kitchen$3,537.05$53,9646.55%
Driveway Replacement$12,498.69$4,135.4252%
Patio$6,284.10$4,548138%
Provided by Realm

Landscaping Costs Over Time 

Now that you have a sense of how much landscaping and outdoor renovations can increase your home’s value, you may be wondering, “What can I do to retain this value over time?”. In this case, we’re talking about depreciation, or the rate something diminishes in value over time and is no longer increasing the value of your home.

According to Realm, landscaping will drive an initial boost in home value that can  then depreciate over the course of the subsequent 10 years. However, the good news is – unlike home projects, such as painting, installing carpet, or remodeling a bathroom – regular maintenance and proper care for your landscape can dramatically improve longevity and value. Landscape designs take time to mature and grow into themselves and can initially appreciate in value. With regular pruning, watering, mulching and care they will continue to hold their value for years to come. Tilly also finds that a well landscaped home will sell faster than one with poor curb appeal or lack of outdoor entertaining space. This is something you can keep in consideration when considering your landscape design budget.

Depreciation should also be considered in context with the overall cost and home value increase for a particular project. Realm’s cost and ROI estimates provide you with detailed insights on how renovations can increase your home value and, thus, allow you to calculate its value over time. This information is invaluable when trying to understand how much your home is worth after upgrades, use, and in between appraisals.

Realm Information

Breaking Down Landscaping Costs

A simple google search will tell you that the average landscaping project in the US is approximately $9,178. Given the variable in the scope, local material and labor costs, and the customizations of each individual landscaping costs, this information is only a ballpark estimate. When you work with Realm, you can get a breakdown of property-specific prices associated with your project, such as square footage (landscaping both front and back yards); hardscaping (patios and decks, stonework, and pergolas); adding mature trees; or installing a fire pit (gas fire pits, custom built, natural gas, etc.). 

As you set out to complete a landscaping project, there are few things more valuable than an accurate cost estimate. Cost estimates help you accurately scope your project, assess contractor quotes, and prioritize features based on your budget and preferences. Realm can also provide in depth detail on the average labor, material, and total cost for landscaping features in your area, helping you feel confident that you’re making the right decision for your budget and the unique features or your property. 

In order to accurately estimate a landscaping project cost, you need detailed pricing. Below are the types of labor and material costs for the most common landscaping features.

CategorySub-CategoryAverage Labor PriceAverage Material PriceAverage Total PriceAmounts & Units
PathwayFlag Stone$646.00$534.00$1,180.00Price per average area of 200 sq ft
Patio Brick$968.00$2,260.00$3,228.00Price per average area of 200 sq ft
Plant InstallationTree (sapling)$440.00$110.00$550.00Price per 1 tree
Mature Tree$1,800.00$450.00$2,250.00Price per 1 tree
SodFescue$2,150.00$3,975.00$6,125.00Price per average area of 2,500 sq ft
Install an awningRetractable$645.60$1,935.60$2,581.20Price per average area of 120 sq ft
FenceWood$5,303$2,892$8,194238 linear feet of fencing, 5’ – 6’ ft tall
DrainageFrench$2,172.5$1,777.5$3,950Price per 1 drainage system
Water FountainConcrete$1,590$1,060$2,650Price per 1 water fountain
Additional ProjectsStepping Stones$75.60$140.40$216.00Price per 6 stone average
Outdoor Lighting$324.00$396.00$720.00Price per 6 fixture average
Mulch$230.00$490.00$720.00Price per 1,000 sq ft average area
Install Turf$6,080.00$7,430.00$13,510.00Price per 1,000 sq ft average area
Install Drainage System$2,172.50$1,777.50$3,950.00Price per 1 unit
Tree Removal$409.50$45.50$455.00Price per 1 tree
Provided by Realm

Starting Your Outdoor Project


Realm’s accurate cost estimates span a range of projects, from deck installations to front yard native landscaping, and are customized to your local prices. Their tool also shows you how much value a project will add to your home, so you can easily see the return on your investment (ROI). Check out their services by creating an account and exploring landscaping project cost & ROI estimates customized to your preferences and property. Take a look at their Property Plan free to all single-family homeowners across the US (view a demo). With Tilly and Realm, you have everything you need to understand your landscape budget and get started on your landscape makeover.

Tilly Client in Denver Installing their Design

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