The recent Chicago Auto Show showcased a dazzling variety of cars in all kinds of price ranges. Some visitors may have been there looking for a new car, with a budget in mind, while others went to dream about the possibilities.

Since spring is only a few weeks away (and you’ve found yourself reading our blog), you may already be thinking of landscaping your property this year. If you are considering using a professional for installation or maintenance services, it is helpful to think of budgeting for a landscape investment in a similar way to budgeting for a car.

There are times when you know you need to put some money away to maintain or purchase a vehicle. Maybe your worn-out sedan is crossing the 200,000 mile mark, or your family just outgrew the minivan. In determining your goals, you need to decide if you are going to downsize from the minivan you have been driving since the last millennium… or maybe it’s time to consider the sporty coupe you have been eyeing for years. Whatever the reason for your being ready to shop, you have to consider a budget range before shopping.


Considering maintenance? It is no different than when speaking with a landscape consultant. It is important to look at your needs in the same terms as spending money on your existing car. Are you looking for an “oil change”, “new wiper blades” or “transmission flush”? These are necessary periodic maintenance visits, with relatively small monthly costs involved. $0-$300.

This is similar to your typical landscape maintenance visit. These services involve mowing, pruning, fertilizing and spring/fall clean-up visits. These services can be presented in a seasonal cost, or spread out over a number of months.


Thinking of making small improvements to your vehicle to make it last a bit longer? Maybe you are not budgeting for a new car, but need to spend more than the typical maintenance costs to extend the life of what you have. The same principles exist your with your property. If you have made the decision to live in your home for years to come, landscape enhancements are often considered to update the look of your property. Consider improvements in your landscape in the same budget range as what you would spend on improving and extending the life of the car you are driving.

These enhancements are typically small plantings, hardscape projects, installing landscape lighting or possibly a small water feature added to the garden. $500-$3,000.

Start anew?

Or, are you considering purchasing a new car? If you decide to buy a new car, you have to decide on a feasible price range. Most people realize the price difference between a GM sedan and a BMW sedan, and know which one they will be able to afford.

This is a harder distinction to make when developing a landscape plan. Just like buying a car, it is important to set a realistic budget.  You may not know what landscaping costs, but you know what cars cost.  The two costs are very much the same. Some comparisons:

A nice landscape project can be accomplished for the price of a used car. $3,000-$15,000.

A complete landscape design and installation is about the price of a popular new car. $15,000-$35,000.

The larger and more detailed your project, the closer you get to the price range of premium class luxury cars. Upwards of $35,000+ 

A Budget Refines Your Project

It is important that you provide your designer/salesman with a price range so that they can realistically propose concepts that you will be able to conceivably purchase.

You won’t be interested in the economy car, when you have the budget and desire for the luxury car (or vice versa).

Some base models may be $40k, but you might be test driving the one that is $60k. Plan a budget range and discuss it with your landscape designer.  With this guidance, you will be presented with a design that will fit your expectations and not one that will break the bank.

Allow your designer to conceptualize with a budget in mind.  Your time spent in the preliminary stages of design will be much more effective and productive if you are on the same budget page.

Whether you are going to the mechanic, dealership, landscape designer or maintenance manager, it’s going to be an investment in time and money to find the best fit for you. Be open and honest with your designer, and they will strive to build you the best project within your budget. In the end, a good full-service landscape contractor aims for complete satisfaction with your landscape investment, and will strive to keep it looking great for years to come.