They say that the UK is a nation of gardeners. So, it’s no wonder that people spend many hundreds of pounds on a backyard makeover and many thousands of pounds if it needs landscape gardening too. Many households enjoy entertaining, relaxing or pottering in the garden, while others just want somewhere for the kids to play. A garden can do all this and more if you plan it correctly.
The cost of landscaping your garden in the UK will vary depending on how much you can afford and how much of the work you can do unaided. Don’t worry, it’s very easy to hire a landscape gardener to help with the work you can’t do. From cutting the lawn every couple of weeks to a major garden makeover, it’s up to you.
Keeping your garden tidy will increase the value of your property and make it easier to sell. But that’s not all, if you have trees in your garden, their shade can help keep your property cool in the summer and their structure acts as a windbreak in winter, helping to keep you warm.
Garden makeover costs aren’t all expensive. If you break down a large job, costing many thousands of pounds, into more manageable smaller chunks, you’ll find there are tasks you and your family can complete, without resorting to professional help. So, suddenly a job that was out of your financial reach suddenly becomes one you can afford.
Garden landscaping price list
Let’s have a look at how much landscaping can cost for a typical garden. Obviously, the size of your garden might range in size from a “pocket–handkerchief”, with a few plant pots, to a multi-level expanse of ground complete with decking and pond. However, according to the UK Government’s Office of National Statistics, the average UK garden size sits at around 188m2, with London’s gardens being smaller and Scotland’s being larger.
It’s very difficult to give accurate examples of a typical landscape gardening job. They vary just as much as the size of your garden, and the work that needs to be done. However, to cover the ground with turf costs about £10 to £20/m2, and artificial grass works out at least £60/m2. Meanwhile, an average–sized patio costs around £80/m2 to install. Similarly, a cheap pine deck will set you back about £70/m2, and a hardwood deck will be at least £200/m2.
Let’s look at these figures in more detail and expand on the number of options available.
Landscaping jobs & Prices:
|Landscaping job||Unit price||Estimated cost|
|Patio||£100/m2||£800 for 4m x 2m area|
|Decking||£100 to £125/m2||£800 to £1000 for 4m x 2m area|
|Remove patio & replace with lawn||£60/m2||£500 for 4m x 2m area|
|Real grass||£12 to 16/m2||Around £560 per 40m2 area|
|Artificial grass||£65 to £80/m2||£3000 for 40m2 area|
|Outdoor lighting||Prices vary depending on the number of units and style. The average cost to install one light costs about £150|
|Resin–bound pathway||Materials cost between £20 and £80/m2. Probably be a minimum cost of £2000|
|Fencing (1.83m high panels)||£50 to £100/m (£125 for each good quality panel)||Around £1000 for 4m x 4m garden|
|Brick wall||£54/m||£650 for 1m x 12m wall|
|Raised vegetable beds||£30 to £130/m2||£200 to £800 for 4m x 1.5m depending on the height|
|Rockery||N/A||£300 to £500|
|Shingle path||£0.85/m2||£500 for 6m x 1m path|
|Pond||N/A||£400 to £800 for 1.5m diameter|
|Railway sleepers||£50 per 2.4m x 100mm x 200mm||£1040 for about 50m|
You’ll need to do some, if not all of these tasks when carrying out a garden redesign. However, remember that you can use these when landscaping a sloping garden as well as a level one. It’s just easier working on a level garden.
Laying a patio
Laying a patio will cost about £100/m2 including excavation of the excess soil, laying hardcore and sand, before finishing with cement and slabs. Remember that you must have a suitable base so your patio won’t subside or slip. Therefore, don’t hire anyone who says they can lay slabs directly onto the soil.
An average–sized patio of around 16m2 will take about 2 to 3 days to complete, depending on the size and details. The professional will charge you extra for a waste skip to remove the soil. Or, you might be able to use it in the garden.
Building a deck
Assuming the ground is already level and you have decided on the type of wood you want, this job will take about 2 to 3 days for a deck of 16m2. The price given in the table above assumes minimal features, but if the deck is higher than 150mm above lawn level, you will need a handrail around the deck. Furthermore, you can use softwood or hardwood in its construction, and the price will vary accordingly.
Remove patio and replace with lawn
Many people like to have an old and dated patio replaced with new turf. Ensure the professional has a waste skip on hand to take away the rubble when they’re levelling the garden. This total job should take about 2 days to complete and cost approximately £500 for an 8m2 patio removal.
Probably, laying turf is cheaper than all other garden surfaces. And it’s simple enough for most people to do without expert advice. Rake the soil flat and fine, and use good quality turf from a recognised garden centre or landscape gardener. Then, once it’s laid, just keep the surface well watered to encourage grass growth and very soon you’ll have a perfect lawn.
Laying artificial grass gives a surface that kids will love to play on while making sure you do the absolute minimum in maintenance. However, it’s more expensive than real grass, as you can see from the table. Get a professional to install this, as you need to prepare the sub–base properly with weed prevention fabric and use other fittings for a good finish.
Ask an electrician to install outdoor lighting as you must comply with many regulations for it to be safe and legal. Prices vary for fittings, and the length of cable run. Also, installing lights at a distance from the house, you must have the power cables buried underground. Whereas, a patio joined to the house can often be powered directly without a trench. An electrician will charge an average of £40/hr so make sure you have the trench dug and everything ready before he arrives. Probably, you’ll also find that electricians charge a minimum fee. This might sound expensive but it’s always a good idea to use a professional.
Resin pathways need a skilled professional to install properly. You might find that a landscape gardener won’t have this level of specialist training so it‘s better to pay out the extra cash to make sure it‘s done properly. And, a professional resin–bound driveway installer will guarantee a good job that will last years. Specialist trades will always cost more than usual. But, it’s worth it in the long term. Costs lie between £20 and £80/m2, but you’ll find the trader will have a minimum charge of perhaps £2000 or more.
You can either install ready-made fencing panels onto pre-installed posts. Or, have a fence built on–site from lengths of timber. The posts will need to be concreted into the ground to provide firm and stable support for the fence. A landscape gardener can install fence panels, without any problem. But, if you want anything special built from scratch it’s a good idea to hire a professional carpenter at between £17 to £25/hr.
A single skin brick wall for the garden must be strong as well as looking good. You’ll need at least 100mm thick concrete foundations along its entire length, as well as brick piers at set intervals along its length for support. Landscapers can usually do work like this. But, if you must hire a bricklayer, it’ll cost about £150 to £200 for an experienced bricklayer. Or, you might get a set price quote per 1000 bricks.
Raised beds are the best way to grow vegetables. First, you need to enclose an area with strong timber or brick walls and infill with good quality topsoil. The cost of a raised bed will depend on the area enclosed, and the height of the beds. So, raised beds cost around £30 to £130/m2 depending on the height and how much soil you need.
To have a rockery professionally designed and built will probably cost about £350 to £500 depending on its size, how many rocks you want and the type of plants. However, the beauty of a rockery lies more in doing it yourself. So, have a go at designing one. There are plenty of tutorials online that will walk you through it. And, you don’t even need to buy rocks. There are plenty of people near you advertising them on social media or in the local newspaper as surplus to requirements. They might even be free of charge!
These are easy to build by almost anyone who has a few gardening tools. But, if you want a professional to do the work expect to pay no more than £500 for a 6m x 1m path. This will include materials and labour and will take about a day.
No garden is complete without a pond. Even if you have small children, you can cover it with steel mesh to make it safe. And, the payback from the wildlife a pond attracts, will be a thing of joy to all children and adults. Furthermore, the pond will be just as good if it’s a small one. And, needs less digging out than a large pond. For a professional to build a medium–sized pond about 1.5m in diameter will cost between £400 to £800 and will include digging out, removing soil, installing a liner and filling with water and plants.
If you want some pond ideas on a budget, try asking a neighbour if you can have some pond weed cuttings. Or, get hold of an old bathtub or sink and bury them in the ground up to the rim. Remember that plants grow so, it might seem a bit empty at first, but in a few weeks, it’ll be thriving with plant and insect life.
Railway sleepers are difficult to get hold of these days. So, we’ll include any sturdy baulk of timber in this category such as 100mm x 200mm sawn. The timber has to be tanalised or treated with another preservative to protect against rot. They’re useful for edging plant borders, paths, and raised beds, and many other structural garden features. Also, prices vary depending on whether you buy them directly from a local sawmill or through garden centres. Also, there are different grades available. So, if you’re happy to use some with a few splits and knots then they’ll be a lot cheaper than construction grade timber.
What is the difference between gardening and landscaping?
Many people use these two terms interchangeably. However, although they have a lot in common, they also have many differences.
First, they both deal with improving the natural beauty of outdoor spaces using rocks, plant and various natural features. Beyond this, they diverge from the common ground.
Gardening is all about looking after and growing plants in pots or the ground. It incorporates tending a single plant, to looking after entire gardens containing many different species of plant. A gardener might specialise in flowers for their visual appeal or edible vegetables and fruit. Or, might do both. Most gardeners are amateur and do it as a hobby. But, some are professionals and have a horticulture or botany qualification. Gardeners’ rates of pay vary depending on their experience but start at between £10 to 20/hr.
A landscape gardener, or landscaper, concentrates more on the overall design and construction of the garden. They also use plants and flowers, but only as part of the overall design. They also use ponds, sculpture, topiary, hedges, walls and rocks. Landscapers are mostly professional and usually, landscape architects. But, if you’re keen, and have a flair for design, you can have a go at your own garden refurbishment as an amateur. Landscape gardeners earn between £15 and £40/hr.
What do most landscapers charge per hour?
Firstly, let’s get something clear. You might find a superb gardener who has a natural flair for landscaping and no qualifications whatsoever. Or, you might find a degree educated landscape architect with no experience of getting their hands dirty and can’t think in terms of projects smaller than municipal parks.
So, there are non–skilled landscapers and gardeners, who will cut the lawn or strim, dig a hole for the pond, and many other non-skilled jobs who will charge you about £10/hr. Next, the minimum rate for a gardener who knows what they’re doing will be about £15/hr. While the commonest rate for a landscaper is about £20/hr.
Then there are the specialists. For example, someone who specialises in ponds and lakes will charge around £25 to £35/hr, as will other specialists. Also, if someone specialises in trees, such as a tree surgeon or arborist, they’ll need specialist insurance, equipment and qualifications, and will charge on average about £40 to £45/hr. Arborists work in teams so this rate will be per person.
Soft vs Hard Landscaping
Both soft and hard landscaping is necessary for a balanced and satisfying garden experience. Hard landscaping (or hardscaping) deals with rocks, concrete, bricks, metal, stone and sculpture. While in contrast, soft landscaping (softscaping) deals with plants, grass, trees and so on. In a nutshell, you could say that softscaping deals with living things, while hardscaping doesn’t. That doesn’t mean that hardscaping is bad in a garden. For example, you can create many small garden ideas if you’re on a budget by using concrete blocks and small ornaments. Or, use interlocking retaining wall blocks to produce a backdrop for your climbing plants. The ideas are almost endless.
A well–designed garden needs a balance of both types. We’ve probably all seen a front garden with hard paving for car parking. Now, if you don’t have some plant pots, you run the risk of looking like a hotel forecourt or a commercial building. As a contrast, in the back garden, we have a lawn and flower borders. Maybe even a vegetable patch and a couple of trees. But, if you don’t have some hardscaping, it might look like a jungle with no garden paths and nothing to focus on. Don’t forget, you can use simple items such as a few garden gnomes, a bird feeding table and a concrete birdbath. And, if you have space, complete your hardscape with a patio or decking and some trellis.
Other useful hard landscaping materials include gravel, paving and trellis. Moreover, bird feeders, water features and ponds use inanimate structures to define focal points. But, also encourage wildlife such as birds, frogs and insects into the garden.
One of the biggest advantages of having a hardscape structure in the garden is that it keeps the softscape bound into one place and helps prevent erosion. Furthermore, if you live in an area that doesn’t get enough rain, or experiences too much wind, you can fill your garden with screens and structures designed to protect the plants from the extremes of weather.
Garden Landscaping FAQ
What’s the best ground cover for dogs?
The most important way to ensure your garden is pet friendly is to find out what plants are poisonous to your pet. Ask your vet for a list of toxic plants and make sure you don’t have these in your garden. And, always use pet–friendly fertilisers, fungicides and pesticides. Furthermore, slug bait is notorious for poisoning animals. And, don’t forget to keep them out of reach of small children too.
Remember that dogs and cats walk around with no protection on their feet. Gravel and small sharp stones are uncomfortable to walk on. Instead, use concrete, grass and paving slabs. Not only that but remember that dogs will often play with small stones and sometimes swallow them.
How can I landscape my garden cheaply?
There are plenty of ways to landscape a garden on a budget.
- Use alternatives to purchased mulch. Use gravel or stone chippings around your plants to keep the weeds down. Others include grass clippings, shredded newspaper and compost.
- If you have some old car tyres in the garage or shed, place them around the garden and fill with soil or compost. You can then plant them up just like any other container, either on the ground or hanging on a wall. If you want to, try spray painting them with different colours.
- If you have a small area to landscape, plant vertically. Use a trellis or hanging baskets as somewhere different to grow your plants. There are many plants you can use, tomatoes, strawberries, beans and peas, are just a few.
- To help reduce the grocery bills, try planting useful plants. Choose vegetables that have beautiful flowers to brighten up your garden.
- To reduce the amount of weeding, and to stop using harmful weed killers, plant perennial ground covering plants. Some examples of these include creeping periwinkle, moss, violets, pansies, chamomile and many more.
- Plant a tree. Planting a sapling is one of the cheapest ways to landscape your garden. You need a sapling, a garden spade and some compost. It’s a simple job and don’t forget to water it when it’s in the ground.
- Reuse and recycle as much as you can. Not only does it help the environment, but it can also look pretty cool as well.
What is the best type of rock for landscaping?
There’s a variety of different rock or stone you can use in the garden.
- Weathered granite is cheap and very attractive with its reddish colour and sandy texture. You can use it as a mulch around trees or as a footpath covering.
- Pea gravel, also known as pea grit is typically a few millimetres in diameter. They come in many colours ranging from white to brown. You can use it on your driveway, between paving stones, along paths or as a mulch.
- Crushed granite stones are larger than weathered granite. They have a completely different texture but looks just as good.
- Pumice (or lava rock) looks good in the garden and comes in a variety of bold and vibrant colours. They are lightweight and easy to carry, meaning you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to use them.
- River washed gravel comes in different colours and is larger than pea gravel. It consists of smooth pebbles of different sizes from about 10mm up to 100mm. Also, you can use the larger pebbles as an edge to the flower borders or use them in a water feature.
How do you prepare the ground for rock landscaping?
The first and most important job is to remove all weeds, roots and other vegetation from the bed. Then, dig down in the soil to a depth of about 175mm. This means the finished surface will be more in line with the existing ground level. Then, line the hollow with a geotextile to prevent any weeds from growing up through the stones. Geotextiles also allow water to drain through so you won’t end up with a shallow pond. If you intend having plants or trees in the area, cut a cross slit in the fabric using some scissors to allow the roots to gain a hold. Next, pin the fabric flaps away so that they don’t rub against the stems. Finally lay the stone or pebbles to the required depth. Use small stones like pea gravel in areas without plants and larger river pebbles where you intend planting.
What can I use instead of landscape fabric?
Believe it or not, a few layers of cardboard or newspaper make an ideal alternative to geotextile landscape fabric. Also, you have the added advantage of adding nutrients to the soil as the layers decompose. But, cardboard takes longer to rot down than newspaper does.
Another useful recycle is to use an old carpet or rug as landscape fabric. This won’t decompose as fast as cardboard and does tend to smell when it’s wet. But, if you keep it covered with a few centimetres of gravel you won’t smell a thing.
Does landscaping a garden add value?
Yes, it does. But, don’t go and completely relandscape your back garden if you intend moving. A well maintained and cared for garden is just as good. Keep it neat and tidy and you’ll be okay. Now, if your garden is untidy and scruffy, you will definitely lose value, as the new occupier will have to work on it before they can enjoy it. Most property buyers want somewhere they can move into and enjoy the garden until they’ve worked out how they want to change it. So, major landscaping will look good if you intend to move. But, is probably a waste of money.
what is the best low maintenance ground cover?
If you’re not really into gardening in a big way, probably the best ground cover is grass. It looks good, is hard–wearing, and is easy on children’s bare feet. However, grass needs to be cut a couple of times a week in the summer and in most of the UK, will need cutting occasionally during the winter, except perhaps in January.
You can plant many perennials to create good ground covering without having to mow or water. The type of plant you choose will depend on how you intend using the ground. If it’s in place of a lawn, use chamomile as a hardy perennial that you can walk on very easily. However, if you intend covering borders to prevent weeds, there are many different species you can use. Here are just a few of the most popular.
- Low growing juniper hugs the ground and provides colour all year round.
- Cotoneaster is a lovely evergreen with green leaves turning to reddish-brown in the winter. Also, it produces attractive red berries throughout the winter.
- Greater periwinkle is a fast–growing cover. The plant produces purple star–shaped flowers and can be planted in partial shade or full sun.
- Broom produces yellow flowers all through the summer.
When choosing ground covering plants, remember to choose those that match the ground and environmental conditions found in your garden. Certain plants won’t grow if you live by the coast and have salt winds all the year, and others don’t like chalky soil, while some do.
Get advice from a professional gardener, your local garden centre or one of the thousands of gardening books available to buy.
Get Landscaping Quotes
If you aren’t careful, the cost of garden landscaping can outstretch your bank balance. You will always need “something else” to make your garden perfect unless you have it planned out with the help of a landscape gardener. Complete the form on this page and you’ll get 3 or 4 quotes from suitable professionals living near you.