The Planned Costs and the Real Costs of a Landscape Renovation

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Today we finally finished our main bed! We placed the dwarf yaupons where we wanted them, planted 3 of the ‘Near East’ crapemyrtles, planted about 600 Dutch tulips in my “color changeout section” to give the bed some pop this spring, and planted the 100 or so Byzantine gladioli that I rescued from this renovation project. We also planted about 5 different clumps of Crinum ‘Mrs. James Hendry.’ I had some excellent helpers help me with the tulip planting.

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This is the 4th post about the brick patio garden bed makeover, and in this post we’re discussing the planned costs and the real costs of a landscape renovation.  This project has been going on since November of 2022. In this post we’ll cover the planned costs and the real costs of the project. Just so everyone knows where my brain was before we began, I thought this might be a $2,000 project – my loosely planned cost. I was wrong.

The postman, walking by and delivering the mail, made a comment to Jose about noticing an unwise use of money. Maybe he was right, but us gardeners also choose to spend our money differently. For example, my truck has 208,000 miles and I really don’t want to get a new one.

There are many reasons to spend the money to make your house beautiful. For one, you want where you live to be pretty. Two, these improvements are long term solutions that will benefit the garden and house overtime. Also, there is value added to a home with an improved landscape, but any Realtor will tell you that your true price improvements come with a kitchen and bathroom renovation. So, was it “worth it?” I would still say yes. Was it expensive? Yes, and while I’m not keen to share the actual cost, this blog is a service to anyone who might be embarking on a similar task, so here you go…

For a refresher, here was my outline as I described this entire garden project:

  1. The Steps Involved in Garden Design
  2. The Planned Costs and the Real Costs of a Landscape Renovation
  3. The Hidden Tasks
  4. The Cleanup and The Remaining Mess
  5. The Joy of the Process, Hosting During the Makeover, and Living With a Garden Makeover

The first point was titled “The Steps Involved in Garden Design” and we haphazardly covered that in a previous blog post. For many “do it yourself” type folks, design steps are loosely followed or not followed at all. Hopefully that post at least slows you down and helps you consider different aspects of the project before you do it yourself, or maybe even encourages you to hire a landscape professional. For the truly inspired, it might even direct you to look into a university degree in landscape horticulture or landscape architecture!

But back to earth and our homes. We’ve also already covered “the hidden tasks” and while more have seemingly popped up out of nowhere, I won’t bore you with the details. The real point of covering the hidden tasks, is that you will have them appear out of nowhere and you need to plan for them. If you think you are going to start and finish a massive landscaping project on one Saturday morning, you are probably mistaken. If your Saturdays are like mine, simply changing a faucet handle can turn into a 4 hour ordeal. Designing and planning for extra time is important, but would about the costs?

Let’s tackle the planned costs and the real costs! Just for reference, this blog is being written in early 2023 and covers costs from late 2022 through early 2023. I’m keen to share my real costs because we are all suspicious of the price tags we see flashed on the television of some home makeover show. We see a fabulous kitchen renovation, and then the screen pops up with a list of numbers like this:

Cabinets: $5,000

New Sink: $700

New Wooden Floors: $2,000

Total Brand New Amazing Kitchen Cost: $7,700!!

Yes, I’m exaggerating, they are not always THAT far off, but it certainly FEELS like they are that far off. Have you priced a kitchen renovation these days? My friend in Dallas had a quote to renovate his kitchen come in at $75,000. He couldn’t believe it, so he called another contractor friend…they said $80,000. Then he called someone he really trusted, and it was the “Oh friend, if you want your kitchen to look like THAT, you’re looking at $100,000.” After he picked up his jaw from the floor, he took a deep breath and re-evaluated his plans.

In that same vein, I want to share the real costs of what it took me:

Labor: $2,240

Irrigation Crew: $900

Plumbing: $300

Electrician: $1,850

Mason: $1,300

Excavator (plus concrete buggy and delivery): $540

Jack Hammer: $150

New Chain Saw: $375

Crapemyrtles: $125

Dwarf yaupon: $825

Soil (20 cubic yards with delivery): $680

$9,195 Total Cost*

$3,780 Total Cost if you remove the things most people won’t need (chainsaw, jackhammer, excavator and concrete buggy, mason, electrician, irrigation crew).

*This cost did not include the large cost of removing the dead water oak tree and grinding the stump.

In my opinion for most of you wanting to do a project like this, unless you are doing major renovations like we did, I believe the $3,780 cost is more realistic. That still involved soil and labor costs, as well as plant materials.

I’ll have another blog post and go into the details of each of these costs, but as you budget out your year for your next garden project, hopefully these numbers help you save and plan appropriately.

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