How much does a backyard renovation cost?  It's a question that many homeowners ponder if they're on the verge of upgrading their yard from an overgrown thicket to a beautifully landscaped oasis.  But how much money should you budget for this project?  According to Home Advisor's True Cost Guide, the average cost (including labor) to put down a new lawn with modest plantings and trees on a quarter acre of land runs anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000.  Looking for a more detailed breakdown?  Here's what you can expect to pay, how far your dollar will go and tips to help you save.

How much does a backyard renovation cost?

Several factors go into the cost, including the size of the lot, the quality of the soil and how extensive you plan to be with new plantings and irrigation.  But some of the most common line items on an average backyard renovation bill are sod installations, a deck or patio and landscape design.  Here is what you can expect to get in three ranges (estimated) of renovation costs:


In this price range, you will be able to buy plants, plant grass seed and cut back or trim trees.  "Plants usually make up one half of the landscaping," says Robert Himmaugh, manager of Acadian Windows & Siding - and outdoor renovation company.  "The costs will vary on the type of plants that you use."  A small tree can set you back $100, while a hardy Leyland Cypress hedge costs perhaps $34.


For this much more money, you will be able to do the same sort of landscape upgrades highlighted above and you can replace the lawn with new sod.  "Lawns that come from sod rolls can be anywhere from 25 cents to $1 per square foot," says Himmaugh.  If not more!  You will likely meet with a landscape designer who will lay out your backyard and charge you anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 +/- for a detailed plan.  "The price also jumps if you do anything with masonry work, because you have to hire a professional and permits are mandatory," says Triple Kocurek of Trine Agricultural Services.


This price range includes the same renovations mentioned earlier, plus hardscaping: any human-made features such as a patio, gazebo, path, firepit or pond.  "A new patio can cost anywhere from $3,000 upwards to $50,000, depending on size and materials," says Himmaugh.  Another popular backyard renovation is an outdoor kitchen.  According to Home Advisor, the average cost to build an outdoor kitchen is over $10,000, with some projects reaching $50,000.  This is mostly due to installation costs of electric, gas and water lines.  Keep in mind that additional costs can come up unexpectedly and quickly.  "If the yard has poor drainage, laying underground pipes to address the issue will add hundreds, if not thousands to the bottom line," says Home Adivsor's home expert, Dan DiClerico.  Or you may discover that you need to regrade the lawn, to direct water away from the foundation walls, for an average of $2,000.

How to save on the cost of a backyard upgrade

The American Society of Landscape Architects suggests that homeowners budget the cost of a major landscaping project at 5-10% of their home's value.  But that doesn't mean you can't use your smarts and DIY skills to save more than a couple of dollars on the cost of remodeling.  Here are some tips to keep your bottom line down:

According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, for every dollar you spend on a pool, let's say you will probably recoup only 35 cents or so when you sell your home.

What is the best return on investment?

You will feel the pinch of a remodel of course.  But you will get some of that money back if you ever decided to sell your home, because curb appeal is real.  According to landscape economist John Harris, landscaping can contribute up to 28% or more of your home's overall value.  You will see even more if you add a deck, according to the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine.  A decking project that costs about $20,000 in 2020, here in the Mountain Region of the United States will deliver about a 66.7% return, when you sell.  Bottom line: If you have a few extra dollars, it makes sense to spend money on beautifying your house now in order to make more money later.




Source: Margaret Heidenry and Cost vs Value Report, 2020 - Remodeling Magazine.