What Does £25,000 Buy You In Landscaping?

What Does £25,000 Buy You In Landscaping?

Planning a garden makeover? Find out what £25,000 could buy you in landscaping.

This Article Was First Written in November 2022. Please be aware that the price of materials and labour has risen since then and the garden featured would cost more than £25K at todays prices.

As with any home improvement project, landscaping incurs costs.  There are design fees, garden clearance work, materials, skilled landscapers and specialist trades such as  electricians to cover.  All  these all add up – but in a good way.

It’s important to do your sums before you start a project and to set yourself a realistic budget. In this article, we’re looking at a typical suburban family garden and explaining how the Holland Landscapes Team made the client’s £25,000 budget work really hard to create a multi purpose outdoor space..

mini dugger bucket breaking ground in newbuild garden

There’s always a lot of work to do on a landscaping project before the decorative elements can be added.

What Costs Do I Need To Plan For In Landscaping?

Good quality landscaping – the sort that will last for decades and not crumble into a danger zone – comes at a cost.  But is it a cost or is it an investment?

If you were building a new home, your prime concern would be the building will be robust, sturdy, easy to maintain and that it will meet your needs for a very long time. You would take the best advice you could find. You’d take all the right measures to make sure that the finished building was actually worth the time and the money you poured into it.    

Your garden is part of your home and it deserves the same level of attention to detail as the rest of your property.  

  • An architect will have designed your building so that it’s fit for purpose.  For your outdoor spaces, you will need the services of a garden designer.
  • Your home will have been built by skilled crafts people – your garden should be built by a landscaper who knows what they’re doing.
  • The foundations, walls, roof and interior fittings in your home will no doubt be made using the best materials you can afford. Give your garden the same treatment.

It pays to plan what your budget needs to buy you in landscaping. Take a look at the list of inputs.

Garden Design and Landscaping Costs

  • Topographical survey – if your garden is relatively uncomplicated with no slopes your garden designer may be able to carry out a simple survey within the design fee.
  • Garden Design – believe it or not, hiring a garden designer may actually save you money on build costs. Discover Why Ignoring Garden Design Could Cost You Dearly.
  • Site Clearance – including hiring machinery and labour and taking waste materials to the recycling centre.
  • Groundworks – moving soil and recontouring the site to adjust the levels. Also digging footings and installing drainage and soakaways.
  • Materials.  Not just slabs, timber, plants and turf but the cement, grout, fixings, render, metal edging and compost that keep the garden together.
  • Machinery and tools.  Amongst other things, this includes hire costs, fuel and replacement blades for stone cutters 
  • Skilled labour.  Please don’t try to save money by asking friends and family to help build your garden. It takes years of on-the-job training and experience to be able to work to the high (and safe) standards you should be able to expect from a professional landscaper. If you are installing electrical features – lighting, outdoor kitchen, pond filters etc – you will also need to budget for a suitably qualified electrician….that’s the law.
  • Welfare – A team of landscapers will need access to toilets which often means hiring a portaloo. The team may also need shelter so that they can keep working in all weathers. Landscapers don’t mind getting wet, but they are susceptible to heat stroke and some of the materials they use need specific conditions too.  Eg concrete mustn’t dry out too quickly, neither should it be subjected to frost until it’s properly set.

Case Study – Landscaped Back Garden Costing £25,000

this is what 25K can buy in landscaping in 2022

Before I write any more – please note that this blog is being written in November 2022 and £25,000 is the estimated cost to build this family garden today.  Landscaping costs are changing all the time, so if you are reading this article in the future, you may find that an equivalent garden will have a different value. Always do careful research to find out what your money will buy you in landscaping.

We have published this article and the photos in it with full consent of the clients.

Before Landscaping

This back garden in Colchester really didn’t meet the clients’ needs.  The house belongs to a young couple with a toddler and two dogs. Both grown ups work hard for a living and wanted to be able to spend their free time relaxing outdoors. It was important to them that their son have as much engagement with plants and nature as possible. And they also wanted him to be able to play safely in the garden.

The garden is overlooked by neighbouring properties – so a wee bit more privacy as also on their wish list.  

The biggest challenges however were going to be access for machinery and the soil type.  Ugh! That soil! Heavy, sticky Essex clay. At Holland Landscapes we’re used to working with the stuff – but we reserve the right to moan about it at every opportunity.

Budget was around £20K with a further £8K as a contingency in case the landscaping revealed any unanticipated challenges.

mini digger beginning groundworks in the back garden of a two bedroom estate house in Colchester

Garden clearance and groundworks begin in our £25K garden.  

The Brief

A low maintenance garden with features to entice adults and children outdoors.  The clients love outdoor cooking and so a kitchen area was a must.  Lighting and water were also high on the list of priorities. Although any water features of course need to be child-friendly.

Garden Features

This garden is jam packed with features.

Large patio beside the house made from natural granite pavers. We’ve created a pretty edging detail by laying two rows of granite setts around the outside.

Raised lawn with timber sleeper edging.  A great play area for the youngster in full view of the kitchen window and the patio.  A set of stepping stones makes it easy to cross the lawn to the pergola without getting wet feet.

Small square water feature with fountain and lighting – a great focal point for the garden and built with child safety in mind.  

L shaped decking area for outdoor dining near beside the outdoor kitchen area.

Timber built shelter positioned for privacy.  

Trees – to block the view from neighbouring windows

Generous planting to create all year round interest. Included in the planting plan were some herbs, for our clients to use for cooking.

A family friendly garden with brightly coloured flowers, childrens toys and a ginger tom. Evidence of the happiness that 25K can buy in landscaping

A prime example of what £25,000 can buy in landscaping. This family friendly garden has lots of features and has clearly won the approval of the clients’ cat.

Where The Budget Went

Garden Design 

A very small proportion of the budget. In fact the design cost less than 3% of the overall spend.  If we had worked with the client’s own design ideas, this garden would have cost considerably more to build and they probably would have been slightly disappointed with it.  Yes, there was a garden design fee but in my opinion it saved a good £5,000 in groundworks and materials.

Clearance and Groundworks 

Around 15% of the budget.  Rather than remove the horrible clay soil and replace it with something more ‘workable’, the designer suggested raising the level of the garden and importing suitable soil for planting in.  The idea saved a considerable amount of money in terms of machinery and skip hire.  It would have cost a lot in labour too, to barrow unwanted clay out to the skip.  

‘Below The Ground’ Landscaping

45% of the final cost.  We’re talking about labour and materials to prepare the bases for the patio and deck and the foundations and blockwork for the water feature. These are the parts of the garden that will probably never be seen, but my goodness, without them, most of the landscaping work would disintegrate within 2-3 years.  You wouldn’t build a house without the right foundations – don’t try to skimp on this part of the landscaping either.

Decking, Patio and Arbour  

Materials for these accounted for a mere 12% or so of the build cost.  Time spent laying slabs, building the deck and creating the arbour was of course a little more.  Probably another 15% of the budget.

Lighting Plants and Planting

10% of the budget but a good 70% of the wow factor. With the exception of the trees, we planted 9cm (ie small) plants.  They cost less to buy and seem to establish faster than bigger plants.

pint of beer on a garden table with a beautiful ornamental tree in the background illuminated by garden lighting

I thoroughly recommend that you install some outdoor lights.  It will cost less to build the wiring in to the project as you go along as it would to retrofit the lighting.

Isn’t it incredible how the ‘hidden’ part of the landscaping costs so much more than the ‘pretty bits’? However, it’s the structural work that is so intrinsic to supporting the design and the longevity of the garden – without it, there would be no garden.

(All percentages are approximate and will vary from garden to garden).

Read more about this garden on our portfolio page


Getting Best Value For Money For Your Landscaping Budget

At the time of writing £25,000 will buy you the materials and labour to transform a modest sized back garden with a straightforward design and simple groundworks. But please don’t be frightened by that figure.  Your garden is an investment and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that landscaping will increase the value of your property.  It will definitely increase the pleasure you get from your home.

Never be afraid to discuss money with your landscaper and garden designer.  In fact I recommend that you talk budgets before you discuss design ideas.  

If your savings fall short of what you need to spend to create your dream garden, you’d be amazed at how a good garden designer can come up with an idea that will blow your socks off but still be affordable. Professional garden design is not an extra cost – it’s a necessary cost.

Don’t compromise on quality – you’ll kick yourself if you do.  Instead, think outside of the box.   Could you bring your garden design to life in stages? Can you make savings by buying bare root plants instead of potted plants? Talk to your landscaper – we’re not monsters, we want you to have a beautiful garden that you can enjoy without worrying about the cost of it.

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