Landscape Architect Cost: Investment, Benefits, and Results

landscape architect cost

Landscape design requires specific knowledge and expertise, which is why homeowners and land developers turn to landscape architects to plan and manage their outdoor projects. But what does a landscape architect cost, and should you invest in one? Learn more about the costs and benefits of hiring a professional to design your outdoor space.

Understanding the Role of a Landscape Architect

Landscaping design addresses issues like drainage, parking, and aesthetics. Generally, buildings aren’t considered “finished” until the surrounding land is attractive and functional.

What Does a Landscape Architect Do?

what does a landscape architect do

Landscape architects are similar to building architects. However, they design concepts, draw detailed plans, and oversee the construction of landscapes instead of buildings. Take a closer look at the types of services they provide.

Services Provided by Landscape Architects

Landscaping architects focus on the design and implementation of landscaping projects. Here is an in-depth look at their services, from concept design to budgeting and construction oversight.

Concept Design

Landscape architects design everything from retaining walls and drainage systems to flower beds and patios. After a brief consultation, they can deliver a design plan to you that will address all the elements you need to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space.

Landscaping architects will help you create a backyard design that matches your personal style. With their extensive experience, they can provide unique solutions that will help you avoid costly mistakes. 

Site Analysis

Landscape architects gather information about your property, including land surveys, permits, geological surveys, soil tests, and environmental assessments. The designer will consider all the information gathered to address any issues and devise an effective plan for your outdoor space.

Detailed Plans

landscape architecture cost

A landscape architect will draw up detailed plans and construction documents that a contractor can use to do the landscape work. When you hire a landscape architect, you will have plenty of time to consider the plan and discuss the changes you want.

They’ll also submit the plans to local building departments or HOAs, if necessary.

Select Plants and Materials

Depending on the project’s scope, you may want your landscape architect to offer advice about plants and materials. Some designs address everything in the landscape, including details like landscape lighting and what type of paver to use.

The more detail you ask for with your landscape plans, the higher the architect’s cost. Some people prefer to make decisions about the details themselves. Nonetheless, you might want to have your architect choose the right type of plants and materials for your design.

Budgeting and Construction Oversight

For many homeowners, budgeting for a landscaping project can be time-consuming. When it’s not your area of expertise, a lot of research has to go into determining the best materials and comparing their costs.

Your landscape architect can develop a budget for you and help you negotiate with a contractor who can work within your budget and time frame. They will also help you oversee the construction to ensure everything goes according to plan.

Landscape Architect vs. Landscape Designer vs. Landscape Contractors

It’s important to note the difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect. Unlike landscape designers, architects have a university degree and are licensed and certified. 

Landscape designers charge less than landscape architects and may be an acceptable option for small projects. However, if you’re managing a large commercial project, you’ll need the qualifications of a landscape architect.

Landscape contractors are another category of landscaper. They do the actual work of implementing the design and installing plants and materials. Landscape workers charge between $50 to $100 per hour per worker.

Exploring the Cost of Hiring a Landscape Architect

How much does a landscape architect cost? They typically charge $100 to $250 per hour, but sometimes they work for a fee based on a percentage of the total project cost. Learn more about the factors influencing the cost of hiring a landscape architect and the various fee structures used.

Factors Influencing Landscape Architect Costs

Many factors affect the average cost of a landscape architect. The most significant ones are the complexity and size of the project. 

Complexity and Size of the Project

factors that affect landscaping architect fees
Hardscaping, pathways, and other features may increase the cost of a landscaping architect

Size is often the most important factor in determining project costs.

Larger projects take more time and materials and are naturally more expensive. Indeed, jobs like those that involve steep, uneven terrain or more hardscaping elements, cost more to design than simple projects.

Scope of Service

Landscape architects are designers, project planners, and coordinators, however, you can limit their work scope if you only want to pay for specific services. 

For example, you can hire a landscape architect just to design your yard. Furthermore, you can hire a landscape architect to create a design and oversee the implementation of their vision for your yard.


As with any profession, the more experience and knowledge a landscaper has, the more they can charge for their services. 

Some landscape architects work mostly on residential projects, while others work for firms focusing on high-end projects like commercial buildings and government parks. 

Fee Structures

Landscape architects use various fee structures, including hourly rates and percentage rates. If your project uses expensive materials, and your architect charges a percentage, usually anywhere from 5% to 15% of the total cost, then your costs will be higher.

Most individual landscape architects use an hourly fee structure for small residential projects. Meanwhile, large design firms that work with contractors on government and commercial projects often negotiate a rate based on the percentage of the project cost.

Some landscape architects also use a separate fee structure for initial consultations, often charging a base rate of $200 to $500 for a 2-hour consultation. They may also charge a flat rate for residential design plans, usually in the range of $1,000 to $6,000 for up to three quality drawings with revisions.

Additional Costs to Consider

land clearing cost

There are a number of additional costs to consider. While many of them won’t affect your project, some will.

  • Permits–if your landscaping requires a permit, it will be an additional cost.
  • Double-checking your property surveys for accuracy will add to the design cost.
  • Terrain–hard-to-access properties or those with environmental issues typically cost more to design.
  • Soil tests–whether a simple soil test or a geological survey, your landscape architect needs good information about the soil.
  • Travel expenses–architects may charge more to work in remote locations. 
  • Land clearing costs–including tree removal and stump removal.

Benefits of Investing in a Landscape Architect

Hiring a landscape architect is a significant investment, but is it worth it? Explore the benefits of investing in a landscape architect to help you decide. 

Customized Design Solutions

A qualified landscape architect can assess the unique needs of your property and create a customized design.

The systems in your home and yard, including stormwater collection drainage, pathways, and driveways, work together in several ways. Landscape architects can also develop a design that maximizes and integrates these systems for the greatest efficiency (and this experience also factors into the cost).

Here are some examples of customized design solutions:

Increased Property Value

value of landscaping architect
Beautifying your property with stunning landscaping can increase your home’s value

The right landscaping can increase the value of your home by as much as 20%, and it’s a great way to get more use out of your property while building equity at the same time.

Landscapes also gain value over time as plants and trees become more well-established, whereas other home improvements start to depreciate as soon as the project is completed. 

Efficient Use of Resources

The knowledge and experience professional landscape architects possess are invaluable. These professionals have insight into the effective use of resources, and they can see possibilities the untrained eye would never consider.

Because they have extensive experience, landscape architects also know how long a project should take, which helps them manage landscape workers more efficiently to ensure the project stays on track.

Landscape architects have a broad knowledge of the types of materials available and how they can be used together. They know what materials they can source locally at a discount, putting them in a position to achieve the best result at the lowest cost.

How to Hire a Landscape Architect

How do you hire a landscape architect? Most people rarely need to hire a landscape architect, so if it’s your first time, you’re not alone. Find out how to research landscape architects in your area and what to expect from the initial consultation.

Research and Recommendations

Find landscape architects in your area by searching online for “landscape architects near me” or by asking people you know for recommendations. 

When hiring a landscape architect, be sure to get quotes from at least three qualified architects with more than five years of experience. 

Always ask for references, and be sure to check them before hiring. Also, ask for landscaping licenses, credentials, insurance certifications, and other paperwork.

Initial Consultation

In the initial consultation with a landscape architect, you’ll have a chance to get your questions answered and communicate your hopes and dreams for your landscape. It’s an exploratory step where you can better understand the possibilities for your landscape.

Some landscape architects don’t charge for the initial consultation, while others charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. You should ask before you schedule the consultation so you know what to expect.

Project Proposal and Agreement

landscape architect cost estimate

A good rule of thumb when budgeting for a landscape project is to use a figure equal to about 5% to 10% of the value of your home. 

For example, if your home is worth $300,000, your landscaping budget will be about $30,000. A landscape architect costs about 5% to 15% of your landscaping budget, or, as in this example, about $1,500 to $4,500. 

Once you and the architect have gone over the initial design concept, they will present you with a project proposal, which should outline the scope and cost of the project. After you come to an agreement and sign the contract, your project is ready to begin.

Also interested in gardening services? Check out our guide to gardener costs!

FAQ: Common Questions About Landscape Architect Cost

1. Is hiring a landscape architect worth the cost?

Hiring a landscape architect is worth the cost in many situations. If you’re spending a lot of money on a project, such as installing a swimming pool or an expensive outdoor kitchen, you can avoid costly mistakes and achieve a better result with a good design plan.

2. Can a landscape architect work within my budget?

Landscape architects work within many homeowners’ budgets and can help you choose less expensive plants and materials. With their expertise, landscape architects can select a design that will cost less overall and help you implement it in stages.

3. How do I know if I need a full-service landscape architect?

Some homeowners prefer to hire a landscape architect to design a plan for their property, but then they want to hire contractors and oversee the work themselves. However, if you are working on an extensive project and don’t have the time to oversee landscape workers, you should hire a full-service landscape architect.

4. Will a landscape architect consider my personal style and preferences?

Landscapers will take your personal preferences into account when they are designing your landscape.

Normally, a landscape architect will listen to you during the consultation to understand what you want and then present you with an initial design concept. Then, you will have a chance to communicate the changes you want before the design is finalized.

5. Can I make changes to the design after it’s been finalized?

After the design is finalized, you can make changes, but it will cost extra. The cost of the change order depends on the scope of the changes, how much work has already been completed, and the timeframe for implementation. 

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