Thinking about landscaping your backyard, but not sure how much it will cost? We've done the research. Yes, it can be expensive, but it's worth it in the end.
It costs about $8K to $10K to landscape a backyard. For backyards, it's more about enjoyment than beauty. This means it must be highly functional. That's why homeowners tend to spend more on their backyards than the front. They want to enjoy hardscapes like pergolas and patios, driving up costs.
Unlike with front yards, backyard landscapes are not about curb appeal. They are areas where homeowners enjoy the sanctity of privacy. So, in today’s article, we discuss some of the common hardscapes installed in backyards and their average costs. We’ll also cover the costs of installing backyard sprinklers and irrigation systems for your lawn and garden.
As tenants, we have yet to install any permanent hardscapes in our backyard. But we are hoping the owner agrees to sell us the home someday. So, we put a lot of time, thought and research into things like gazebos and fire pits. I’ve also spent time experimenting with various types of mobile and cheap watering systems for my garden areas. Today, I’m happy to share what I know about two that add true value to your backyard.
Average Costs of 9 Popular Backyard Hardscapes
What is hardscaping? It’s anything within your landscape that doesn’t have life. This includes all structures that must be constructed somehow to function as intended. The materials and construction costs can start at about $10K, depending on your wants, needs and how you plan to enjoy your backyard space.
Here are the average costs of the top nine most commonly installed backyard hardscapes:
1. Arbor Installation
It costs about $2,000 to $5,000 to install an arbor, depending on the materials and size you choose. They are generally constructed where two different areas transition on a walkway. You can grow plants and flowers up and over them for a beautifully shaded pathway area.
Many people use them as entry points to their gardens, making them both gorgeous and functional. For added enjoyment, install some outdoor seating right up under it and enjoy the nice shade during sunny summer months.
2. Deck Installation
Installing a deck in your backyard will cost you about $5,000 to $15,000. These functional outdoor spaces are typically used for relaxing and entertaining. They are commonly installed as attachments to homes.
However, you can build an unattached platform if you want the deck in a different location. You can also add other hardscape structures to it to make it even more enjoyable, such as a gazebo.
3. Fencing Installation
Fencing your backyard will run you about $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the type of fence you choose. How do you decide what type of fencing is best for you? Well, that depends on its actual purpose and why you want it in the first place.
If it’s about security, you want a very sturdy material, maybe even brick. Just want to ensure that the kids don’t get out of the yard when they’re out back playing? Then, a lower-cost vinyl fence will do the trick. Some homeowners just want fencing for aesthetic reasons. In those cases, it’s all about what pleases your eyes.
4. Fire Pit Installation
Thinking about installing a fire pit in your backyard? Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,500 depending on the style you choose. You can purchase a simple, mobile fire pit at home improvements stores on the low end of the cost spectrum.
But if you want a built-in fire pit, it will cost you a bit more. And that cost depends on the type of material you choose. There are also other cost factors, such as does it run on wood or natural gas?
5. Gazebo Installation
You can purchase a pre-built gazebo, or you can have a customized gazebo constructed in your backyard for about $7,000 to $10,000. When customized, you can choose from numerous different shapes, as well as designs and styles.
These hardscape structures come with finished floors and roofs. So, essentially you’re paying for an enclosed structure for your backyard, which drives up the costs but makes your yard much more enjoyable.
6. Pergola Installation
Pergolas are much like gazebos, except they don’t have finished floors or roofs. These open structures will run you about $2,000 to $6,000 to construct in your backyard. They allow you to enjoy the breeze as the air flows through on a nice, sunny day. You can grow vining plants and flowers up and over pergolas. This gives your yard a defined area full of shade.
The cost of installing a pergola is driven by the size and style you choose. And there are many to choose from. It also depends on the type of material you choose, such as vinyl, wood, metal or fiberglass. They can be attached to your home or constructed as stand-a-lone hardscape features further out in the backyard.
7. Patio Installation
Patios are one of the most commonly constructed hardscape additions to backyard landscape designs. They typically run about $3,000 to $7,000. Choose from many different types of patio materials and shapes to give your yard a new look and a place to enjoy the outdoors.
They are most commonly installed right next to the house. But you can get fancy with your backyard landscape design and install a pergola above the patio. Or construct your patio further out into the yard and add a focal point to it, like a waterfall.
8. Retaining Wall Installation
What is a retaining wall? It’s a hardscape structure designed to retain or hold back soil, which helps prevent issues such as soil erosion and landslides. They also add beauty to your yard by hiding not-so-beautiful structures on your land. Construction costs are typically about $3,000 to $10,000.
There are many types of materials used to build retaining walls, which affect costs. There are other cost factors as well, such as height, type of soil used and where you choose to place it. You can also add other hardscapes to make it more functional, like raised beds for gardening and outdoor seating.
9. Water Fountain Installation
A fully installed backyard water fountain will cost you about $1,000 to $4,000. How much you pay is based on various factors, like the size, type, labor needed, prep work required, power supply chosen and materials used to construct it.
You can install your water fountain anywhere you want in your backyard. Choose from various types of fountain materials. The more elaborate types, such as marble, will put your costs on the higher end of the spectrum. Add some colorful perennials to attract pollinators and enjoy watching them relish in the tranquility of your new backyard focal point.
Average Costs of the 2 Best Backyard Watering Systems
Depending on the size of your lawn and how much garden space you have, watering greenery can be time-consuming work. Cut down on some of those backbreaking tasks by adding a sprinkler system for your lawn and drip irrigation for your garden.
These are the average costs of installing automatic watering systems in a backyard:
1. Sprinkler System Installation
A sprinkler system, which will cost you about $4,000 to $7,000, takes care of watering your lawn, so you don’t have to worry about it. These systems also help conserve water, which cuts your water bill costs, and makes them environment friendly.
They are generally installed in lawn areas where large sections of grass exist. The sprinkler heads sit above ground while the other plumbing hardware is installed below the surface. You can operate them manually by simply turning on the water. Or install a timer to make your backyard life even easier.
2. Drip Irrigation System Installation
Sprinkler systems are amazing for lawns. But any gardener or professional landscaper will tell you that it’s never wise to water your garden plants that way. You don’t want water spraying over the top of your plants. This causes soil to splatter on the foliage which can lead to diseases and attract pests.
That’s where drip irrigation systems come into play. They cost about $500 to $1,200 to install and are the best automatic watering systems for backyard gardens. Basically, the system is a series of tubes installed right below or on top of the surface of the soil.
These tubes consistently drip tiny droplets of water directly onto the roots of your plants. So, your foliage doesn’t get wet and dirt doesn’t get splashed all over the place. Setting them on a timer is the best way to ensure that each individual plant gets just the amount of water it needs each day. This also helps you save water, money and the environment.
About THE AUTHOR
Kiesha Joseph is an avid gardener dedicated to simple urban gardening on a budget. She enjoys sharing her Zone 9B Inland Empire, California experiences, as well as inexpensive DIY landscaping techniques. She loves experimenting in the garden, even if the project seems to be a failure. According to her, she does not learn from her successes. She learns from her failures. And that’s why she is determined to keep experimenting.Read more about Kiesha Joseph