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Landscape a NZ Garden​ - How much does it cost?

Cost to Landscape NZ Garden

The much-asked question ‘How much does it cost to landscape a garden in NZ’ has a very simple answer. In short, as much as you are prepared to spend! So is the sky the limit or are you constrained by post build budget  blow outs that have little to no money for your landscaping?

Budget matters. This is why landscape designers and contractors will always ask you early in discussions what your landscaping budget, as the amount you are prepared to spend will influence the solutions they suggest. 

So, how far will your $$$ go?

Small ​NZ Landscaping Budget: Under $15,000.00

NZ Landscaping for under $15,000.00

This is a small budget in landscaping terms so it will be important to work with what you have got on site from the get-go.

 For existing gardens, this landscape budget would be best spent improving aesthetics in decorative and budget friendly ways, such as refreshing existing fences and decks with new paint or stain. Adding off the shelf items to improve functionality, such as shade umbrellas, feature or privacy screen. Items like pots will provide wow factor, and plants will also get you good bang for buck. Plant grades will be small so use some of that precious budget to improve your soil with a thick topping of compost mulch to encourage quick plant growth. Consider removing items that have passed their best, such as tired structures or dead trees, as this can also improve the way your garden look for very little cost.

If you have a new garden and your current landscaping budget is under $10,000.00, you would be best to take a long-term view and focus your efforts and $$$ on one particular area or aspect of your garden. This could mean putting it all into creating one key area, such as your outdoor living space or spreading it across the site on an important element such as getting paths in place. When you are developing a garden over time, investing some of that budget in a garden design can really pay off in the long run. Garden designers developing a full site plan will consider the site wide result first and then you contractor can work backwards, from the ground up. Good advice to those on a tight landscape budget is to get your ‘foundation’ in first, due to the economies of scale, and build up on those over time adding further landscape features as funds permit.  If you don’t get key aspects such as drainage and retaining right from the get-go, any aesthetic work you do over the top will be wasted money. 

Low cost landscape planting of NZ Garden with NZ native plants and stone groundcover

Average ​NZ Landscaping Budget: $15,000 - $50,000

NZ Landscaping for $15,000 - $50,000

This would be considered a medium-sized landscaping budget. You’ve got enough to make some impact and to implement some structural or layout changes. If you are fencing or adding decks, they will eat up a big part of this budget so to stretch it as far as you can it’s still worth working with what you have in terms of these structures. Maybe extend the existing deck and stain it to refresh, rather than replace it. Patios can be reshaped, extended and retiled. Staining, painting or adding batton detailing or corten cladding to an existing fence will give it an updated look. Even wonky fences can often be shored up to extend their life.

Pebbled or paver paths fit with this size budget, as does timber edging and large feature rocks. Gravity retaining systems such as gabion, firth block retaining walls and flex MSE retaining will add wow factor and create usable flat spaces. 

Then, depending on the size of the property and which end of the landscape budget range you are looking at, the $$$ could possibly stretch to adding in some lifestyle extra’s. Think, a cost-effective overhead shade structure (shade sail, retractable awning or similar), a spa pool, pizza oven or maybe a modest water feature. Modest lighting of key features could be added. Planted solutions such as feature planting and hedges for screening and aesthetics will play a large part in garden makeovers in the $15,000 - $50,000 budget range. 

Low cost landscape ideas for NZ Garden with subtropical plants, black painted fences and walls, stone mulch and artificial turf

Good NZ Landscaping Budget: $50,000- $150,000

NZ Landscaping for $50,000- $150,000

With this budget you can begin address serious issues such as site wide drainage and make an impact with other infrastructure, such as replacing structures like decks, fences, garden paths. More labour-intensive construction methods that yield a high-end or bespoke result such as plastered block or poured in-situ concrete retaining walls could be considered.

Depending on the size of your garden, with this budget range once the structural items are in you may still have enough to add an outdoor kitchen or built in BBQ area, with off-the-shelf options starting at around $7,000.00. For around $1,000.00 a m2, you could add a quality louvred roof area and create the outdoor room you have always wanted. Larger grade plants will give instant wow factor and some garden lighting will raise your garden to the next level.

You could stretch a modest pool out of the higher range of this budget, if you were to focus your landscaping budget on just that one aspect of landscaping. Remember it’s not just the cost of the pool you need to consider. At a minimum you will also need to allow for pool pump housing, pool fencing and paving or decking around the pool area. Your pool fencing will always require a building consent and the pool may also require consents, so these costs also need to be factored into the garden budget.

Overall, a $50,000- $150,000 garden budget will make a dramatic impact and get you a lifestyle changing garden. At the higher end of this range you are talking a magazine worthy garden. 

Garden makeover in Habitat magazine showing  water features, decks, planting and paint colour suggetsions

Excellent NZ Landscaping Budget: $150,000.00+

NZ Landscaping for  $150,00.00 +

Like we said at the start, the cost to landscape your property can be as much as you are prepared to spend. If you gasped when you saw this budget with the uncapped + at the end of the above figure, then beware an increasing wish list and high end finishes, as it is surprisingly easy to reach this figure. This is the budget you will need for a large pool project, a highly-spec’d design or for a garden with a lot of new infrastructure or layout changes.  

Good Planning is Key to Landscaping on a Budget!

However much you are prepared to spend to on your garden project, key to getting the garden you want at a price you can afford, is good planning.

Having a scaled garden plan gives you a document to accurately price your project from before you get started.  A garden design also helps you to stage the implementation of your landscaping project and is a good way to manage construction costs on a tight budget, because you don’t have to do everything at once and the end result will still be cohesive.

Auckland landscape design company DIY Designs is located  in Titirangi, West Auckland and work online, specialising in the creation of achievable, cost-effective landscape designs. Check out our fixed price plan options here.