How to save money landscaping a garden.

I have an opportunity for a self employed landscape gardener to take on leads in Bristol, Weston super mare, North Somerset and Somerset areas. information

There really is no such thing as a cheap landscape gardener,

they are called cowboys, costing a lot more in the end.

There are however, several ways to keep the cost of garden makeovers down. 

On this page I have explained how to cut costs and listed a few sensible ways to save money landscaping your garden. 



Cheapest landscaper in town Mmmm!!??


This is that cowboy speaking. "I will undercut anyone, just need half up front in cash"

The cheapest way to add patios,decking or ponds to your garden is to do part or all of the work yourself.

We all know there's no such thing as a cheap lunch, unless you grow your own. In the same way, there's no such thing as a cheap landscape gardener. In the end you get what you pay for. If you are on a tight budget, these tips could help keep the cost of hard landscaping as cheap as possible, without compromising on quality.

These are money saving tips to landscape a garden,

  • Sharing some of the work yourself will save money.
  • Helping with the labouring cuts costs.
  • Good skills, but not that fit? build the steps and lay the slabs, hire and supervise a labourer for the shoveling etc.
  • Use secondhand and recycled materials.
  • Don't go for the cheapest quote. The cheapest quote could cost a lot more in the long run.
  • Ask for a cash discounts.
  • Having a design ready (doesn't need to be to scale) saves a lot of money.

Keep landscaping costs down by doing part or all of the work yourself.

 Doing some of the work yourselves is obviously going to save money, But be sure you know what you are getting yourself into, or you could drive your landscaper crazy.
Landscaping work is split into three main partsLabour, Technical stuff and Design;
  1. Labouring includes clearing the garden of unwanted plants and trees (including roots), leveling the surface, digging out footings, digging out the base for patios and then adding and compacting a level hardcore base.None of this requires to much brain power just strength and stamina.depending on the type of soil in your garden (clay is the worst) and the rubble under the surface.You will need a pick axe, good shovel and spade and a strong wheelbarrow to wheel the sub soil you are taking out into a skip and to carry in the materials to build your garden, like sand, cement, slabs, bricks, etc and, a few tons of hardcore. 
  2. Technical work. This includes building retaining wallsterracing a slope, laying patio slabs, installing a pond or simply erecting a fence. Some tasks are harder and more important to get right, like retaining walls, garden drainage and making sure patios drain away from the house. Getting these things wrong, can cost a lot more money to put right than the savings you might make.
  3. Garden design..... Design it yourself.......  Designing your own garden makeover can save hundreds of pounds. There are many books, CDs and websites that can help. Probably the best way, especially if you are not sure your ideas are practical, is to discuss them on site with a good landscape gardener......There may be a design charge if the changes to the garden involve drainage or leveling, but If you hire the landscaper to do the work they will be sensible with any charge.
Getting rid of the stuff you dig out.  A skip costs about £200 so if you can use the top and subsoil somewhere around the garden to form a raised bed or fill a low area etc. you will save money.
Materials.. You may pay more for materials like paving slabs, bricks, sand and cement than an established landscape gardener with trade prices set up with companies supplying landscaping materials, but you will save on the labour cost. Ask suppliers for a discount, if you don't ask you won't get.
Hiring a Digger costs about £180 to operate yourself.  If you need a digger operator add about  £150 a day. A digger will take a lot of the back breaking digging work out of job and save time, but you will still have to wheelbarrow the stuff into a skip.
TIP. If you do use a professional garden designer, make sure every aspect of the work is covered, including gradients, retaining walls, suitable hard landscaping materials, water table and garden drainage in the plan. Some "airy fairy" garden designers are great at planting plans and aerial views, but not so good at the practical stuff.
  • If the design involves moving tons of soil, is their access for a digger?
  • If the layout includes digging out a pond or deep footings for retaining walls, will the water table allow excavation?
  • If paving is planned for low areas of the garden, will the area require drainage to be installed?
  • These are just some of the problems I have found this year, following plans drawn up by professional landscape garden designers.
Saving money on the cost of landscaping material. 
Paving stones, soil, building sand, bricks and gravel are a major expense, so if you think you are going to use a ton of sand or scalpings, buy it in bulk bags from a builders merchant, or loose from a local aggregates supplier, it's much cheaper than buying 25kg bags from Homebase, Wickes or B&Q. Same with slabs, bricks and block paving. 
Work out what you will need and get it all delivered in one go to save on delivery costs. 

If you are going to lay your own patio or supply the slabs and materials to save money. 
The builders merchants listed on my patios page deliver to your home, the quality is good and prices are competitive and they will also help you work out the quantity you will need. Also on the page is a simple guide to laying slabs.
Patios, paths and steps introduce interest into the garden, creating divisions, levels, seating areas and walkways. The Patio Specialist" is a great book for anyone building a patio themselves.
The book starts with the basics planning, preparation, tools, materials and foundations. Then, explores the many different types of patio from natural to brick patios, Indian sandstone and concrete. Paths and steps are covered in a clear way with box features, lists and questions and answers.
Beginners and experienced DIY enthusiasts will find this book invaluable time and again and makes a useful present.

Using secondhand and recycled hard landscaping materials can save money.

You should be able to buy secondhand paving slabs cheap....... Get them free even..... Anyone renovating their garden will be pleased to have them taken up and cleared away, saving them money too, you may break one or two taking them up, but still save money, especially if you are not to fussy about colour.


Recycled house bricks and walling stone can also be cheap to buy, but recycled real stone flagstones can work out expensive.

Even if you are having the work done for you and have a neighbour who wants the old slabs and will remove them, make it clear to the landscape gardener you are asking to quote that the area will be cleared, saving the clearance part of the price.


Don't waste money buying expensive plants for your borders and raised beds after you have saved money with the hard landscaping. Many good plants can be purchased cheaply if you avoid large garden centers. They are the most expensive way to buy plants, DIY chain stores like B&Q and Homebase can be cheaper than nurseries or garden centers. Roadside stalls selling homegrown plants are normally good value and if local, you can be pretty sure the plants will suit your type of soil, the same goes for car boot sellers.


Friends and neighbours are the cheapest option and might be pleased to let you have surplus Seedlings and cuttings. Perennials are always good value as are bulbs like Daffodils and other varieties of narcissi, snowdrops and crocuses that come up and multiply every year.


Healthy plants. It is important to make sure that wherever you buy your plants, they are healthy and will grow in your type of garden soil, or any savings are a false economy, the plants will die or introduce disease. It is expensive and impossible in the long-term to try changing your soil type. Grow what will grow, it is cheaper and easier.

Planting plan.
Planting plans for most gardens, sunny areas, shade, slopes, damp and soil types can be found free on the net. To get the most out of your garden and plants, it is a good idea to follow one.

You may also also be interested in reading this gardening on a tight budget