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OUCH! Painful Landscaping Quote Means I Developed an Alternate Plan

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I had grand plans for our front yard.  I was going to redo the flower beds and have a whole row of Boxwood bushes, roses, and Crepe Myrtles added along our right-side property line.  Then I would have an automatic sprinkler system added to keep me from having to move the sprinkler all the dang time.  Best of all, I was getting a quote to have all of this done for me by our lawn guy.

The Quote That Hurt

Yeah, that’s not going to happen anymore.  The landscaping idea itself included 25 new plants and totaled $750 for just plants and soil.  He added in $250 of labor to give me an even $1000 quote.  That’s not completely nuts for the scope of the project, but I rather not spend $1000 on pretty stuff out front right now.  He also quoted $1900 for just an automatic front yard system or $2700 for a front yard and back yard system.  I don’t want to spend that right now either.  In short, I’ll be putting $3000-$3700 of quotes aside and have made other plans.

Alternate Plans

Okay, so the landscaping is paused until I have some time to buy some Double Knock-Out Roses to replace the Boxwood in the front flower bed.  Then we’ll also start to add plants along the property line as we have time.  I may go out and spend $20-$40 right now on some more colorful yet temporary plants to brighten the flower beds with, but the grand landscaping plans can be put aside for a little while for sure.

As for the automatic sprinkler system, I took some advice from my mom and a few other readers and bought an automatic digital faucet timer from Amazon.

It was easy to program and screwed onto the right-yard’s faucet with no problems.  It has 3 different “stations” to screw hoses into, and two of those stations are programmable.  Station 1 is set to start at 5:10am for 28 minutes and then Station 2 starts up at 5:40am and waters that section for another 28 minutes.  I have it set to start daily but will probably change it to every other day when the yard is taking off.  I have also simply set it to “Off” a couple of days ago since it was going to rain that evening.  I remembered to change it back to “Automatic” a day later when the weather went back to hot and dry.

Overall, I am super happy.  I will be buying two more of these timers – one for the faucet on the left side of the front yard and one for the backyard.  According to Amazon, their batteries will need to be changed every couple of months, but it’s still a cheap alternative.  I also spent $31 on two longer hoses (one 50 foot and one 100 foot) for the backyard so I can use our four existing, shorter hoses for the front yard sections.  Next time I’m out and about, I’ll also pick up two more sprinkler heads for large sections of lawn since our backyard is so big and I only have two big-section sprinklers right now (and they are in my front yard).


Cost-wise, this new plan will cost us less than $300 total (so about 10% of the original plan):

  • First digital timer – $40
  • Second digital timer – waiting for $45 or less deal again
  • Third digital timer – waiting for $45 or less deal again
  • Two new hoses – $31
  • Two new sprinkler heads – $40
  • Some rose bushes and some perennials – less than $100


Eventually, I’ll even do a good job of hiding the hoses along the edges of my home and flower beds so it will not even look intrusive.  I will also be winding up the hoses on one of our hose reels or storing them in the garage every two weeks so the lawn guys can mow like normal.  So this new plan will give me back most of the lawn-watering time (about 30 minutes a day of going outside and manually switching the locations around to water different sections), but isn’t quite as low maintenance daily as a built-in system.  But I also won’t ever need to worry about unseen leaks or broken pop-up sprinkler heads.

I’m satisfied.  How about you?  What sort of yard plans or maintenance do you have or what are you planning for?

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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19 thoughts on “OUCH! Painful Landscaping Quote Means I Developed an Alternate Plan

  1. I dont blame you Crystal thats a lot of money off top. You always know how to get around it though so spending 300 looks and sounds like a dream. We just moved to our new home and actually I was told since we are low and in a flood zone I dont need to water which is great.

  2. Landscaping can be so expensive! We are working on our yard and adding more plants to it. We’ve already spent over $500 on plants!

  3. I don’t think the price of either the landscaping or the sprinklers is unreasonable. I actually would have thought that 25 plants would have cost more than $1,000 including labor.

  4. We’re super DIY when it comes to yard maintenance. My husband loves to do it, but even when he’s not here I figure, I’m capable so why pay someone else to do it. We even replaced our fence and pulled about 1000 pounds of rock out of our front garden by ourselves! Both took quite a lot of time and effort but were WAY less expensive than paying someone to do it. And truthfully at this point, we don’t have the extra income to pay someone else for it so it’s us or no one! lol 🙂

  5. Our four acres is quite a challenge. We live on old farm land and parts of it can get out of control with every weed imaginable. I do all of our landscaping unless it involves the front end loader on the tractor and then my husband likes to come out and play. We have massive gardens and provide almost all of our own produce and herbs each year.

    All that to say…your plan sounds excellent to me!

  6. Works for me.
    We bought 20 trees and 240 various color plants (petunias, periwinkles, salvia, celosia, and rosemoss), and spent about $450 for the plants and $370 for 8 yards of garden mix delivered. Hubby built two big above ground gardens. We have harvested nectarines, 3 pears (lol), 2 lemons, and 5 lbs of tomatoes, only 3 lbs of new potatoes from garbage can (was hoping for more, but I used “seeds” from store bought potatoes), and we have eggplant, cucumbers, and squash(both green and yellow) on the bushes right now. The petunias, celosia, and periwinkles are doing fantastic in the front, and our rose garden looks spectacular in the back. We planted four o clocks that don’t open till 6PM though. Not sure about four-o’clocks, think I like periwinkles better.
    So for about $1000 and a lot of sweat, we have been having a blast in the garden. We put in okra a bit early and its not taking off yet, have some cantaloupe blooming, and have sunflowers coming up, one is 4′ tall right now.
    Those plant quotes look reasonable (took 3 of us over 8 hours to plant the 20 fruit trees), not sure about the sprinkler system. Took couple days for the planters, and a few more for each flowerbed or herb garden. The labor you were quoted is cheap. The fruit trees ran $15-30 each. We happened across a sale on papaya trees and potted two of those for around $20 each. Wouldn’t recommend them, as you have to have a male and female to get fruit and they are temperamental. We planted a shade garden with 5 types of mint and shade herbs, then another sun garden with everything from rosemary, oregano, basil, tarragon to dill.
    We had to buy mildew/powder mold control as well as use insecticidal soap and DE, so we can share some of that for your roses. I think we spent about $70 on pest control and $40 on fertilizers so far. We started a compost and throw any worm we find over there. Loving the tomatoes, but so far I don’t think we are saving any money on the crops. We got impatient and started using the carrot tops for tea, as they take forever to grow here. Putting in sweet radishes and some marigold seeds today. Daughter is soaking morning glory seeds because we have a couple humming birds lingering and I forget to give them new food all of the time. Those will go on back fence with the other sunflowers.
    I think your plan rocks. If you want cuttings, just ask. Gardening actually puts your yard to use, and gives you some enjoyment, even if you don’t harvest enough to pay for the effort. You pay taxes and mortgage on it, might as well use it.

  7. I feel your quote pain. We have a paver patio that needs to be replaced and we’d like to add a deck off the kitchen to meet up with the patio. The quotes we’ve been getting are incredible! And yet, we’ll need to do something because the patio is borderline dangerous.

    My husband would love an automatic sprinkler system so I find those quotes you got interesting.

  8. Yikes that’s pricey! On my list of things to do is get some landscaping quotes. I need a small stone retaining wall built around a garden bed. I’m dreading the costs.

  9. Doing the landscaping yourself will be the best way to save money. Labor rates for landscaping are ridiculous. Two years ago I tore down an old barn in my back yard and put in a new garage. For the demolition I got a bunch of friends, a bunch of beer, sledge hammers, a truck, a tow strap, and went to town. A little dangerous…Yes, alot of fun, double yes. I then spent the rest of the summer preparing the foundation by shovel gravel. Back breaking work but would have cost me thousands in labor to get someone else to do it. (There was like 3 dump trucks worth of stone)

  10. I’m finally doing our landscaping now after 4 years of saving up. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it in the end. Plants are not cheap either and if you want boxes they can run $40 plus for a decent size. If you get small one’s it will take ages to grow. I’m also laying a new path, new steps, added in 9 new rocks that weigh a tonne, 2 steps off to the side, and I have all the front of the yard still to go with plants, mulch, river rock… I’m guessing about $3000-$3500 but if I paid someone to do it.. about $7000 plus. Just to rent a bobcat to move the stones was over $500 per day so I moved them with wood and a huge bar by myself. Hard work, you bet!

  11. Gasp!

    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I ended up spending about 10 grand on landscaping the house I’m in now — that included rebuilding the out-of-code, DIY, barely functional watering system the previous owner had installed; building a walled patio in front and a patio cover in back; planting eleven specimen-size trees and a lot of shrubs; and spreading gravel in front and crushed granite in back. You can save a lot if you can do it yourself…but it’s killing labor.

  12. Ouch! That’s expensive. Don’t forget about container gardening. Add a few window boxes and some colorful flowers in containers can spruce up the front yard fairly cheaply. A lot less labor too. 😉

  13. @Everyone who thinks it was a great quote: Yes, it was. The amount was painful, but the quote itself was very generous compared to what 25 plants (with a few trees) would cost me through some other companies. I love my lawn guy – I just didn’t realize how expensive plants are.

    @MADD, I am so jealous!!!

    @Michelle, wow – good luck with the rest!

    @MB, you’re right. See my note above. 🙂

    @Christine, I have quick bursts of energy and then it dies off, so I have to find a time that I feel like conquering the yard…

    @Mrs. Pop, I like that idea a lot! Low-water and local. I’ll check out your post when I finish answering these comments. 🙂

    @Betsy, my mom would be jealous of your setup – she is looking for some acreage and farm land too.

    @retired, I agree that the quote was good, just more money than I want to put in all at once. So, we’ll see what I tackle this year and next. 🙂 Congrats on all of your harvesting!

    @Julie, good luck! I know some things are just cringe-worthy.

    @Angella, remember to get multiple quotes! I was quoted $540 for placing rocks when we first bought the house from one guy but my current lawn guy put them in for $125 and mowed my lawn too. So ask around!

    @Christie, I know (see my note above).

    @thepotatohead, wow. You are way more determined than me. I honestly don’t think $250 for labor for the job I need done is bad, but I do see how doing it myself would be a way to save that…I just have to wait until I am in the mood. 🙂

    @Mike, yep.

    @CBB, holy crap! I am so not that motivated…

    @Savvy Financial Latina, that worked well for us with our last house. 🙂 Small front and back yard and less than $500 of landscaping for everything we did over 5 years…

    @Funny, oh hells no, lol. I would totally hire someone for manual labor that I would just complain about for hours and hours. 🙂

    @Kevin, yep. 🙂

    @Little House, thanks for the idea!

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