How Much Does a Landscape Architect Cost?

Typical Range:

$724 - $3,545

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 71 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated September 8, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

For the average project, it'll cost you about $2,115 with a typical range of $724 and $3,545 to hire a landscape architect. On average, fees can range anywhere from $70 to $150 per hour or 5% to 15% of your total overall project cost. Each architect has a different fee structure so be sure to clarify costs with your professional, so you know exactly what you are getting. Different rate structures include pricing by project, area, and hour.

Landscape architecture and design anchors a house to the site, connects it with the environment, and creates a welcoming entrance to your home. Landscape architects work with architects, surveyors, and engineers to find the best place to put roads and buildings. They also work with environmental scientists to find the best way to conserve or restore natural resources.

Landscape architects and designers work with living plants as well as building materials. They design for present and future growth and maintenance. And because design is regional, it's important for your professional to be familiar with your climate and the plants that do well there.

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National Average $2,115
Typical Range $724 - $3,545
Low End - High End $150 - $8,088

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 71 HomeAdvisor members.

Landscape Architect Rates per Hour

Hourly rates vary among landscape architects. Junior or intern rates are about $50 to $80 per hour. Rates for a firm partner or principal are between $150 to $225 per hour.

Though freelancers tend to charge by the project, their hourly rates usually match their experience and portfolios. If you don't get an hourly rate, they will charge a percentage of the total construction bid. Occasionally, they charge based on acres or square feet, though this is less common and varies between firms and freelancers.

Scope of Services

Landscape architects offer design and project management services depending on the project. Firms tend to work in a variety of areas both in the private and public sectors. Costs usually remain similar regardless of the following project types:

  • Transportation corridors such as roads and highways

  • Waterfront and urban development

  • Residential construction

  • Parks, cemeteries, and public spaces

  • Campuses and commercial centers

  • Resorts and corporate developments

Project Process

Firms offer a variety of services, but the entire design process usually follows these steps:

  • Inception & Initiation: This phase includes the initial consultation, site visit (inventory and analysis), and proposal or brief.

  • Concept Design: Includes the creation of documents for the client to understand the proposed design.

  • Development: Takes the concept design and creates detailed plans for the client.

  • Construction Documentation: Creates construction documents from the design for contractors and builders.

  • Procurement: The firm accepts bids from contractors based on the construction plans to price the project.

  • Installation: Supervises contractors during installation. Troubleshoots construction problems and manages the project.

Typical Fee Schedule or Operating Cost Scale

A fee schedule is a document that design and architecture firms provide that lays out their exact fees for each type of service. This document defines the work they do and what the rates are for that work. They list hourly rates for principals and associates as well as travel, expenses, initial consultations, and any projects that require special fees. Firms provide this upfront at the initial consultation. They work to standardize firm rates across clients.

Architecture Fee per Square Foot and Meter

Square foot costs tend to run from low-end work to extremely high-end. Low-end includes small and simple landscaping and yard design projects without much complexity or high-end materials. High-end work tends to include the cost to install decks, patio designs, outdoor kitchens, in-ground pool costs, and multilevel additions which can increase the square footage. This chart shows estimates on square foot costs determined by hourly and project rates divided by the area. They usually don't charge per square foot.

Type of ProjectSquare Meter CostSquare Foot CostAverage Project TotalConcept Fee
Low End< $300< $70< $50k$0 – $1,500
Mid-Range$300 – 600$70 – $140$50 – $100k$1,500 – $3,500
High End$600 – $1,000$140 – $230 $100k – $400k$3,500 – $6,500
Extreme> $1,000> $230$400,000+$10,000+

Architecture Fee Percentage of Project Total

Landscape architecture firms working on commercial or government projects usually charge as a percentage of the total construction project. Rates of 5% to 15% are typical, although it can be as high as 25% depending on the type of project. This is usually only with new construction and additions. If a home costs $200,000 to build, you may be charged 10%, or $20,000, for the project.

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Average Consultation Rates for Initial Analysis

Initial landscape architect consultation rates can be up to $50 more per hour than the overall hourly rate. A first analysis includes a site visit and consultation.

Professionals first analyze the nature around the construction site. They see where sunlight falls at various times of the day and year. They think about the weather, the kind of soil, the hills, the water, and the plants that are at the work location. They will then draw what they want the landscape to look like.

Designing Site Plans

Landscape architect plans will include 40% to 75% of the total project cost. Most contractors draw their plans using computers and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems during the concept design and development phases. Many include future time projections in their designs, allowing the client to visualize the space in 5 to 10 years.

Once the design is complete, landscape architects write reports, make sketches, models, and photographs to explain their ideas. Many use video simulations to help clients see what the land will look like once construction is complete. They also need to estimate how much their ideas will cost.

Landscape Architect Proposal Price Estimate

The homeowner will receive an estimate after the initial consultation. The initial estimate or brief can be anywhere from 1 to 100 pages depending on the size and complexity of the project. Most residential projects are less than five pages. 

The brief will lay out: 

  • Project details: ideas, land use requirements, environmental concerns, materials, etc.

  • Scope of services

  • Who will be involved: engineers, landscapers, etc.

  • Architect's fee

Implementation & Construction Management

Next, landscape architects draw up a list of needed materials. Then, they tell other workers how to do the planting and construction shown in the design. In the implementation phase, the architect is now functioning as a project manager. Although the contractor completes the physical work, the architect is responsible for inspecting the site, supervising changes to the plans, and deals with any issues that arise. This is something that you should pay for in the cost of your initial bid unless you expressly ask for its removal. 

The architect normally remains responsible for the project until the client has inspected and approved the finished product. 

TIP: Keep the name of your professional on hand as you may want to have a follow-up consultation in three to five years' time to ensure that the design is maturing as expected.

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Architects vs. Designers vs. Landscapers

Despite their differences, the cost of hiring a landscape architect or designer are similar. Hourly rates for designers tend to fall in the $50 to $150 an hour range while architects charge only slightly more at $70 to $150 an hour with principal architects charging slightly higher at about $200 an hour. However, despite the similarity in hourly rates, designer projects can often run longer, resulting in higher rates. Consult with your professional prior to hiring his or her services for a specific rate and estimated timeframe for the project. 

DIY Landscape Architecture vs. Hiring a Pro

While you may be able to save on the cost of hiring a landscape designer by roughing out the design you want yourself, you can't really cut corners when it comes to hiring a landscape architect. While their fees are similar, landscape architects differ from designers. The architect is a well-qualified individual who has a degree in landscape architecture, has work experience under a licensed professional, and has passed a national exam. Because their training is so rigorous, it's not something that you can take and just "wing it". These landscaping pros are certified to create construction documents and are qualified to design safe, attractive outbuildings and large structures. 

While you may have some idea of what you want your garden to look like, the landscape architect can take your vague concept and come up with a holistic design for your outdoor space that includes structures, pathways, seating areas, water features, and more. Once you agree to the design, the architect puts the finishing touches on the drafts, then creates official construction documents ready to be used by your local landscape contractor. They may also be able to help you make sure you have all the right permits in place before the work begins.

Because the work is so detailed and specific, you can see that it's not possible to go the DIY route and expect professional results.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I hire an architect for my yard design?

Homeowners typically hire an architect for yard design with the initial construction of their home or for very complex projects that involve installing pools or other structures in the yard. If you want to completely redesign the look of your outdoor space, or you're making significant structural changes such as adding a swimming pool or other substantial structure, it's a smart idea to bring in a landscape architect before you hire a landscaper to do the actual construction and landscaping work. The architect provides the construction documents for the landscaper to follow to execute the agreed-upon plan.

Who is responsible for securing permits needed for construction?

The landscaper or local general contractor secures all needed construction permits. In many cases, the landscape architect is highly knowledgeable about the requirements and legalities of the job, and can advise on what permits are necessary, although they don't usually secure the actual permits. Instead, the necessary details are included in the prepared construction documents for the contractor to follow up on.

How long does it take to design a landscape?

How long it takes to design a landscape depends on how simple or complex your vision is and the size of your property. A fairly small yard can take just a couple of days, while a substantial property where the homeowner wants to add multiple structures, like a pool and an outdoor kitchen and living room setup can take up to four weeks. Plus, there's some back and forth between you and the architect, so it can take some time to get a design you're happy with.

When do you pay a landscape architect?

You generally pay a landscape architect the full balance when they've completed their design, you've agreed to it, and they've drawn up the construction documents. You may, however, be expected to pay a deposit up front to secure their services. Some charge a flat fee while others charge up to 30 percent of the total project fee. For more substantial projects, you may be able to agree to a payment plan or milestone payments.

What is the best time of year to do landscaping?

Landscape design and architectural plans can be completed at any time of year, although you might get a better deal during the colder months. Actually implementing the landscaping itself should wait until spring for planting projects and, ideally, until summer for large-scale hardscaping projects like laying a patio or installing a swimming pool.