Living Smart: What landscaping can you get for $50, $500, or $5,000?

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

How much does landscaping cost? Top-rated companies explain how far your dollar stretches when it comes to enhancing your home’s curb appeal.

As you survey your property, you might wonder what type of landscaping additions or upgrades fit your budget. Well, wonder no more.

Angie’s List asked landscapers about the most popular projects they offer in various price ranges, so all you have to do is decide which one suits you best.

Keep in mind, though, always to verify a landscaping company’s insurance and applicable licensing information. What they’re selling may sound like a bargain, but you might end up with a raw deal if they’re not following the rules.

What can I get for $50?

Admittedly, at this price range you might be looking at more DIY-type projects, such as buying and spreading your own bags of mulch. But there are a few tasks you can hire a pro to tackle.

Dan Eyre, owner of Dan’s Landscape and Tree Service in Cypress, Calif., says $50 will cover the cost of programming a sprinkler’s timer and an operational once-over.

Other options include a flat of seasonal spring flowers, such as begonias, planted and mulched by a landscaper.

Or one application of fly repellent for an average-sized lawn, according to Kronda Thimesch, co-owner of Green Meadows Landscaping in Lewisville, Tex.

"One application lasts four weeks, and it deters flies in the yard," Thimesch says.

What can I get for $500?

Scott McIntyre, owner of Landscape Solutions in Los Gatos, Calif.-, says he typically charges a minimum of $500 for irrigation troubleshooting, repair services or other miscellaneous landscaping work that takes around eight man hours.

"Our slogan is ‘great landscaping designed to budget,’ so we’re familiar with the importance of good design and getting the most for your money," he says.

Thimesch says some of the services she offers in this price range include:

— Nine applications of a fertilization and weed control program.

— Lawn mowed, trimmed and edged weekly for four months, for the average half-acre lot.

— A 3-D design of your landscape plan. "It takes the guesswork out of what the trees and plants will look like in your yard," she says.

What can I get for $5,000?

Mick Johnson, owner of Johnson Creek in St. Paul, Minn., says homeowners with this kind of budget can expect a wide variety of finished projects, including patios and retaining walls.

The type of patio or wall, materials and size all play into the final cost.

Another option is revamping a home’s front foundation landscape, which involves removing most — if not all — of the debris and plants already in the beds. Then those beds are reshaped and given a new planting palette to complement the home, increasing its overall curb appeal.

"Each project we work on is as unique as the homeowner and their house," Johnson says. "So it’s difficult to place a hard-and-fast cost on a custom landscape."

Eyre says this budget will get a homeowner a complete irrigation system in both the front and back yards, including a new timer, valves, heads and also the installation of 1,000 square feet of sod.

Other options our landscaping experts mentioned include:

— Water features

— Privacy and border plantings

— Perennial gardens

— Landscape lighting

— Arbors and trellis work

Doug Engelhart, owner of Your Personal Gardener in Ostrander, Ohio, says a customer spending $50 should expect the same service as one spending $500 or $5,000.

"You should get the same commitment to showing up on time, the same quality of work whether done in one hour or a hundred, and the same level of honesty on the invoice or work order," he says. "Customers should insist on, no matter the price range, details on their invoices, including materials and quantities."