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  • Landscaping costs?

    For those of you with big lots, how much do you spend on landscaping? I don’t currently own a house (maybe in the next 5 years) and I think I want a decent amount of land, probably one acre or more. I frequently get told this is going to cost me thousands of dollars in landscaping a year but I really don’t understand why. I can see an upfront cost if I’m putting in sod and get a professional to help me decide where to plant trees and flowers and such, but what are the continual expenses? It can’t just be cutting the grass because if that’s all i’ll Just do it myself. What am I missing?

  • #2
    This could range from not much to a whole lot and depends on the size of the lot. There can be significant up front costs in equipment depending on the actual size of the lot (push mower vs. riding lawn mower vs. small tractor). If it's mainly grass then your ongoing costs aren't going to be too outrageous. You'll need to keep the grass mowed, fertilized, over seeded, most likely irrigated, etc. Landscaping is one of those things that you can make as expensive as you want it to be.

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    • #3
      Yes a simple grass lawn should be fairly simple if you plan on cutting it yourself.  If you start talking multiple large flowerbeds, lots of bushes needing pruning, water features, etc then that can get very expensive assuming you are hiring it out.

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      • #4
        I believe it.  In FL, it probably costs about $200-300 a month just to mow an acre of lawn.  You will not do it yourself for sure.  I have not known any of my friends or my neighbors doing it themselves.  Going out in summer at 80+ degrees temperature to mow lawn every 7-10 days, rain or shine, is a suicide mission.

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        • #5
          Think of home maintenance. The size, number of rooms, and furnishings greatly impact the time and expense of upkeep. Just window cleaning inside and out for a large two story requires a “specialist”. The plants and flower beds you choose can be high or low maintenance.
          The grass you choose alone can make a difference.

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          • #6


            Going out in summer at 80+ degrees temperature to mow lawn every 7-10 days, rain or shine, is a suicide mission.
            Click to expand...


            Who mows their yard in the rain?

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            • #7
              In the early days of homeownership, I mowed my own lawn.  I was in a bit of a state of shock after the largest purchase of my young life at that point, having signed my life away on what felt like a big mortgage.  As a result, I broadened my tool collection and did all home repairs and garden maintenance in my free time.

              These days, with an acre of land, we pay a landscaping company to cut and trim, $300/month in a HCOL area.  These days, that feels very cheap, reasonable and affordable.

              However, you can have anything from elaborate gardens to very simple native grass.  You can pay a fortune for landscaping or a minimal amount.  To some degree it depends on the neighborhood what the typical landscape looks like.  We love having a veritable botanical garden, a vegetable garden, an herb garden, espalier fruit trees, and a chicken coop, but all of that is really just an enjoyable hobby for my better half.

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              • #8
                We own two acres. If all you want is grass cum weeds, or a forest, it will be cheap. But the equipment for two acres adds up. A riding mower needs maintenance, tune ups and oil changes, blade sharpening and repairs. Trees need pruning or at least hedging and you need a hedger. An edger. Weed wacker. You'll need mulch. Landscape cloth. Perennials and annuals or your place will look like crap. Trees will get diseased and need to be taken down. Fertilizer, weed spray, and water cost a lot of money. There are pruners and lopers. Saws. Do you plan to grow anything? Garden soil and amendments and compost or make your own and plan to turn it with a tractor. Hauling off trimmings. A truck and a trailer come in useful. Raised bed material. Irriigation systems break down and should be purged with air every winter. Raking up fall leaves is a project in itself and a blower or large leaf collector are a must. Garden beds need annuals or shrubs, and over time things die or get sick and need replacing.

                We spend a lot on the outdoors. And it just looks decent, not great. We are about to spend close to six figures on a backyard courtyard, pool, hot tub, etc to create more of a resort but that is just with a small portion of the yard.

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                • #9
                  It is funny what a large plot is to some. 1 acre is 45 minutes with a rider. Including the trimming. In my area that is $50 a mow. The gardens and bushes and trees are highly dependent on the land. There are plenty of low maintenance options. I would not be hesitant to have an acre. I am surprised some would find that a lot.

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                  • #10
                    Now this is reminding me of Senator Rand Paul (former ophthalmologist) who cut his own grass in a swanky neighborhood in Kentucky.  His neighbor, an anesthesiologist, did not appreciate the way the senator was maintaining his property, leading to a nasty, years-long stand off that culminated in an assault on the senator, with multiple rib fractures, hemothorax and more if I remember the news reports correctly.

                    Be careful who your neighbors are if you decide to maintain your own property....

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                    • #11
                      We have a third of an acre which is pretty big for the city. I'll be getting the first months mowing bill soon but I think it's $45/week? I like to garden and we have a lot of flower beds, which I put some serious work into last summer when we moved in. This has paid off because there have been relatively few weeks to manage and I do it myself. Our house is set on a hill and the bottom third of our lot is a steep slope and then it levels out. It's a jungle back there. I could seriously lose a kid back there! So we're paying about 40k to get it landscaped to be low maintenance moving forward- pea gravel fire pit area, in ground trampoline, and raised garden beds. So if you are moving to 1 acre that is already well manicured, should not be too expensive to maintain. But if you are creating newly landscaped areas it can get real expensive real quick.

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                      • #12
                        *weeds to manage, not weeks!

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                        • #13
                          For those who live near wooded areas... if the idea is to have relative seclusion, would there be a lot of maintenance involved other than removing downed trees? Or would it mostly be vermin control? I'm looking at a house on 5 acres in a mostly wooded area.

                          What are the thoughts around here on desert landscaping?

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                          • #14





                            Going out in summer at 80+ degrees temperature to mow lawn every 7-10 days, rain or shine, is a suicide mission. 
                            Click to expand…


                            Who mows their yard in the rain?
                            Click to expand...


                            When I drive to work in the rain, I always see a few landscape guys working.  So, I gave my lawn man $20 on top of what he was asking, just a token of appreciation.

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                            • #15
                              “desert landscaping” rocks!

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