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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ringler

Understanding Landscape Design & Installation Bids and Budgets

Updated: May 1


Budget Conscious Landscaping- Palm Beach County, Florida

So many Landscaping companies have settled for scribbling down a number on an estimate sheet, with vague ramblings about one plant or another. South Floridians should not be expected to accept these ever-degrading standards within the industry. The unfortunate truth is that the Landscape Industry is nearly completely unregulated. Any regular Joe who cuts their own yard and does their home’s landscaping can wake up one day and decide they will be a landscaper. This leads to a lack of quality services and standards, and can often further the stigmas within the general industry.

We at Ringler Landscape Design Co. are striving to innovate and mold the standards within the industry. Residents of Palm Beach County no longer need to accept the one size fits all, “take it or leave it” estimating process that landscapers habitually abuse.

Any honest landscaper will tell you, that your landscape installation’s price is NOT decided by your design. The price of your landscape installation, whether commercial or residential is almost 100% variable. Your landscaping budget is decided by the density and maturity of the materials you use, and in comparison, is affected very little by the species of plants and trees used.

Lets cover the variables that can be used to adjust your landscape installation budget. Both of these variables directly relate to “instant gratification” in the landscape, and can make or break your budget.

Plant spacing and its impact on quantity and landscape budgets


Imagine you have a straight fence line, and you want to plant Clusia or another hedge to have privacy there. Regardless of your plant size, your spacing is a crucial part of the bidding process. Spacing material 1 foot on center versus 1.5 feet on center increase your cost by 50% alone. Small variations in spacing throughout your entire landscape design can save or cost you a fortune. Having a professional landscape company with integrity can save you 50% or more on your installation, while still providing the same end result. Its up to us to use our experience and make the proper suggestions for spacing based on rate of growth and other factors per species used in your design. Prioritizing focal points and slow growing materials for densely planted beds, and being more budget conscious for other landscape beds WILL save you money.

See the Picture to the right for reference.


The next variable landscape item is Maturity. It is equally important if not more important than the density of your plantings. If you were to plant the same Clusia hedge referenced above in 3 gallon (a landscaping term used to dictate the size of the pot the plant is currently in) each plant would cost between $15 and $19.00 delivered and installed and be between 12” and 20” in height. The same plant, but in a 7 gallon pot, would cost between $55.00 and $65.00 delivered and installed, and be between 30” and 40” in height. This is a massive price increase just from increasing the maturity of the material. This is why it is SO CRUCIAL to use landscape professionals that have the insight, integrity, and experience to inform you of your options. This same example applies to all landscape material, whether its plants, trees, or ground covers.

Yes, there are certain line items that have their price set in stone. Those line items are ones that are based on square footage, such as rock, mulch, and sod. Prices will fluctuate depending on the company you receive a bid from, but typically will not vary too drastically.

These variables make receiving itemized and detailed bids extremely important. We highly recommend consulting with a design firm before you go out to bid so you can have a precise design and material schedule for landscapers to bid on. This allows you to make sure all bidding companies are submitting proposals that are “apples to apples”.

We realize not all jobs (especially small residential) require an in-depth landscape design prior to receiving an estimate. In this case we recommend requesting itemized estimates. Remember, that based on the above variables, your cheaper bid may actually be more expensive on a per plant basis, or your more expensive bid may be cheaper on a per plant basis. This is because the cheaper bid may be charging more per plant, but spacing them out more than the expensive bid.

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