In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, creating a usable and lovely backyard is a priority for many homeowners. However, backyard remodel costs are not insignificant. Many of the amenities in a backyard can be relatively expensive, but are well worth it for the many years of enjoyment that the family will get from a backyard renovation.
If you have a backyard that needs a makeover and you want to know the costs of creating that dream backyard, I’ll discuss those and break them down. Depending on your budget, there are small projects as well as major projects you can do, so understanding the cost of each item is an important first step in considering a backyard or patio remodel project.
Here at GreatBuildz, we speak with clients every day who are looking for quality backyard contractors for an outdoor construction project. GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, pre-screened landscape and pool contractors in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego, then provides ongoing project support to ensure a stress-free experience.
Give us a call at 818.317.3567 or visit our website at www.GreatBuildz.com to learn more and discuss your project.
A backyard or patio remodel might entail different potential projects with varying budgets so let’s discuss the various categories and possibilities:
Water element: Pool, spa, pond, or other water feature.
Seating: patio, deck, pergola, or other patio covers.
Landscaping: lawn, trees, shrubs, ground cover, and other plants.
Features: outdoor BBQ/kitchen, firepit, fireplace, pizza oven, heaters, tv, etc.
Privacy: fencing, walls, gates, etc.
Pools and Spas
Swimming pools and other water features are a very popular backyard renovation project and can add significant value to your property. They are also very appealing for people with kids or people that like to entertain. However, by far, they are on the highest end of typical backyard remodel costs; swimming pools can cost anywhere from $50,000-$100,000. If you’re including lots of features such as a hot tub, pool heaters, waterfalls, waterslides, or other amenities, a pool can easily run into a six-figure project.
When it comes to a spa or hot tub, that project can cost anywhere from $10,000-$30,000 and that includes the cost of the spa unit and delivery. Leaving a spa or hot tub above ground is the cheapest way to go, but you still need a contractor to connect the unit to water, power, and potentially gas lines. An in-ground spa has a cleaner look and is more likely to increase the long-term value of your home.
A cheaper way to add the aesthetics of water to your backyard is through a pond or waterfall feature which is less expensive than a pool or spa. Cost depends on size and features, it can range from $5,000 to $25,000. This backyard feature, if maintained, can add value to a home, but many of these are often abandoned or ignored after several years by the homeowner.
An outdoor patio remodel or deck will provide seating and lounging areas for you and your guests, as well as room for other outdoor furniture. Patios can be as simple as concrete or built with pavers and other materials like flagstone, brick, etc.
Concrete in Los Angeles can cost anywhere from $10-$15 per square foot including installation and materials. Pavers and other flagstone materials will range from $12 per square foot and can go all the way up to $100 per square foot for exotic options.
Another backyard remodeling idea is to build a deck created made from wood or wood-style materials like Trex and might cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the size. Ask your outdoor contractor about which material will work well in your yard.
A pergola or some kind of patio cover is also a very important element for the comfort and usability of any elegant patio remodel. With the hot Los Angeles and Southern California sun, you want to make sure that you’re protected against the elements with some kind of cover for your seating areas – so save space in your budget for the added expense of this backyard remodel cost.
The total cost of a pergola or patio cover will depend on the style size and material you choose but you can expect it to cost between $3,000-$20,000. A nice patio cover or pergola will add value to your home by making your backyard space seem much more functional for family enjoyment and entertaining.
Landscaping is an important element of any backyard as it will increase their aesthetics and enjoyment of your patio remodel. Landscaping includes things like a lawn, trees, shrubs, irrigation, etc. An irrigation system itself will be necessary before you do any planting and you can expect this to cost $3,000 to $8,000 depending on the size of your backyard.
With regard to a lawn, you can choose between the more cost-effective option of using grass seed or spending more by installing fully grown sod. Also, you can consider the option of fake grass which is more expensive to install but very low maintenance and environmentally friendly with no need for water.
You can expect the cost of a lawn to range between $2,000 – $15,000. The other backyard remodel costs of all other landscaping like shrubs, trees, and flowers will largely depend on what you choose and the size of your backyard, so ask your landscape contractor for specific prices.
The next items to consider when evaluating backyard remodel costs are features that add to the overall useability and comfort of your backyard such as an outdoor kitchen, BBQ, fireplace, fire pit, heaters, tv, etc.
Most people love the idea of having an outdoor kitchen for entertaining or family outdoor dining. This usually includes a BBQ island, prep area, refrigerator, sink, etc. Outdoor kitchens will add value to the home but can cost anywhere from $10,000 all the way up to $100,000 if they include exotic elements such as a fireplace or pizza oven, etc. It’s a good idea to ensure that any outdoor kitchen island has weatherproof materials such as granite or concrete for the countertop.
An amenity like a firepit or fireplace can really add to the useability of a backyard remodel, especially in the evening or during the fall months. These days, portable or pre-fabricated firepits are available for purchase from retailers and should cost you less than $2,000.
If you’re considering creating a more custom firepit or fireplace, you should be prepared to spend $5,000 – $30,000 depending on the size, design, and materials you choose. A general contractor or outdoor contractor should be able to show you photos of various options and costs.
You’ll want to make sure your patio remodel is secure and private, and this requires including some exterior walls or fences. The most common and cost-effective is wood fencing. Wood will always show wear with time and various weather conditions. You might consider using a harder, more durable wood like redwood or cedar or at least painting and sealing the fence at completion. A wood fence in Los Angeles or Southern California might cost you $30-50 per lineal foot.
Another option is a vinyl fence, which usually comes in a nice, clean-looking white color. Vinyl is a good option because it’s long-lasting and low maintenance. It also has a more appealing look than wood, but it can cost you slightly more at $40-60 per lineal foot.
If you’re looking for a fence that creates some security but allows you to maintain a view, one option is wrought iron. The costs can vary substantially based on the look, size, and height you’re trying to achieve.
Backyard Landscape Design
If you’re planning a major backyard project with multiple of the above elements, the first place to start is with a plan or design. Some contractors work with design professionals that can do this for you or you can hire your own landscape architect to create this plan. You’ll start by telling this professional what elements are important in your new backyard design as well as your rough budget. From there, they can design a draft layout for you to review and revise as needed. Its important to have an experienced landscape designer work with you as they take into consideration things like the area temperatures, location of the sun in the sky relative to your yard, the size of full-grown plants and trees, etc.
How Do I Find Good Pool & Landscape Contractors Near Me?
A good option to find a reliable landscape contractor or outdoor contractor for your patio remodel is to ask friends, neighbors, or co-workers to recommend someone they’ve used. You can look to find a list of contractors recommended on sites like Facebook. But beware: if you ask for recommendations at these sites, you should only trust recommendations from your ‘real-life’ friends. Other people on these sites can be biased (they’ll recommend a cousin who is a contractor, etc).
If you don’t get any good suggestions from people you know personally, you should look into services that do the most intensive contractor screening and offer personalized introductions to reputable contractors (like GreatBuildz).
Related: GreatBuildz Top Rated Contractors
The worst option is just going online and sifting through a long list of backyard contractors on various online review sites. There are too many contractors and most of them seem to have a 4- or 5-star rating on these sites, and you just can’t tell the good contractors from the bad ones just based on reviews and photos.
After you meet with several contractors and get their estimates, resist the urge to simply hire the one that provides you the lowest cost. You’ll want to compare these cost estimates carefully to ensure they include all the items that you want in your outdoor remodel. For more info on comparing contractor bids that vary in price, check out this blog.
A quality backyard and landscape contractor will have the appropriate license (C-27) for the CSLB. A pool contractor should always be licensed with the CSLB (C53 license). Make sure to check the CSLB site to confirm the contractor’s license is still active and that there are no complaints filed. You can also see there how long the company has been licensed and in business. In addition, make certain that the contractor you are considering for your backyard remodel has both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened landscape and pool contractors and provides project support from start to finish.
Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com