Top Outdoor Living Projects in Indianapolis And Costs

March 2018

Consider your yard a blank canvas … you can create any “picture” imaginable with landscaping … from water features to outdoor kitchens to a cozy fire pit perfect for entertaining friends or relaxing after a long week. A general “rule-of-thumb” budget is to spend 10% of your home’s value on your yard.

Here are our picks for the top landscaping projects in Indianapolis as well as costs associated with them.

1. Patios

Paving your patio will likely be one of your biggest landscaping expenses. Concrete is typically the lowest cost option, while stone is the most expensive. However, costs can vary considerably within each material category. A basic concrete patio will cost around six dollars a square foot, while stamped and colored concrete can cost nearly 20 dollars a square foot. Likewise, a sandstone patio will cost less than bluestone or travertine. If you love the look of natural stone, but it’s out of your budget, consider a concrete patio with a stone border.

2. Outdoor Kitchens Outdoor kitchen

The cost of an outdoor kitchen will depend largely on its size, the materials you select and the appliances you want to be installed. A basic outdoor cooking area with a patio, grill and countertop can run a few thousand dollars; however, the biggest ticket item in an outdoor kitchen is the grill. A cost saving option is to purchase a high-end grill from a “big box” store and have your outdoor kitchen built around it. Another cost saver is locating your outdoor kitchen near your home where water and electric are already available. Most outdoor kitchen projects (exclusive of paving and overhead structures) will fall into this division of costs:
a. General construction $5,000 to $12,000
b. Cost and installation of appliances $2,000 to $5,000
c. Cost of an outdoor kitchen with brick or masonry $400 to $600 per linear foot
d. Cost of an outdoor kitchen with prefab framework $300 to $500 per linear foot

3. Outdoor Fireplaces

The cost of an outdoor fireplace depends on your preferences of wood-burning or gas. The biggest variables of are the choices of a prefab fireplace ($1,500 – $9,000), fireplace kits ($2,000 to $7000) or custom built ($8,000 – $20,000). If you have a very specific vision for your fireplace, then custom is the way to go.

4. Firepits

Firepits come in many shapes, sizes … and prices! For some who just want to occasionally roast some marshmallows, an inexpensive portable in the $80 – $120 range is just fine. A more permanent structure like prefabricated firepits range from $1,200 out of basic stone to $4,000 with specialty materials like slate.

5. Pergolas

Pergolas have become very popular additions to patio landscapes over the course of the last decade. They add a little shade and a lot of character to your outdoor space. They can vary widely in cost due to the differences in design, material costs, and the labor required to install them. A small open-roof pergola made of an inexpensive wood can be as little as $3,000, while more elaborate pergolas with solid cedar or redwood beams and a solid roof can run $15,000 or more.

6. Retaining walls 

With such variation in the method and materials of retaining wall construction, actual costs can be difficult to assess without a completed design. However, you  can start with the materials … Interlocking concrete blocks run $15 – $30 per square foot, while wood is slightly less at $20 – $25 per square foot. Predictably, stone is more costly, usually priced between $25 – $40. Poured concrete is the priciest option at $30 – $40 per square foot. In addition to material costs, other factors impacting pricing include location, soils, and fill materials.

7. Water features

There is just something exceedingly peaceful about water, whether it’s a bubbling fountain, a babbling brook or a peaceful pond. The size, style, materials and equipment you select will all impact the final price of your pond, though you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for a custom pond. Extra features like a waterfall or stream are priced relevant to the size of the feature. Additionally, a bridge or stepping stone pathway that crosses the pond will add to the total cost.

One of the most popular water features is a koi pond. Because these are a habitat, they need to be properly designed in order for the fish to thrive. A koi pond needs to be at least 3-feet deep and contain 25 square feet of pond per koi with no less than 1,000 gallons of water. This fish also need shade, so they must be built in a shady area of your yard or you need to plant floating plants like water lilies.

8. Privacy structures 

It’s a little ironic that we move into a neighborhood with the expectation of making friends with our neighbors … but one of the most requested landscape projects includes creating privacy from neighbors. Unlike the 1980s go-to, 6-foot tall “privacy fence,” today’s privacy is accomplished through using plants for a privacy screen, privacy buffer or strategically placing structures to block the view of, oh, say a trampoline in your neighbor’s backyard. Obviously, the cost varies with the “amount of privacy” you’re seeking to accomplish, but in general between $2,000 and $10,000 should be sufficient.

9.  Sidewalk and driveway

Investing in exterior curb appeal is one of the best investments you can make in your home. A new sidewalk or driveway can make a substantial difference in the exterior appearance of a home. As a general rule, concrete will cost between $5 and $16 per square foot; brick, $8 – $12; pavers, $10 – $25 and natural stone, $18-$30. Again, as with the patio, a border out of the more costly materials is a way to stretch the budget while gaining a luxury look.

Likewise, repaving a driveway ads an instant update to your home. The least expensive option is asphalt, which costs between $1 and $5 per square foot. Pavers or bricks for a driveway vary widely, between $10 – $50 per square foot. Additional factors adding to cost include slopes, curves, drains, complex designs or grading.