How much does a backyard garden cost?

backyard garden cost

Interested in building a garden in your backyard but unsure of the total cost?   We went from a boring overgrown lawn to garden boxes growing food!  You can check out the full build series here!  I constantly hear how much money gardening can save, but never hear about the total cost associated with getting everything setup.  Here is a full accounting of the costs that went into the six-part garden series:



If you are converting a traditional sprinkler watered lawn, you can utilize the existing irrigation system for your garden boxes!  I did exactly that, but made a few adjustments to remove and replace broken pipes.  These costs are mostly PVC pipe and connectors.

You can read the full irrigation installation article here!

Item Price Quantity Total
PVC 3/4″ x 10′ pipe  $       2.80 5  $    14.00
PVC 3/4″ 90D coupling 10 pack  $       5.68 1  $       5.68
PVC 3/4″ straight coupling  $       0.26 3  $       0.78
PVC 3/4″ cross coupling  $       2.08 3  $       6.24
PVC 1/2″ x 12″ riser  $       1.37 4  $       5.48
PVC 3/4″ cap (plug)  $       0.46 5  $       2.30
PVC 1/2″ cap (screw)  $       0.81 4  $       3.24
PVC primer pack (primer + cement) 8oz  $       8.02 1  $       8.02

Total spend on irrigation (non-drip): $45.74.

in ground irrigation
New PVC laid out to each garden box.

Garden box construction

You need a place to plant your crops!  While you can plant directly into the ground, garden boxes are an affordable way to better control the soil, prevent pests, and allow better drainage.

You can read the full garden box installation article here!

Item Price Quantity Total
Douglas fir 8’ board $7.72 8 $61.76
Deckmate screws 3.5” 5 lbs box $25.61 ~0.17 $4.44

Note: Huge box of screws purchased to use in other projects.  Costs reflect this project.  12 screws used for each garden box, 48 screws used out of an estimated 277 total.

Total spend on garden boxes: $66.20 (or $16.55 per box).

garden boxes
Raised garden boxes placed and ready for filling!


Plants need to grow in soil!  Soil can be surprisingly expensive depending on your area, so we highly recommend searching around and considering a few different blends.  We talk about different popular soil blends in our full article to help guide your early research.

You can read the full soil prep article here!

Item  Price Quantity Total
Steer manure 1CF  $    1.09 11  $      11.99
Top Soil 1CF  $    2.37 15  $      35.55
Sphagum peat moss 3CF  $  12.48 4  $      49.92

Total spend on garden box soil: $97.46 (or roughly $24.37 per box).

various garden soils
Mix your own soil blend to save money!

Drip system

While you can water by hand, we love having an automated system that keeps our plants watered automatically.  A drip system makes daily watering a breeze and should save you water costs in the long run.  After putting in the irrigation adjustments listed above, these are the costs associated with drip installation.

You can read the full drip installation article here!

Item  Price Quantity  Total
Adjustable dripper 10 pack  $    6.19 2  $  12.38
8 outlet manifold  $    6.86 4  $  27.44
100′ drip tubing  $    6.97 2  $  13.94

Total spend on drip system: $53.76 (or $13.44 per box).

drip manifold
Drip manifold setup and ready to go!

Total costs

Irrigation spend:  $    45.74
Garden box construction spend:  $    66.20
Soil spend:  $    97.46
Drip system spend:  $    53.76
Total:  $  263.16

So, for four 4’x4′ irrigated and filled garden boxes, our total cost came out to $263.16 (or $65.79 per box).

There are a ton of different styles, layouts, and materials you can choose to setup your garden.  I went with long lasting materials on the more budget friendly side.

We plan to keep this article updated as time goes on.  We fully expect wear (and eventual decay) of some materials like the wood and drip emitters.  Our goal is to provide updates on lifespan of the items above and any additional costs.

To see our ongoing overall cost tracker (including seeds and other consumables) paired with plant yield, check out this page!

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