My Honest Review of Yardzen Landscape Design (2023)

In this post, I break down the nitty-gritty of the online landscape design services Yardzen provides. If you are considering buying a Yardzen design package and want to know the pros, cons, and answers to all your pressing questions before purchasing, be sure to read this Yardzen landscape review 2023!

Rethinking Our Outdoor Space

We bought our house sight unseen… Dead serious.

It was late 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic and we were planning our second cross-country move within two years. We had a 2 year old, a newborn and were BOTH starting new jobs in North Carolina within a month. Thankfully we have a realtor we trust with our lives and when she walked us through our current home on Facetime, we could tell it was THE ONE.

There were a few things I didn’t notice from our video tour when I finally saw our beautiful home in person. I will be honest that my biggest drawback was the backyard.

Our backyard has a very steep slope going up towards the back fence. The back of our yard has a natural area with trees and uneven terrain. Our kids love playing in the “forest”, but I don’t love how there isn’t a good flat space for entertaining. 

how to landscape a steep slope without retaining walls


We do have a deck off our backyard where we love to hang out. The deck is a bit small in size and the wood is deteriorating. Off of the deck, the grass at the base is corroded and the kids have dug several large mud pits. (naturally…)

BTW: If you are loving this Yardzen landscape review 2023 & considering using Yardzen for your yard design, use code CASSIEJ20 TO GET 20% OFF YOUR PURCHASE! Click HERE

Backyard Wish List

Knowing we had some work to do to make this backyard our dream space, we’ve spent the last two years strategizing and coming up with a plan!

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The first step to deciding what you want for your backyard renovation is to create a WISH LIST. We decided to think big picture for this list since we plan to be in this home for many years and aren’t in a rush to finish every project this summer.

what software does yardzen use
  • I REALLY want an outdoor eating space. The current deck is too small to fit a seating area plus a table.
  • I also want a patio at the base of the deck so that the mud hole situation can end and we’d have a pretty transition down to the yard.
  • Additionally, I’d LOVE a beautiful and SAFE play area for our kids.
  • My husband is all about luxury and function. He (and let’s be real, me too) really wants a hot tub at some point down the road.
  • The last thing we really want is to have a few more flat areas in our yard so that we don’t feel like we are living on a giant slope.
yardzen cost

To summarize our wishlist, here it is:

  1. Install an antique brick paver patio
  2. Install a retaining wall to level off at least a part of the slope
  3. Add a play area for our kids
  4. Eventually, expand the deck (and add a hot tub).
  5. Landscape the whole backyard (which is almost FULL shade).

Easy right?

Why We Decided to Hire a Design Team To Create CAD Renderings

what software does yardzen use

If we were simply looking to add some basic landscaping to our backyard or even a small patio and deck combo, we could probably have skipped hiring professionals to help with the design of our yard.

HOWEVER, our yard is complicated…

what software does yardzen use

Giant slopes in different directions.

Drainage issues.

Rocky Soil.

Full sun in some sections and FULL shade in others.

Almost NO flat areas in the whole yard.

how does yardzen work

We wanted to know that any money invested into this yard was well spent. I didn’t feel like I had a defined vision for this yard, and that stressed me out!

Why We Chose Yardzen Design Services

We mulled over the idea of purchasing Yardzen 3- d renderings for quite a few weeks. At first, I honestly balked at the price and was worried that maybe they’d just digitize what I had already come up with in my head and I’d feel like it was a waste of money.

However, when a few contractors came to look at the yard and we began to explain what we were envisioning, there was lots of back and forth.

yardzen before and after

It seemed like maybe they weren’t understanding what we were saying and vice versa. I kept trying to imagine the ideas they discussed with us and in my head, it just didn’t click. We asked if they do digital design concepts themselves and they were actually the ones who recommended hiring an online landscape architect to create CAD (computer-aided design) renderings.

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We also had to take a step back and look at the overall price of what we were planning to do.

The process of putting in a patio, expanding a deck, installing a retaining wall, and grading the yard for better drainage may cost us well over $10,000 and probably closer to the $25k price point.

Even if we did a lot of the work ourselves, the price of permits, materials, and furnishings is still quite an investment. When looking at an overall price tag of 20k-ish, investing $1,400.00 initially to ensure the design is EXACTLY what we wanted seemed worth it.

Yardzen vs Bacqyard, Tilly, & Shrubhub

There are a variety of online design services on the market today and each has it’s own pros and cons. When considering the main differences between Yardzen, Tilly, Bacqyard, and Shrubhub, it’s essential to evaluate the unique features and offerings of each platform.

  • Yardzen stands out with its comprehensive landscape design services, providing personalized design concepts, 3D renderings, detailed plans, and ongoing support. While Yardzen may have a slightly higher price point, its expertise and attention to detail make it a top choice for those seeking a professional touch.
  • Tilly and Bacqyard, on the other hand, offer more budget-friendly options, but their offerings may be more limited in terms of customization and design expertise.
  • Shrubhub takes a different approach, focusing primarily on plant selection and delivery, catering to individuals who prefer a DIY experience.

By understanding your specific needs and preferences, you can make an informed decision based on the level of customization, design expertise, and overall guidance you desire for your landscape project.

Yarden Pricing Breakdown

Ok, Now the BIG question. How much does all this cost?!

Yardzen offers various packages to cater to different needs and budgets, ensuring a tailored experience for every client. Their packages generally start at different price points based on the level of service and scope of the project.

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  • Botanical starting at $895
  • Front Yard starting at $1095
  • Backyard starting at $1395 (This was the package we did).
  • Full Yard starting at $1695
  • Curb Appeal starting at $1795
  • Outdoor Transformation starting at $2495

The Yardzen Design Process From Start to Finish

Ok, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. If you buy a Yardzen package for your yard HERE is what you can expect! In this section of my Yardzen landscape review 2023, I’ll break down the entire process from start to finish, including the time it takes to get everything processed!

Step 1: Select Your Design Plan

When you first get on the Yardzen site, on the top menu bar you will see the option for “design packages”. Here you can read through all the different options Yardzen offers in terms of CAD renderings.

Starting at $995 and going all the way up to $3,300, there are a lot of different packages to choose from. Read through all the packages carefully to make sure you are picking the right one for you.

yardzen landscape review 2023

Yardzen actually has a quick quiz you can take on their website HERE. This quiz can help you determine which package is right for you!

Each Package includes the following:

  • A dedicated and talented team including a landscape designer, horticulturist, and construction expert working on your project
  • Custom plant palette and layout
  • Itemized plant list with photos, common and scientific names, light and water requirements 
  • CAD plans to aid installation
  • High-quality, 3D renders to visualize your design 
  • 1 round of design revisions, with option to purchase additional revisions if needed
  • Optional matching with a Yardzen Pro—a vetted local contractor who can build your project

We debated between the full yard and backyard package but ultimately went with the backyard package since our front yard is a whole other beast we’ll need to tackle a different year.

You can always select the outdoor transformation package which includes all the exterior spaces of your home. This is more expensive but still, a good value considering everything that is included!

Step 2: Pay For Your Plan and Set Up Your Account

After selecting your design package, the next step is to set up your account. This process was fast and easy. Of course, handing over a lot of money is never painless but once we paid the fee we were off to the races.

After creating my account with my email and a password, I was immediately able to access Yardzen’s online design platform. From there, it was very straightforward to start putting together our design plan for the Yardzen team.

You are immediately assigned a highly qualified Yardezen designer. Both of our designers had degrees in horticulture or landscape design and their credentials were listed! This helped ease my nerves a bit. Using one of these online design services is a bit nerve-wracking and I wanted to KNOW our designers were qualified.

yardzen landscape review 2023

Here is what you will see after you have logged on to your secure account. The menu on the left side of the screen has all the instructions and info for the user to begin filling out. I simply clicked down through each menu item and the software gives you detailed instructions on what to do!

The “My Yard” Tab:

This tab is broken down into 3 sections:

  • Uploads. This is where you will submit ALL the photos and videos of your yard. And it’s a lot. Make sure you have time, decent lighting and maybe a break from the kids so you aren’t rushing to get all the pictures. Yardzen instructs you on how to take each picture. There were special instructions for how to photograph a sloped yard so I was sure to follow their lead on this. You can also film several short videos of your yard where you can talk about your vision while walking the space!
  • Keep/Remove. In this tab, you can show Yardzen what you want to have removed from your yard and what you’d like to have stayed intact. We didn’t have any major tree removals or tear-downs so this tab was pretty limited for us.
  • Functions. Yardzen really pays attention to this part of the plan. Here, you can select what functions you want your yard to have from a list. Some of the options were: Relaxation, Play, Work, etc… I selected several of these with an emphasis on relaxing/entertainment and play (kids).

The “Wish List” Tab

yardzen landscape review 2023

After you’ve taken all the pictures of your current yard, the fun begins. The next tab is the Wish List tab. In this area, you get to go through a ton of options and select everything you’re looking for in your yard design.

FYI: The pricing that you see beside the green-ed-out areas isn’t being charged to you. It’s just an estimate of how much you should budget. There are definitely cheaper ways to get your yard landscaped (buying plants smaller, transplanting from friends, buying from discount greenhouses, etc)

I went through this section and selected everything we thought we MIGHT want to see in our yard. I figured it’d be better to go back and remove things than not get to see a completed design idea. Below, you can see all the options I selected. Next, I went to the “prioritization” section and dragged all the options in order of importance.

yardzen landscape review 2023

The other item in this tab is a prioritization tab. This tab helps the designers know what is really MOST important to you. (Again, don’t freak out about these prices… The quote we received for our patio was DEF on the low end of these prices).

The “My Goals” Tab

yardzen landscape review 2023

This goal is basically additional prioritization and a few areas to include VERY descriptive info for your design team! In this section, I tried to be extremely thorough and descriptive. I thought through all my likes and dislikes for plants, materials, and design in general. I enjoyed this part because I got to list things I actually LOVE in outdoor design.

If you aren’t sure what you actually like for outdoor design, head over to my Pinterest board and take a browse!

The “My Inspiration” Tab

This is another fun one. In this section, you get to select 5 outdoor spaces that inspire you. This helps give your design team a good idea of what you love in an outdoor space. Here are a few of the spaces I included!

This one I submitted for inspo for the antique brick patio. I loved the European courtyard vibes I got from this picture.

It’s a dream of mine to someday have an adorable playhouse like this for my kids and I’d LOVE for them to have their own garden beds too!

yardzen landscape review 2023

This picture was probably my favorite. I feel like the courtyard feel and the whites, reds, and tans that somehow ode to Tuscany or maybe a French villa somewhere encapsulate what I’m looking for in a yard.

The “Plans and Drawings” Tab

This tab is simply a place to submit sketches, drawings, site plans and architectural ideas you may have! My husband is great at sketching so we submitted a simple sketch of an aerial view.

The “My Preferences” Tab

This tab included two quizzes. These quizzes basically showed various styles of greenery, flowers, architectural elements, and outdoor furnishings. I simply clicked on my preferred styles to help the designers get to know my preferences!

The “My Plants” Tab

This tab is another series of quizzes to help the designers understand. your preferences for plant style and preference!

yardzen landscape review 2023

Step 3: Submit and Launch Your Project

That’s it! If you are 100% satisfied with your photos and descriptions, you can go ahead and submit your files to the Yardzen designers!

Immediately after submitting we got a few emails from our design team letting us know the next steps.

Step 4: Review Your House Model

Within a few days of submission, we received an email from Yardzen asking us to approve our 3D house model. This was a very quick and simple process. We opened the link to the house model and saw a 3D rendering of our backyard. They simply wanted us to comment if anything didn’t look correct. I made a few comments and then re-submitted.

Step 5: Review Your Conceptual Designs

Ok, this was the MOST fun part. About 2 weeks after we approved the house model, Yardzen sent us our conceptual backyard renderings! EEE! I about gasped when I opened them and saw what the designers had dreamed up.

They somehow took the small ideas I had and transformed them into something even more beautiful than I could have imagined. I NEVER would have come up with these ideas on my own!

yardzen landscape review 2023

The Conceptual designs included 22 digital renderings. It basically showed the backyard from a variety of angles and even some shots of the evening/low-light view.

yardzen landscape review 2023

The concept review phase did not take long. I made all our edits within a few hours. The editing process is INSANELY SIMPLE.

All you have to do is click on an area in the yard and a small box pops up that allows you to notate if you want to get rid of something, change something or if you really love something.

In this phase, I tried to be insanely descriptive and honestly, picky. You have to pay for additional revisions so I knew this was my one shot to get the renderings correct!

yardzen landscape review 2023

What I Would Change About Our Renderings:

Since I’m writing a Yardzen landscape review 2023, I want to be honest about any “cons” we encountered in the process!

My biggest issue with the first round of designs was the slope wasn’t quite right. It was obvious the designers thought the slope was much smaller than reality. They had also included a MASSIVE retaining wall that would cost way more than we could afford. I asked them to revise it to a smaller wall and make the slope more realistic.

  • FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t feel that they ever got the slope quite to scale, even after the revision. However, I thought it was close enough and I knew our contractor would be able to tell us how realistic it would be based on our actual slope. It’s important to understand these are remote designers, they can’t come to walk your yard, and sometimes photos aren’t the most realistic in scale.

After editing every slide, there was an option to resubmit a few more photos which we did.

Step 6: Review The Final Design

When our final design renderings arrived, I was ecstatic. I feel like the plans for at least 95% accurate to the look we are wanting to create in our yard.

Here is how the final design panel is laid out:

yardzen landscape review 2023

On the left, is the 22 edited renderings/slides of the backyard. On the right, there is a small menu that links all the furniture/elements, materials, and plants used!

I found this SO useful, especially the plants. I notated multiple times throughout this process that our backyard is very shady. Yardzen did a great job of selecting shade-loving plants that were my style. I’m not a horticulture expert and I’m happy that I at least have an idea of what plants I want now and even where to plant them!

yardzen landscape review 2023

One thing I will note about the materials is that they didn’t include links to the pavers they used. I guess this is very specific to which contractor you go with. So that is something you’ll have to source on your own!

Here are some more pictures of the beautiful design Yardzen created for us!

yardzen landscape review 2023
yardzen landscape review 2023
yardzen landscape review 2023
yardzen landscape review 2023
yardzen landscape review 2023
yardzen landscape review 2023

Another REALLY incredible thing you get from Yardzen in this step is the actual CAD sketch, an aerial view planting guide, and a plant/materials legend! All of these items are fantastic resources for your contractor OR for you, especially if you are doing all the planting yourself!

These plans also really simplified the city approval and HOA approval process for us. All we had to do was submit the plans and they quickly approved because all the measurements are accurate and precise! Below is the very detailed planting guide!

Step 7: Start Your Project With a Yardzen Preferred Contractor

The last step of the process is that Yardzen actually makes a referral to a local landscape contractor. I was contacted by the contractor within a few days.

We are still trying to decide which parts of the project we want to attempt ourselves and what we want to hire out for. I ALWAYS recommend getting a few quotes before going with a contractor. It’s a pain and a lot of communication/schedule finagling, but the first contractor we spoke with quotes us 25K and the second gave us a better idea and only quoted us 15k. So it’s def worth it!

Finding a contractor is the LAST step of the Yardzen process! You now have comprehensive plans for your yard, including CAD renderings and can move forward with your project however you see fit! This whole process was a learning experience but here are my final take-aways!

My Final Thoughts On Yardzen Landscape Review 2023

yardzen landscape review 2023
  • Yardzen took the notes I gave them for our backyard and actually thought up a BETTER design idea than what I had.
  • I was having trouble picturing what the renovation would look like and it gave me peace of mind to see what it could really look like.
  • The design team was highly responsive and created a realistic design.
  • The planting list and plants selected greatly simplified the landscaping process.
  • Some of the angles and scope of the slope in our backyard were not quite right.
  • The prices they quoted us were on the high end, but I know I can find cheaper options (I’m REALLY good at being cheap, trust me! Example: I MADE planters for our deck this summer).
  • I feel confident to move forward with their design!

Ready to pull the trigger?! Use my code below for 20% off!


FAQ About Yardzen Landscape Design

Q: What is Yardzen?

A: Yardzen is an online platform that offers professional landscape design services. They provide customized designs for outdoor spaces, helping homeowners create beautiful and functional yards.

Read my comprehensive Yardzen landscape review 2023 above for more info!

Q: How does Yardzen work?

A: Yardzen follows a simple process. First, you start by answering a questionnaire about your preferences, style, and budget. Then, you upload photos and measurements of your yard. Yardzen’s team of designers will use this information to create a personalized landscape design for you. Once the design is ready, you’ll receive a detailed plan, including a 3D rendering, plant list, and installation instructions.

Read my comprehensive Yardzen landscape review 2023 above for more info!

Q: Can I trust Yardzen designers?

A: Absolutely! Yardzen’s designers are experienced professionals who specialize in landscape design. They have a strong background in horticulture, architecture, and outdoor living design. Yardzen carefully selects their designers to ensure that customers receive high-quality designs that suit their specific needs.

Read more details in the yardzen landscape review 2023 above!

Q: Can Yardzen work with any type of yard or outdoor space?

A: Yes! Yardzen can work with yards of all sizes and shapes. Whether you have a small urban courtyard, a sprawling suburban lawn, or a rooftop terrace, Yardzen’s designers can create a custom design that maximizes your space’s potential.

Q: How much does Yardzen’s design service cost?

A: The cost of Yardzen’s design service depends on the size and complexity of your project. They offer various design packages at different price points to suit different budgets. The pricing information is available on Yardzen’s website, and you can select the package that best fits your needs.

Q: Can I make changes to the design if I’m not satisfied?

A: Yes, Yardzen provides a revision process to ensure customer satisfaction. After receiving your initial design, you have the opportunity to provide feedback and request changes. Yardzen’s designers will work closely with you to make revisions until you’re happy with the final design.

Read my comprehensive Yardzen landscape review 2023 above for more info!

Q: Does Yardzen provide installation services?

A: While Yardzen specializes in design services, they also offer a network of trusted landscape contractors who can help with the installation process. Yardzen can provide you with a list of recommended contractors in your area, but the actual installation is a separate service and cost.

Q: Can Yardzen help with ongoing maintenance of my yard?

A: Yardzen primarily focuses on landscape design, but they can provide general guidance and recommendations for yard maintenance. They can advise you on plant care, watering schedules, and other basic maintenance tasks. For more extensive ongoing maintenance, you may need to hire a professional landscaping or gardening service.

Q: Can I contact Yardzen for additional assistance or support?

A: Absolutely! Yardzen has a customer support team that you can reach out to with any questions or concerns. They are available via email or phone and are dedicated to providing excellent customer service.

Read my comprehensive Yardzen landscape review 2023 above for more info!

Q: What design program does Yardzen use?

A: Yardzen uses a proprietary design program developed in-house by their team of landscape designers and architects. It appears similar to SketchUp for 3-D modeling and Lumion for photorealistic rendering.

Q: What does Yardzen include?

A: Yardzen provides comprehensive landscape design services. This includes a collaborative design process with professional designers, personalized design concepts and plans, 3D renderings, a detailed plant and materials list, and ongoing support for implementation.

Read my comprehensive Yardzen landscape review 2023 above for more info!

Q: What time of year is best for landscape design?

A: The best time for landscape design can vary depending on factors such as climate, plant availability, and project goals. In general, the spring and fall seasons are popular for landscape design as the weather is often more moderate. This allows for easier planting and establishment of new vegetation. However, landscape design can be done throughout the year, and it’s best to consult with a local professional or landscaper who can provide guidance specific to your location.

What do you think of our Yardzen landscape review 2023? Would you ever use an online design landscape service? Let me know below!

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  1. This popped up on my Pinterest at the perfect time! I have a slope yard and we have been trying to landscape it but didn’t know where to start. So far we have cleared out all the yard waste, thanks to the dumpster rental we got. Now I know what to do next. Thank you!

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