Landscape Renovation

Renovating your mature landscape is an excellent way to increase the value of your home, reduce maintenance, and enhance your home life. Billings Landscaping specializes in landscape renovation for homes and businesses in Billings Montana! Below are some useful things to consider before renovating.

Sprinkler Systems

Probably the biggest “no brainer” in landscape renovation is to add a sprinkler system. Nobody want to drag around a hose in order to water their lawn. Installing a new sprinkler system or replacing your old sprinklers is a wonderful way to improve your life and increase the value of your property. Here is an article that identifies some important things to consider regarding Sprinkler system installation for existing landscapes.

Lawn Restoration

Lawn restoration can be a necessary part of your landscape renovation. There are different ways to approach lawn restoration. You can have the old lawn removed, or you can have it restored. In some cases there are methods for scarifying the existing lawn and reseeding. Learn more in this article on Lawn Restoration Techniques.


A big part of renovating your old landscape involves removing the existing landscape including trees, plants, shrubs, bedding, fabric, edging, roots, boulders, and gravel. You can expect to pay around $150 per trip to the dump which consists of 2 hours time, $25 disposal fee, fuel, trailer, wear and tear on the vehicle. In some cases, a landscaper can re-use some of the plants they remove, however, they generally do not credit you because of the effort involved in re-potting, transporting, trimming and storing the plants. The exception is if you have some nice trees, but typically you will want to find someone who specializes in transplanting trees in order to take advantage of the value in your trees. Generally speaking, nice tree should be left alone because they almost always add value to your landscape and a good designer can work with what you have.

Lawn Restoration

There are different ways to approach lawn restoration. You can have the old lawn removed, or you can have it restored. Generally speaking, you have to options from which to choose.

  1. You can have the old lawn removed and install new sod
  2. You can leave the existing sod and prepare it for new seed
    • Removing the old lawn

      In this method, the landscaper will typically use a equipment to remove the old lawn. It is also a good idea when you lawn is lumpy and/or the hardscapes (like sidewalks and pathways) are sunken below the sod. This method works best when you don’t already have a sprinkler system. There are two ways a landscaper will typically go about accomplishing this task. One is to use a sod cutter and the other is to use a skid steer. It is easier to maneuver around sprinkler heads with a sod stripper, but the job can be done with either. Skid steers are nice because the old sod need to be removed either way and having a bucket to scoop up and dump the old sod is convenient. The trade off is that sod cutters require less grading when finished. You can expect to pay at least $2000 to have the old lawn removed and the site regraded and prepared for new sod. Then you can figure $1.50 per square foot for the new sod to be purchased, delivered, and installed.

      Keeping the existing lawn and restoring it

      This method of lawn restoration involves power raking the existing grass in order to remove all of the old dead grass and expose as much dirt as possible. We will usually plug the lawn heavily before power raking. The toughest part is to rake up all of the dead grass. After raking, we take top soil and fill in all of the dips. Then we hire a specialist to hydro seed. This method requires a sprinkler system in order to be successful. It is a more cost effective solution, however, it usually isn’t as nice as replacing the old lawn. The reason is that mature lawn grass goes through some transformation in order to survive. The result is less uniformity because you have a mix of old and new grass.

Sprinkler systems

sprinkler system
Not all sprinkler systems are simple. There is actually quite a bit to consider and good sprinkler system design can mean the difference between a hassle free, healthy lawn and an ugly, high maintenance lawn. There are many factors to consider, but for residential homes located in Billings Montana, we have basically three different scenarios and corresponding solutions.

The first scenario is the typical residential new construction. On these homes, we like to design using poly tubing and state of the art heads that have a low evaporation rate. Not only can we provide better watering using this technology, but we can also save you money on your water bill! Another very positive note is that the systems we use are quite compared to what a lot of other sprinkler contractors out there are providing. Quite is Nice! Nothing is worse then being awakened at 6 am by you sprinkler system.

The second common scenario is a sprinkler system that uses either ditch water or a well. With these systems, it is good to choose the right equipment for the job. We use high quality sprinklers that don’t clog from sediment in the system.

The third scenario is large landscapes that require sprinkler heads that can throw water a long distance. These are less common, but we do have experience installing them.

In all three cases, we use the best materials and most intelligent design. We perform the necessary pressure calculations to properly design a stellar sprinkler system for you that will save you money and effort. We perform quality installations, making sure boxes are installed properly, and heads are properly secured so they don’t sink or move. We provide a design that adequately covers the lawn without over watering or adding more heads and zones than is necessary. And our sprinkler designs carefully consider the location of the valve box to prevent it from flooding, and we control the release of water pressure from the heads to make sure you don’t get soggy spots in your yard. In addition, we take the extra time to properly grade your yard so you don’t get swampy areas in the lawn that lead to dead spots and lawn diseases.

Sprinkler Systems for existing landscapes

Installing a new sprinkler system in an existing landscape comes with its own set of challenges, however in the end the cost isn’t too much greater than it would be for a new landscape. If you are a middle income home owner who has an average place that needs a new sprinkler system then you can expect to spend between $2000-$6000 on sprinklers. Most landscapes in Billings seem to run about $4000 for a brand new sprinkler system. This will include a standard Rainbird timer with up to 6 stations, 1″ poly lines, and pop up heads.
There are some things to consider when choosing a landscaper to install your sprinklers. One thing to consider is hiring someone who specializes in the type of system that you need.  If you have an existing landscape, it is more difficult to install a sprinkler system. This is a fact because existing landscapes have established trees, hardscapes (such as sidewalks), fences, and lawns. Tree roots have to be cut or worked around; lawns need to be repaired; and water lines need to pass under sidewalks and fences. These things add to the cost and effort. In addition to these costs, the sprinkler designer needs to make sure you have adequate pressure at a hose bib location and design a system that works with that constraint. Often times, established homes have outdated plumbing and lower water pressure. At some locations, the pressure is too much. Either way, the pressure must be regulated in the sprinkler design and a back flow preventer must be installed in order to meet the city code in Billings Montana.

Sprinkler system backflow preventer
Another thing to consider is the method being used to install the sprinkler system. Sprinkler line pullers are nice because they don’t tear up the sod so bad, however roots can be a real problem. Trenching works well if you are restoring the sod, but if your lawn is already nice then a trencher can be a less attractive solution. But the most important thing is to have a good sprinkler design. Sprinkler Design is fairly easy to do, but it does take some experience. More importantly, it takes some knowledge to know what kind of system works best.

Why choose Billings Landscaping to design and install your sprinkler system?

Billings Landscaping personnel have learned hands on from the very best sprinkler system installers in Billings Montana. We have the experience and education combined with the creativity and practical design skills needed to get the job done quickly and on budget. In addition, we know how to save you money on the cost of water and design a state of the art sprinkler system that will serve you well for many years to come! Call today for a cost free, no obligation estimate!

sprinkler system manifold
2 zone/station valve box and manifold.