So, you are ready to upgrade your backyard with new landscaping and more? How exciting!! And nerve-wracking too!!
When we re-did the landscaping in our front yard and backyard a few years ago, we had some vague ideas of what we wanted. But, honestly, we didn’t know much about all the landscaping design options we could consider. In many ways, thinking of and deciding on the right landscaping design felt like a huge burden, and we more or less had to rely on the landscape contractor we hired to create our design and help us through the process.
Luckily, companies like Yardzen, Tilly Design, and BACQYARD are online landscape design companies that can help make this process so much easier and fulfilling as they provide expert designs! After doing our homework on these companies, we are ready to show you how these companies can be a great option for your next outdoor design project!
So, read below to find out which one is perfect for you!
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For all you quick skimmers out there (I am pointing the finger at myself too) looking for a quick Yardzen review, Tilly review, or BACQYARD review, here is a very quick summary of these companies:
|Package Features||Tilly and BACQYARD||More flexibility in choosing what you need|
|Packaging Pricing||Slight edge to BACQYARD||Lowest prices across most comparable packages|
|Share Yard Information and Design Ideas||Tilly and BACQYARD||Both have live 1-on-1 consultations to start a project|
|Designer Develops Landscape Design||Tilly||Expect first design within 2-3 weeks|
|Revise and Finalize Plans||BACQYARD||Provides two revisions with ‘Full’ package|
|Installation Assistance||Slight edge to Yardzen||More extensive ‘Pro Network’ to find a contractor|
Which one is the overall winner from our review?
Ahhh it’s too hard to choose! All three of the companies will give a high-quality design for your outdoor space, and you can’t go wrong with picking any one of these companies. I am a bit torn to choose just one because there are pros and cons with each company. I really like how Tilly has structured their pricing around add-ons, and they have a quicker turnaround time on first designs. However, BACQYARD does have lower prices on comparable packages. But, Yardzen is a well-established player (starting back in 2018) that has a larger network of contractors that they can put you in touch with.
Key Changes From Our Review in the Summer of 2022
We first put together this review in the summer of 2022, and through our update in February 2023 we noticed a few key updates:
- Inflation today reminds me of the Roy Kent chant from Ted Lasso. Yes, inflation is there, and there, and everywhere, and prices are up across the board for these three companies too.
- Tilly is now offering a Plant Delivery service. This saves you the hassle of finding and picking out the plants that fit your design. Pretty cool!
- One knock that we found on Tilly before was that you had to get an “Installation” package to work with a contractor. Not so anymore! Now Tilly can help you find contractors in your area at no extra cost!
- Yardzen now offers a “Premium” design service that gives you more interaction with your design and an extra revision. This can be great if you want a more hands-on experience with Yardzen!
📣 Special Note: Something we think is really special from Tilly is their new “DIY Corner.” Maybe you don’t need a whole backyard landscape design, but you would like help with designs for a smaller project like a patio, walkway, or fire pit. You can work with a professional from Tilly on these smaller projects through its DIY Corner to help you get a customized plan to fit your needs.
Those who want one price for an end-to-end design process
Those who want flexibility in picking what they want to be included in their design package
Those who want a more interactive process with a designer
What are Yardzen, Tilly, and BACQYARD?
Over the past few years, several online landscape design services have emerged that enable homeowners to work with professional landscape designers to develop amazing landscape plans at reasonable prices and in a timely manner. Yardzen, Tilly, and BACQYARD are some of the leading companies in this online landscape design space.
The way I like to explain what these companies provide is an online, professionally assisted way to DIY landscape the backyard (or front yard) of your dreams. These three companies allow you to be in the driver’s seat while working with a professional landscape designer, or team, online that brings to life the perfect landscape design for your home.
👉 Yardzen was started in 2018 by a wife and husband who looked to improve landscaping processes after experiencing challenges in rebuilding their home and neighborhood from the Tubbs wildfire. Sustainability is at the core of Yardzen’s landscaping design processes by focusing on creating “habitat-supporting, water-smart, responsibly-built yards.”
👉 Tilly was founded in 2019 by four best friends, and is an all-woman-founded, owned, and operated company. Tilly has a heavy focus on sustainable yard design, and the company has partnerships with National Wildlife Federation, One Tree Planted, and 1% for the Planet.
You will find that Yardzen, Tilly, and BACQYARD, at a high level, share a very similar landscape design process:
- You submit your photos and design ideas
- The company’s designers work to develop your design
- You receive final designs, plants, and material lists to Live Your Best Backyard (sorry, I had to do it. But yes, you can live your best front yard too!)
Here are some other key similarities:
- Service Area: All three companies provide services for residents in all 50 states (with Tilly now expanding into Canada), and the companies can create a landscape design for any climate or design style.
- Design Output: The designs you will receive from these companies are conceptual (these are not construction-ready plans). To make your designs ready for construction, you will need to work with a contractor to develop a complete construction plan.
- Contractor Support: Each company offers an option that connects you with a vetted contractor in your area, which can alleviate what can be a painful process of trying to find a contractor that you trust.
- Your Budget: All three companies state they can work with any landscaping budget. So, if you have a budget of $1,000 or $100,000, these companies can help you design the perfect outdoor space.
We found that these companies mainly differed on these dimensions:
- Pricing: No company has the exact same pricing
- Design Package Scope: Design and pricing can be based on lot size (all three), add-ons (Tilly), or tiers of design features (BACQYARD).
- Turnaround Time on Initial Designs: A company may offer faster turnaround times on getting you your first design.
👇 To see in full detail how these companies are similar or different and to help pick which company is right for you, continue reading below!
Detailed Comparison: Process Overview
The best way to compare these companies is by going through the design process.
There are five key parts of the landscape design process for each of these three companies, and we compare and contrast the companies on these design process components below:
1. Select Design Package
1A. Design Package Features
1B. Design Package Prices
2. Share yard information and design ideas
3. Designer develops landscape design
4. Revise and finalize plans
5. Installation assistance
1. Select Package
The first thing you will do with Yardzen, Tilly, or BACQYARD is to pick the right design package for you. That can be for your front yard, backyard, or entire yard. While there are many similarities in the companies’ services, there is significant differentiation in how the companies offer their services in their packages.
1A. Package Feature Comparison
Winner: Tie Between Tilly and BACQYARD
Reason: What we like about how Tilly and BACQYARD offer their design packages is that you have differing, but similar, flexibility in choosing which components you want in your design package. Don’t want a 3D design? Don’t buy it! Want lighting incorporated into your design? Add it in there!
We group the offerings in the sections below to make a reasonable price and package comparison so that you can choose which is the best fit for you based on your plans for your desired yard.
It’s important to gain a solid understanding of the key components of the design packages from each company to know exactly what you are getting.
- Yardzen has a ‘Botanical’ and an ‘Exterior Design’ services, but those packages don’t have a direct comparison at Tilly or BACQYARD. So, we do not cover those packages in this article.
- We use the ‘Full’ package from BACQYARD for this comparison, which we believe is the best package to compare against the other two companies. We have more on the different packages from BACQYARD in the pricing section below.
Pick one of their design packages based on the part (ex: backyard) and size (ex: ½ acre) of your yard to be designed.
Start with the part (ex: backyard) and size (ex: ½ acre) of your yard to be designed. Then select the additional design add-ons you want.
Start with the part (ex: backyard) and size (ex: ½ acre) of your yard to be designed. Then choose a design package Tier (Classic, Full, Luxe) based on the level of support and design outputs you want.
1B. Design Package Prices
Winner: Slight edge to BACQYARD
Reason: Currently, BACQYARD has lower prices on comparable packages across the three companies. We do note, however, that the price difference between BACQYARD and Tilly is relatively small, especially when compared to Yardzen pricing.
Before we compare prices, there are some important details to mention:
- The add-ons that we do include in this comparison from Tilly are the ‘3D Images’ and ‘Lighting’ add-ons because these are comparable offerings from Yardzen and BACQYARD. The company does offer other add-ons for ‘Side-Yard Plan’ and Plant Delivery service that you can tack on to your design project.
- BACQYARD offers its services in three levels of packages: ‘Classic Package,’ ‘Full Package,’ and ‘Luxe Package.’ The main difference between the ‘Classic Package’ and the ‘Full Package’ is that the Full Package provides more detailed graphics, including the 3D design and a 360-degree view, of your landscape design. The main difference between the ‘Full Package’ and ‘Luxe Package’ is that the Luxe Package allows you to work more closely with BACQYARD designers. Read more about these packages from BACQYARD here. We think using the ‘Full Package’ is the appropriate way to compare BACQYARD to the other companies for this analysis.
- Finally, BACQYARD pricing is for lots only up to 1 acre. If you have a lot larger than this, you will need to contact BACQYARD for special pricing.
Front Yard Design Prices
|½ Acre or Less||$1,095||
|Contact BACQYARD for Pricing|
Backyard Design Prices
|½ Acre or Less||$1,395||
|Contact BACQYARD for Pricing|
Entire Property Design Prices
|½ Acre or Less||$1,695||
|Contact BACQYARD for Pricing|
From the tables above, Bacqyard’s design services for 1/2 acre lots (using the Full Package option) will typically be the better-priced option than Tilly and Yardzen for similar services. You can find cheaper options if you limit the add-ons for Tilly or use Bacqyard’s ‘Classic Package.’
2. Share Yard Information and Design Ideas
Winner: Tilly and BACQYARD
Reason: We like the 1-on-1 design consultation and interaction to start the design project that you get with Tilly and BACQYARD. To get a more direct interaction with a designer at Yardzen, you will need to purchase a ‘Premium’ package.
After you select the appropriate package for your landscape design needs, each company will ask you to submit actual photos of your yard, videos, square footage, and other design ideas and measurements to help the designer begin his or her initial designs.
For the Yardzen process, you will upload photos and other design materials to the design team through the company’s Yard Builder platform. Yardzen designers will use the information that you submit to start creating your design. If you want more direct interaction with your designer through Yardzen, then you should consider their Premium package.
For Tilly and BACQYARD, not only will you upload your photos and videos, but you will also have a 1-on-1 design consultation with your dedicated landscape design professional. This will be a chance to talk through your design ideas and understand the design process of your designer.
👉 How long it takes to complete this phase is up to you: how quickly can you upload photos, design ideas, and take measurements? This can be a few days or more, depending on how fast you can provide all the information to the designer to make a great design
3. Designer Develops Landscape Design
Reason: Tilly will have a first round of designs for you in 2-3 weeks after you have provided all of the necessary materials. This timing beats the other two, with BACQYARD being close to this time with a 3-3.5 week time window.
After you have submitted your inspiration photos and design materials and talked with your designer (Tilly and BACQYARD), the designer starts creating the initial design for your yard. The length of this process will vary by each company:
- Yardzen: 4-5 weeks. Yardzen states you will get a House Model, a 3D model of your house and property, a week after submitting your materials. Then, 3-4 weeks after this House Model, you will receive your first draft and photorealistic renders of your design.
- Tilly: 2-3 weeks. Tilly notes that once its designers have all the information, you should expect your initial designs within 2-3 weeks.
- BACQYARD: 3 – 3.5 weeks. BACQYARD states that once you have finished your 1-on-1 call with your designer, you should expect your first designs in about 3 – 3.5 weeks.
The companies note that these times may vary based on holidays and busy seasons.
4. Revise and Finalize Plans
Reason: BACQYARD provides two rounds of revision in the ‘Full’ Package which is greater than the one revision you get with Yardzen and Tilly.
Once you receive your first set of design plans, you will then be able to work with your designers to make any changes. Yardzen and Tilly offer one revision to the design plan, whereas BACQYARD provides two revisions in its “Full” package (the “Classic” package only has one revision). Additional revisions can be purchased for an additional fee. After this revision, you will receive your final design plans, materials list, and plant selection associated with the plan (see the Select Package section above to see what is included as outputs for each company).
🛑 Important Note: These plans are not construction plans, and the plans may need to be altered to meet city codes and regulations. These plans are meant to serve as a conceptual design plan that you can provide to your contractor to make a construction-ready plan.
You can see examples of the plans, renderings, and outputs for each of these services in the following links:
- Yardzen: The Build Process.
- Tilly: Tilly Design Samples.
- BACQYARD: The Backyard Package.
5. Installation Assistance
Winner: Slight edge to Yardzen
Reason: All three companies offer contractor matching assistance. However, Yardzen appears to have a more developed “Yardzen Pro Network.”
The last step in the process comes to bringing the design of your outdoor space to life. All three companies off some form of a contractor matching service in their plans, which is a service to help you find local contractors to implement landscape plans for the companies. They all note that they might not have a contractor recommended for every area. So based on where you live, it might be up to you to find the right contractor. But, it does appear that Yardzen’s Pro Network may cover more areas than Tilly or BACQYARD.
It can be tough to decide which online landscaping design service is the best for you. In this article, we have compared and contrasted Yardzen, Tilly, and BACQYARD so that you can make an informed decision. You will have some tradeoffs to evaluate in which one has a price that matches your budget, which one can design to meet your timeline, and which one has the better design process. In all, we feel that choosing any one of these three companies will be a great choice to upgrade your outdoor living space!