A recent survey in Lawn & Landscape showed that many landscape businesses are off to a super busy lawn care season. Like booked-up landscape designers and gardeners, three-quarters of lawn care professionals said they were busier than ever this year. 20 percent said they were about average, and only 5 percent reported being slower than usual. What has accounted for this boom in business? Let’s take a look at the reasons.
Backlog of Jobs
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many property owners put landscaping work on the back burner for a time. Whether they were homeowners or business property owners, their lawn care, garden management, and landscape design projects went on hold. No one was sure what would happen with both the pandemic and the economy, so people were only spending on the bare essentials.
Once programs were put in place to deal with COVID-19, however, property owners felt better about investing in their yard care again. The economy picked up, and once again, phones were ringing for landscape businesses from coast to coast.
The pause at the start of the pandemic created a huge backlog of jobs for everyone in the industry. Landscape architects, arborists, lawn care professionals, and gardeners have been working steadily to catch up. Just because they weren’t working didn’t mean trees, shrubs, and flower beds stopped growing!
Property Owners Beautifying Their Yards
With so many people working remotely during the pandemic, homeowners who had never had time before began to evaluate their outdoor spaces. Now that they were home all day, every day, they wanted prettier environments to enjoy, especially in warm climates, where residents can eat, work, and socialize outside year-round.
Well-cared-for yards offer respite when the home gets a bit crowded with everyone there at once. A beautiful outdoor space with a trimmed lawn and tended garden is the perfect place for the kids to blow off steam or do a home science lesson in botany.
If people were hesitant to walk or exercise pets in public in 2020, they could still do those activities in their yards. They started to appreciate their own private property more and enjoyed the peace and quiet of working out at home. Now that the economy is opening up again, homeowners don’t want to let that go and are eager to maintain the tranquil zones they created during the pandemic.
A Boom in Real Estate Inventory
With the increase in people being home 24/7 came a surge in real estate transactions too. Some folks were eager to escape crowded cities and moved to the suburbs or more rural areas. Others needed larger properties to accommodate the homeschooling of children and home offices. 2020 saw the highest rate in existing home sales in 14 years (source: CNBC).
Property sales are always good for the landscaping industry. Homeowners want to improve curb appeal and maintain their yards for listing photos, virtual tours, and visits from potential buyers. Spiffing up the outdoor space with new plantings, reseeded lawns, and hardscaping elements not only attract buyers but improves property value as well.
Some buyers purchased new properties so fast during the pandemic that the sellers didn’t have time to do the usual landscape work before putting their homes on the market. And of course, over the winter in the north, this wasn’t possible anyway. So, another source of steady work for landscaping companies came from new home buyers who wanted to customize their properties to their unique lifestyles.
The Influence of Climate Change
There’s no doubt that this year has been especially challenging in terms of accelerating climate change. Extreme storms in the East, flooding in the Midwest, and raging wildfires in the West have all been at the forefront of the news, along with droughts, rising sea levels, and changes to pollinator migration patterns. What does this mean for landscaping professionals?
Many property owners are looking for ways to make their properties more responsive to climate change, regardless of where they are located. Some common landscaping requests include:
- Xeriscaping and gardening with succulents to conserve water
- Planting and gardening to reduce fire risk
- Making their outdoor areas more drought tolerant
- Private ponds to function as fire suppression water sources
- Replacing lawns with native prairie grasses
- Plantings to attract pollinators and other wildlife
- Using hardier species to withstand weather extremes
- Fruit and vegetable gardening for longer, wetter, or dryer growing seasons
- Taking more aggressive approaches to invasive species capitalizing on climate zone shifts
- Installing better drainage, terracing, and retaining walls for rainfall
- Adding composting for natural fertilization and reducing carbon pollution
- Planting more trees to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere
- Replacing landscape lighting with energy-efficient alternatives
- Creating connected greenspaces for both humans and animals
All of this spells more opportunity for people working in all aspects of the landscaping field to stay busier than ever.
Fewer COVID-19 Restrictions
Landscaping, including tree trimming, lawn care, and gardening, was a profession that was able to come back quickly after the initial COVID-19 pause because of the nature of the work involved. Fortunately, people in our industry can do their jobs outside within limited contact, and social distancing isn’t much of an issue. Therefore, when property owners recovered from the initial shock of the early pandemic days, landscaping services were one of the first things they could easily reimplement.
As we move into the second year with the virus, this fact is helping landscaping experts stay busy. They don’t have to worry about contact with clients who could potentially make them sick, nor do clients have to be concerned about them. In many cases, business can be conducted without any contact at all, making it safer than most enterprises when it comes to COVID-19.
Use Landscape Software to Make Your Busy Schedule Easier
If you own or manage a booming landscape business, you can make your company easier to run with landscape business software. New technology in the industry lets you handle lawn care management, landscape design projects, and other tasks without hassle and stress. No matter what size your business is, never miss an appointment or accidentally double-book clients again. Your customers will appreciate your professionalism and efficiency, and that will translate to more enjoyment and higher revenue for you.