Lowes For Pros Special Report

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I was interviewed by "Lowes For Pros" for this article that focused on landscape trends of 2010.

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Lowes For Pros Special Report

  1. 1. A Closer Look: Landscaping Trends and Planning for Summer Projects An expected housing industry upswing is good news for professional landscapers, who can position their business for a strong recovery by meeting consumer demand for landscaping that’s practical, affordable and sustainable. E very year, the cold and desolate winter eventually gives Builders (NAHB) forecasts a 25 percent growth in new-home way to a warm and vital summer. Luckily for landscap- construction this year over last. ers, what’s true for the environment also holds true for the economy. And with spring finally here, summer can’t be far Most of that growth is in single-family homes—NAHB is forecast- behind—for landscapes, or for those that build them. ing 697,000 total housing starts in 2010, up from an estimated 555,000 last year. Any positive growth in the construction sector With an economic upswing, new home construction is expect- trickles down to every aspect of the industry—including land- ed to increase this summer. The National Association of Home scaping.
  2. 2. A Closer Look: Landscaping Trends and Planning for Summer Projects “I think people have gone without for a while now, and they’re tired of it. People still want what they want. This year, luxury is therefore going to be bigger and better—but without the rampant excess that we saw in the early to mid-2000s.” —Landscape designer Danilo Maffei, a board spokesperson for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) in Harrisburg, Pa. “Obviously, the landscaping business is tied to construction,” business for growth with summer projects capitalizing on the top says landscape designer Danilo Maffei, a board spokesperson five landscaping trends of 2010: for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) in Harrisburg, Pa. “[If construction improves this year] it certainly 1. Modest luxury will be a good thing for landscapers—although we’re not certain In response to the economic downturn of 2009, consumers are whether it will be a good thing this year or a good thing next year, holding back in 2010, which means smaller—but not necessarily as the landscape industry typically trends behind construction by fewer—landscaping projects. “People are getting very practical a quarter or two.” and are tending toward more simple kinds of things,” says land- scaping professor Douglas R. Fox, director of the Center for Sus- Whether outdoor investments take off this year or next, the best tainability and Global Change at Unity College in Unity, Maine. time to prepare for an eventual surge in landscaping demand is this summer, and the best way to prepare is by positioning your Adds landscape designer and APLD board membership chair 2
  3. 3. A Closer Look: Landscaping Trends and Planning for Summer Projects Food for Thought Although vegetable gardening is a popular do-it-your- self trend, savvy landscapers know that do-it-yourself- ers often can benefit from expert help. “As more people understand the benefits of growing their own fresh produce, we’re finding consumers are hun- Susan Cohan, “Projects in 2010 will be smaller. They’re looking gry for information on how they can start and maintain a to do more with less.” successful food garden,” says Craig Humphries, direc- tor of consumer research at Scotts Miracle-Gro. “In fact, Despite their more frugal nature, clients are still looking for that last year alone we saw about a 66 percent increase in upscale feel. “The big thing this year—believe it or not—is going the number of vegetable gardening-related calls into our to be luxury,” Maffei says. “I think people have gone without for Scotts Consumer Services line.” a while now, and they’re tired of it. People still want what they want. This year, luxury is therefore going to be bigger and bet- To turn a do-it-yourself trend like vegetable garden- ter—but without the rampant excess that we saw in the early to ing into a business opportunity, establish yourself as mid-2000s.” an expert and educator. Landscapers who serve as a resource often benefit from more referrals—and an What that means for landscapers is that the “staycation” trend increase in referrals typically translates into an increase of the last few years will continue, but with the volume turned in revenue. down. Clients will still be asking for swimming pools, for instance, but without upscale waterfalls and slides; they’ll still be asking Together the National Gardening Association (NGA) and for outdoor dining, but they’ll be installing high-end grills rather Scotts Miracle-Gro studied the vegetable gardening than custom outdoor kitchens; they’ll still be interested in water trend last year. The resulting report, The Impact of Home features, but they’ll tend toward simple waterfalls over elabo- and Community Gardening in America, found that: rate streams and ponds; and they’ll still be looking for backyard campfires, but they’ll be considering small fire bowls instead of • In 2009, 43 million U.S. households planned to grow large, built-in fire pits. their own fruits, vegetables, herbs or berries, up 19 percent from 2008—nearly double the 10 percent 2. Incredible edibles growth experienced between 2007 and 2008. Because they want to save money, eat healthier and learn a new • 21 percent of U.S. households planned to start a at-home hobby, scores of consumers have expressed an interest food garden in 2009. in vegetable gardening, which is fueling an industry-wide trend • 11 percent of households already active in food in edibles that’s extended all the way to the White House, where gardening planned to increase both the amount First Lady Michelle Obama planted her own vegetable garden and variety of vegetables they grow in 2009. last spring. “People are very interested in growing food,” Cohan • Gardeners spent a total of $2.5 billion to purchase says. “It’s probably the single largest trend going on in gardening seeds, plants, fertilizers, tools and other gardening and landscaping right now.” supplies to grow their own food in 2008. 3
  4. 4. A Closer Look: Landscaping Trends and Planning for Summer Projects Classics like purple lilacs and red roses may be big, but the most popular color this year is green. “People are looking to reduce their carbon footprint outside,” Cohan says, and they’re doing exactly that by replacing exotic plants with native ones. Although edibles are in, consumers are no longer interested in “People are thinking about plants that are appropriate to their the traditional fenced-in vegetable garden. Instead of backyard region instead of something exotic that will have to be replaced vegetable patches, consumers this year will practice container or will be only marginally hardy,” says Cohan. He adds that na- gardening and vertical gardening so they can grow herbs and tive plants tend to require less care and maintenance. They also vegetables in even the smallest outdoor spaces—and without support a healthier food chain, according to Fox, as native plants bending over, which is a major benefit to aging baby boomers. support native insects, which support native birds and so on. 3. Vintage verdure 5. Little lawns Although consumers are interested in more modern forms of Because clients want to be more eco-friendly, they’re likely to vegetable gardening, the traditional look of shrubbery is still pop- want less grass. According to ecological landscape designer ular. “There’s a renewed interest in shrubs for color,” Cohan says. Risa Edelstein, lawns are one of the most damaging landscape “Think Grandma’s plants—flowering shrubs—like hydrangeas, li- practices because of the tremendous, necessary upkeep. lacs and roses.” “Plus, lawns are very expensive between mowing and fertilizing,” 4. Green greenery says Edelstein, board member for the Ecological Landscap- Classics like purple lilacs and red roses may be big, but the most ing Association in Framingham, Mass. “Since everybody’s in a popular color this year is green. “People are looking to reduce money-saving mode right now they’re combining saving money their carbon footprint outside,” Cohan says, and they’re doing with being green, and so they’re looking at reducing the amount exactly that by replacing exotic plants with native ones. of lawn they have.” Less lawn means more plants. While their clients still want a 84% of consumers are willing to pay more for “green” garden/landscaping supplies. lawn—enough for their kids to play on, for instance—landscap- ers should be prepared to replace large portions of lawns with edibles, perennial beds, trees and shrubs. “Also organic lawns,” Source: Burst Media Cohan adds. “People want to reduce the size of their lawn, and they want to make it less chemically dependent.” 4

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