Landscaping Industry Booming Despite Pandemic, Says NALP Chief

The landscaping industry has been largely unaffected by the pandemic and is busier than ever.

If you’re planning a fall landscaping project or you’re looking to hire a crew for continued service, you’d better move fast. The landscaping industry has been largely unaffected by the pandemic and its busier than ever, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

According to the data collected, 60 percent of landscaping companies are seeing revenues exceed pre-COVID expectations and more than 300,000 landscaping jobs lay vacant.

Moreover, 62 percent of lawn care companies report they’ve exceeded revenue projections, followed by 53 percent of landscape maintenance firms and 50 percent of design/build firms.

One of the reasons landscaping companies have easily weathered the COVID-19 storm is the fundamental nature of the landscaping business, says NALP Chief Executive Britt Wood.

“The landscaping business naturally lends itself to this type of crisis,” Wood says. “The way landscapers work means that they just naturally keep their distance from clients and each other. Also, people often use nice spaces to relax and remove stress, and a soothing landscape can help with that.”

More Than Just Stress Relief

Wood stresses that the strength of the landscaping sector in 2020 is ultimately a combination of factors.

First, he says, people are experiencing their yards, decks and patios in the middle of the day. Often, for the first time, they’re seeing things they want to tweak or improve. Eighty percent of residential customers have increased spending on these kinds of enhancements in 2020.

Second, Wood points to spending habits. Nationwide closures of dining and entertainment venues have opened new opportunities for home improvement projects.

The final factor is one that was unexpected but set up landscapers to thrive for the duration of the crisis. The Department of Homeland Security identified landscapers as “essential employees” in its guidance on critical infrastructure on March 19.

The government deemed essential any businesses that “maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings.” Landscapers’ ability to curb pest infestations and remove problematic flora and fauna qualified them to continue operating as normal.

Local Trend Follows National One

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association has been checking in on member organizations since the pandemic began to gauge business progress and it has largely found the same trend, says Executive Director Cassie Larson.

“Garden centers in particular are seeing a boon of a year,” Larson says. Back in the spring, some members told Larson they expected to run out of plants before they ran out of spring. That proved to be the case.

Karen Bachman Thull is the marketing director at Bachman’s, the Minnesota-based landscaping and gardening services provider. She has seen Bachman customers find a renewed purpose in gardening since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It is encouraging to see people and families try something new in the spaces that they have,” Bachman Thull says. “Whether it is trying vegetable or herb gardening for the first time, purchasing an indoor green plant for a home office … or transforming and adding to landscapes, people are enjoying making their spaces a bit more beautiful and useful.”

The Bottom Line

Landscaping professionals work through wet winters in warm climates and, in colder ones, many transition to snow removal services. Either way, their availability is at a premium right now trying to fill backorders, complete end-of-season jobs or prepare for colder weather. If you need landscaping services, you had better get on someone’s calendar sooner rather than later.