First of July already! Remember the cold rainy spring we had but a few weeks ago? So far landscaping business projections are on track. 

State of the Economy

The Green Industry appears to be doing very well even with the economic hiccups reported at the end of May. Looks like job creation slowed and more people are not working at all.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for May also adjusted downward the numbers from April. Generally, the financial world was “disappointed” with the numbers, especially the 0.8 percent GDP.

Construction employment dropped too; the growth rate of construction jobs is still double the rate of the general economy (3.4 vs 1.7 percent). The construction unemployment rate of 5.2 percent is the lowest since 2006, down from the 24.9 percent height in 2010. The average construction weekly earnings nudged up 2.4 percent over this time last year. Most other sectors were flat or up just a tad.

The May results were not total doom. However, they did send ripples throughout the economy. Obviously, we have yet to shake the yokes shackling us the past decade. Living with the meager GDP growth witnessed the past 6 years may not be exciting, but it can be planned for.

Landscape Labor Still Tight

Even with so many people not working, the landscape industry continues struggling to find good people. Many landscapers say they could easily add one or two crews if they had the guys, they are turning away work because they can’t get it done.

Green Industry Numbers

  • 56 percent of landscapers struggle to fill unfilled positions
  • Average landscaper spent 30 percent of their total revenue for payroll in 2015
  • 7 percent of landscape firms are classified as “micro-business”, which means less than 4 employees
  • 80 percent of landscapers regularly use a smart phone for business purposes.  (Other than making phone calls)
  • 63 percent of landscapers are charging more for their service this year than last.
  • 63 percent of landscapers say they intend to sell their business within the next 10 years
  • 60 percent of homeowners consider landscape services as “expensive;” but 86 percent say they want an enjoyable outdoor space, and 77 percent take personal pride in their yards; and 75 percent report their landscape work increased the value of their home

Green Industry Trends

  • The irrigation sector of the landscape world is expected to grow at an annual rate of 15.55 percent through 2020; not bad at all in a world with less than 3 percent GDP growth
  • Water saving irrigation product and practices will continue to gain steam as end users themselves demand such services
  • “Robotic” sprinklers are hitting the market; not really much like robots, but definitely a departure from normal rotors

Check out for a great example. IrriGreen is really great because we will soon stock it! (cheap plug).

  • Lighting is seeing a weird alternative; Light-Emitting Concrete: new concrete with special additives (an effervescent pill) allows solar power to be absorbed then emitted as light after dark; the developer says the effect will last 100 years

Designers and builders are looking at the effect light emitting concrete can have for roadways, walkways, walls, parking garages, parking lots, and even internal concrete walls.  Might be something you install in your landscapes one day.  Here are some examples:

Concrete light used in landscaping  Concrete landscaping light Person

Concrete light Inside 

  • ASLA Top Trend for 2016 is Rainwater and Greywater Harvesting

Landscape Architects are surveyed to find out what their clients are asking for. This year water conservation by collecting rainwater and recycling water used on the property was the number one request.

As expected outdoor living spaces is still the key item people want.  But high end homeowners are asking to save water.  Collecting and using rainwater or greywater topped the list.   Other methods were having less lawn, drought tolerant or native plants, low volume irrigation, rain gardens, and permeable paving.

Bear in mind, this is the people talking, not our industry!  Your customers want these features built into their landscapes.

I wish you the best for the second half!

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