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Landscape Views - Issue 17

This is a column by landscapers, for landscapers. In it, you’ll find knowledge, views and insights from professionals just like you, who are currently working in the industry

Q. Are you seeing any signs of the landscaping industry slowing down?

Neville Stewart Landscaping

Interviewee: Neville Stewart - Director Location: Dunedin

Staff: 4

We’re not seeing any signs of the industry slowing down. We’re still receiving a steady stream of enquiries and booking work into 2023.

There’s always a bit of uncertainty about what’s ahead of us in the next 12 months, but I think supply and staff issues will still be a problem. For example, for the first time ever, I walked into a nursery and asked for Lancewood and was told there were none available. The same went for rock daisies.

Looking back, we haven't had to change much over the past 12 months. We’ve kept our marketing and processes the same and we’ll continue to do what we’ve always done – I believe you’re only as good as your last job. Customers are always looking for quality and that will continue. I think that’s why we’re still booked up.

In terms of customer spend, there hasn’t been a reduction in the number of people enquiring about fairly large projects, which I would expect if the industry was slowing.

Part of the reason I think landscaping is booming, and will continue to do so, is that it seems fewer people are prepared to do a DIY job on their gardens. Years ago, people would just do it themselves but, these days, more people understand the value of getting a professional in.

Total Landscape Creations Ltd

Interviewee: Nevan Millar - Director Location: East Auckland

Staff: 3

Work always tends to speed up towards the end of the year and we always have a Christmas rush, so right now we’re definitely not seeing a slow down! Winter was a little quieter than normal, but we’ve been busy throughout the year. Saying that, we’re only a small crew, so we don’t need heaps of work to keep us all busy.

We’ll have a few jobs that carry into 2023. We’ve been in business for more than 30 years and we’ve managed to keep busy the whole time whether it’s through word of mouth, referrals, or networking, so I’m not concerned.

However, it’s always tricky to say where the industry will go, and regulation always seems to be a challenge. You never know what will come into law next!

I know there are some supply issues, but things seem to be getting better on that front – especially around timber.

However, since Covid lockdowns have ended, I’ve also noticed the average spend per customer come down. During isolation, it was nuts – people were willing to spend a lot more and everyone wanted a swimming pool! Now I’d say it’s dropped to pre-Covid levels, and I expect that will remain the same next year.

Outerspace Dezine

Interviewee: Byran Pollock - Director Location: Wellington

Staff: 1

I haven’t really seen an industry slowdown but, to be fair, I’m not fully involved in the landscape construction side of things. I’m semi-retired, and I gave up construction about two years ago to focus on the design side of things.

During that time, I’ve been busy, but I’m also in the position where I can pick and choose which jobs I take on, and I’ve always got enough to keep me going.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past 12 months is many clients want to do the planting themselves to save costs but get the hard landscaping done by landscapers. From my experience, I was seeing people prepared to spend a lot more before Covid – my average job is around $40,000 but, before the pandemic, I was seeing bigger jobs more regularly.

Tastes seem to have changed a little too. Now people want low maintenance gardens and my designs include space for a lot more sculptures and things like bird feeders.

One negative is supply constraints. I’m not really seeing signs that things will improve on that side, and I can only hope that it will.


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