Here’s some good prospecting information from today’s RAB e-newsletter for your local landscape architects. Increasingly popular are outdoor kitchens (perfect for public radio foodies!), along with fire pits/fireplaces and outdoor living/dining rooms. When you add the uptick in requests for water elements, plus the desire for backyard gardening/farming (don’t forget those
designer chicken coops!), you have a strong prospect for spring/summer business.
Consumers Digging into Bigger Outdoor Projects
While spring is typically the busiest time of year for gardening and landscaping projects, experts are predicting a particularly abundant sales crop, powered by recovering real-estate sales.
Outdoor living spaces will be on the top of many lists, according to a trend forecast from the American Society of Landscape Architects, as will designs focused on sustainability and low-maintenance. These outdoor living spaces -- defined as kitchens and entertainment areas -- earned a 94.5% rating, making them just as popular as gardens or landscaped spaces. And people want these rooms filled with such amenities as fire pits and fireplaces, grills, seating and dining areas and lighting.
"Business definitely seems to be picking up," Ted Cleary, a member of the association and owner of Studio Cleary
Landscape Architecture in Charlotte, N.C., told Marketing Daily, "even over and above the typical spring bump. Over the last few years, we were seeing more customers back out of projects because of financial concerns. There seems to be more equilibrium now."
Water elements are also making a bit of a comeback -- not just as features in landscapes, but also in terms of spas and pools. And in keeping with the local food movement, the survey also reports more people are asking for food and
vegetable gardens, including orchards and vineyards.
Cleary also believes the recent real-estate slump has reset people's relationship with their homes. "There's definitely a lot more thought going into projects, and less of this frantic 'Let's fix this place up and move on.' I'm hearing more people say, 'We could be in this house for a while. Let's make the yard more suitable for what we want long-term.'"
A stronger real-estate market drives gardening and landscaping sales at such stores as Home Depot and Lowe's. In the latest analysis from CoreLogic, January's home sale price index rose 9.7% from the prior year -- the biggest increase since 2006, and the 11th consecutive month of gains. Last month, Home Depot reported a quarterly gain of 7% in same-store sales, and expects sales for the year ahead to climb 3%. At rival Lowe's, same-store sales rose 1.9%, and it predicts a gain of 3.5% in the coming year.
(Source: Marketing Daily, 03/18/13