More Sustainable Is More Profitable

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JoeAtRU, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. JoeAtRU

    JoeAtRU LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    Bruce Neary says, "Sustainable landscape design reduces the amount of fossil fuels, irrigation, and labor needed to maintain a landscape. This means your client will spend less and you will make more."

    Sustainable Landscape Design
     
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,740

    When I was a kid I almost never saw a plant go into a hole that was not dug with a shovel. I saw more hedges sheared with hand shears and on rare occaisions electric shears. Lawns were mowed professionally by push mowers and walk behinds. Mulch was placed by wheel barrows, pitch forks and rakes. Messes were cleaned up with brooms. Leaves were raked, dragged on tarps, and lifted manually into trucks.

    That changed a little in the 70's., a little more in the 80's, and a lot in the 90s. ... because labor was harder to get and more expensive than equipment. Mow, blow, and go took over because few consumers will not pay for anything more. They all want more, but they all want it based on the prices set by mow, blow, and go. It did not change because society wanted it to. It changed because it was cheaper. It was still cheaper in 2008 when gas was over $4 a gallon. It was cheaper last summer when it was close to $4 and it will be cheaper this summer even if it goes to 4.50 .

    There is a limited segment that will pay more, but it is very limited. I believe there is more money being made selling classes and certifications in sustainable landscape maintenance than in actually doing it. I wish it was not the case, but I see what I see.

    The only time it really works is when it is cost effective. That is why organic fertilizers are a winner and always were simply because they last longer between aps. Rakes and brooms are not coming back in a big way any time soon. I use them, but you won't make a living with work crews competing with blowers and vacuum grinders.

    I'm afraid that this is more about wishing for a reality than living in it. Again, I wish I was wrong.

    When gas goes up, people value their money more than sustainability. Those still paying for landscape maintenance will be more worried about the bottom line and until the gas that is burning in the equipment costs the customer more per hour than the person it is strapped to it will still be burned. Honestly, is it even close if gas goes to $8 per gallon?

    Sustainability in landscape maintenance has its best hope when people stop hiring maintenance crews and do it themselves. ... although it then impacts the homeowners time and they might start buying their own equipment.

    Again. I hope I'm wrong.
     
  3. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,813

    Explain how it is more profitable when the client spends less.

    So by a company "not using equipment, reducing billable labor, not installing or maintaining irrigation systems.... We will increase our profits?
     
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,740

    I think the premise is that contractors won't spend as much on energy and it will cut costs. The first flaw is that the increase in labor, forget about the cost of training that labor, costs far more outweigh the savings.
     
  5. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 499

    From a landscape design point of view i can understand. Here at River Falls they teach us how to design landscapes that require little upkeep for the homeowner.....doing things such as using plants that will thrive in the environment they are going in, using plants that will not need water after they are established, plants that will not need fertilizer, plantings that are properly spaced to require little to no mulch after establishment which also takes care of most weeds ect ect...

    i see wayyyyyyy to many landscapes done by "professionals" that have terrible flow, huge gaps, planted WAY to close because they think it looks good right away....what about when all the plants are full grown? And worst of all planting plants that require sun in shade, shade in sun and using fertilizer to keep these plants alive.

    Designers PLEASE design you plans for when the plants are at mature size... one of the biggest pet peaves of mine is seeing new landscapes put in with the plants touching one another to make it look nice.....1 year later i come back and everything is overgrown requiring prunning and trimming.

    /rant
     

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