Is the Artistry and Craftmanship In Landscaping Dead?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by White Gardens, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    With all the competition, lower prices for installations and services, it seems that landscaping has become volume based for pricing.

    Basically send in some college kids, tell them what to do and let them knock it out. Details are left unchecked and the end result might look good, but might also not last a very long time.

    I run into installs all the time where the base material for walls was short by a couple of inches, no drainage for walls, cheap mortar for brick edging, no pins in the landscape fabric in rock beds and on and on.

    So is the dedication and quality of landscapes pretty well dead? I personally refuse to drop my prices to compete knowing full well that most of the extra costs in my bids involves the little details that make landscapes last longer with the right maintenance.

    Any thoughts?
  2. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    The average customer only looks for the bottom line. They don't know or don't care about the details that can make a landscape more appealing and successful. There is a market for higher quality work but it is very small and you will price a lot of jobs and waste a lot of time finding them. Too many customers ,especially low to mid range, treat landscaping as a commodity. :rolleyes:It's not.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    Is the Artistry and Craftmanship In Landscaping Dead?

    No it is not. I have to agree that the vast amount of landscape work is done based on speed rather than quality and many control profit through buying cheaper material .... particularly lower quality plants. In other words, I agree that much of the industry is "volume based for pricing". I think that is driven both by the low ballers setting the base pricing and consumers not understanding that with landscaping they are never comparing apples to apples in either craftsmanship or materials.

    However, there are savvy consumers who will shell out what it takes to buy quality craftsmanship and materials. The only way they feel comfortable that they are getting that is to hire from a limited group of elite contractors that do only higher end work. It becomes a chicken and egg thing for contractors because you need to be one of the elite to get the elite work, but you can't be one unless you have already done elite work.

    One of the great things about our industry is that it is easy to get into. One of the worst things in our industry is that it is easy to get into. The majority of landscape companies are owned and run by people with minimal experience, no education, and they got their experience le with a similar background.

    If you want to own and run a true quality and craftmanship landscape company, you will do much better by working in one that already exists and climb to a higher position within it to develop the knowledge, skills, and network of people who know who you are and what you do before you go out on your own. That way you step off the elevator at a higher floor. Most try to start from scratch and climb up to higher markets. That is much more wishful thinking than the way it usually plays out.
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    That's like a furniture maker asking if the artistry and craftsmanship of furniture building is dead because Target and IKEA move the majority of units of production. Well, if you're hand-building chairs from solid wood and trying to compete with the mass market stuff - yeah, I hope you enjoy eating ramen because the people buying a $79 desk at Target aren't looking for the value in a solid maple piece with Rococo detailing.

    If you're competing with mopes and hacks selling on speed and price and that's not what you want your business to be, then you need to look at your marketing and ask "why am I targeting these homeowners?" Look around this site. It's a good snapshot of the industry - how many people are looking for ways to improve their bottom lines (costs, efficiencies) versus how many are looking for ways to grow their top line (better selling, better closing, better margins)?
  5. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    I thought that for the last 20 years as I watched yet another new house go up with another temporary landscape installed. The big thing is, the amazing growth we experianced during those years. My grandfather and others like him knew more about growing plants than just about any lco and most university people...yet somehow things need to be re-learned again. You can't fight that growth. This has been and still is a get it done and move forward society..quality second. Having said that, if we ever experiance another megaboom in my lifetime, I will dive head first into starting a business that will take full advantage of the supply/demand imbalance. It wasn't easy watching many lco's go from 1 truck to semi retired.
  6. GroundOneMN

    GroundOneMN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

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