Water Use Concerns Drive Changing Landscape Trends

Water Use Concerns Drive Changing Landscape Trends

Consumers are showing greater interest in landscaping features besides lawns, such as gardens, native grasses, plants, and shrubs. A key reason involves environmental concerns and local regulations regarding water use, which have become increasingly important, particularly in areas that feature water scarcity. To succeed in the face of these concerns, landscaping service firms must tailor their offerings to include a wider array of services that address environmental considerations such as reducing water use.

Environmental concerns regarding landscaping are especially prominent in areas that feature meager water resources or that tend to experience droughts. Traditional lawns are often key targets of such efforts, because their maintenance typically requires a considerable amount of water. As concerns regarding water use have intensified, many properties’ landscaping either no longer includes a lawn, or features a smaller lawn. The reduction or elimination of traditional lawns from properties may reduce demand for landscaping services, as lawns represent one of the most service-intensive landscapes. Examples of alternatives to traditional lawns include:

  • artificial turf
  • drought-resistant and/or native plants and grasses requiring little water
  • gravel and/or rock cover and hardscapes, walkways, and sitting/dining areas
  • low-maintenance ground cover grasses and/or plants
  • xeriscaping (i.e., landscaping that requires little or no irrigation)

Over the 2007-2017 decade, the use of landscaping other than lawns increased due to the long drought experienced in California throughout this period and the growing awareness of the relative water scarcity in other western and southern states (e.g., Texas and Nevada). In California, local and state government entities as well as water utilities offered incentives to property owners who removed their lawns and switched to less water-intensive landscapes. While trends disfavoring lawns in water-constrained areas may limit landscape firm revenues to some extent, they create demand for lawn removal and replacement services and the associated maintenance and care required for new landscape types such as flowers, plants, and various alternative types of grasses including native types that don’t require much water.

Learn More

For more insights into the US landscaping services industry, see Landscaping Services: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2022 US contract landscaping service revenues in nominal US dollars. Total revenues are segmented by service type in terms of:

  • lawn and garden
  • tree and shrub

Total revenues are also segmented by market as follows:

  • residential
  • nonresidential

To illustrate historical trends, total revenues and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2007 to 2017.

Related Focus Reports include:

About the Author

Leon Mengri is a Senior Market Research Analyst with Freedonia Focus Reports. He conducts research and writes a variety of Focus Reports, which offer concise overviews of market size, product segmentation, business trends, and more.