<b>Trees, Ornamental & Bedding Plant:</b> DIY landscaping is on the rise

Features - Supplement

Results from the latest National Gardening Association survey paint a challenging picture for residential landscape contractors.

October 21, 2010
Sarah Martinez

In late summer, National Gardening Association released findings from two national surveys offering insight on the lawn and garden market. Results show that more homeowners are foregoing professional services, and are choosing to take on lawns themselves.

According to NGA, roughly 1 out of 5 households nationwide spent more time caring for their lawns and gardens last year and 16 percent less cash than in previous years.

‘Edibles’ popular
Food gardening was the only category of activity that saw a significant increase in household participation and spending last year. Participation in food gardening increased by 5 million households or 14 percent, to 41 million households last year from 36 million households the previous year. The total spent on food gardening increased by $520 million or 21 percent, to $2.989 billion last year from $2.469 the previous year.

Appeal of DIY
These results, found in the Hard Times Lawn & Garden Survey and 2010 National Gardening Survey, show how more Americans are tightening their belts and opting to do their own lawn and garden maintenance, says Mike Metallo, president of NGA.

“It makes perfect sense that people are spending more time on do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities during this great recession because it’s a simple and direct way homeowners can maintain and improve the appearance of their property and save money by doing more for themselves.” Metallo goes on to say that it’s clear that food gardening is a significant priority for many people because health and nutrition, along with food safety, are on the forefront of their minds.

According to NGA’s 2010 National Gardening Survey, household participation in all types of do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities increased by 2 million households last year, to 83 million households. The average annual amount spent per household on all lawn and garden activities decreased by $81 from $444 to $363. And the total amount spent on all lawn and garden activities decreased by 16 percent to $30.121 billion last year from $36.060 billion the previous year.

“While the amount consumers spent on their lawns and gardens was down a little, it did not approach the level of the decline seen in their discretionary spending, which is good news,” says Bruce Butterfield, NGA research director.

The author is managing editor of Garden Center magazine.