Greener Products Mean Greener Windfalls for Landscaping Manufacturers

Greener Products Mean Greener Windfalls for Landscaping Manufacturers

Across virtually all consumer industries, demand for eco-friendly alternatives to tried-and-true products is up – but according to Matt Breuer, analyst with The Freedonia Group, few markets stand to gain as much from the trend as the landscaping business.

Government regulations aimed at curbing water consumption in drought-prone areas or removing newly banned materials from supply chains may help boost revenues for greener (and more expensive) landscaping products, but manufacturers are taking greening efforts even further than required as more consumers elect to reduce their environmental footprints. As a result, strong demand growth for landscaping products is expected to continue through 2021.

Outdoor Living, from Concept to Real Life(style)

Nowhere is the popularity of the outdoor living concept more apparent than in the ever-expanding and aggressively promoted lawn and garden sections of mass merchandisers like Walmart and Lowe’s. Consumers are spending more time than ever outside, fueling demand for all types of landscaping products, especially high-value items like lighting sources and hardscape materials (e.g., edgings, pavers, and tiles) that are typically used in the construction of patios, pathways, and outdoor kitchens.

Because consumers drawn to the idea of outdoor living tend to view environmental issues as a matter of personal moral responsibility, landscaping manufacturers can capitalize by developing sustainable products tailored to that lifestyle.

When It Rains, It Absorbs

One of the most pressing issues landscaping products manufacturers are addressing in their designs is water runoff in urban settings. When impermeable materials such as concrete or asphalt pavement cover large surface areas (e.g., parking lots, plazas, and sidewalks), excess rainwater is diverted to storm drains rather than absorbed into the ground, potentially resulting in costly flooding, the pollution of local water sources, and even long term harm to the area’s water tables.

In place of impermeable materials, building owners are increasingly choosing permeable and porous alternatives like Unilock’s Eco-Optiloc and Town Hall pavers that facilitate the drainage of water runoff into the ground. Ready-mix pavers tend to create runoff rather than mitigate it, so manufacturers are also formulating pervious alternatives featuring coarser aggregates and little to no sand, such as Sagamore Ready Mix’s Envirocrete.

Another means by which consumers are tackling water runoff (and driving gains for landscaping suppliers) is through rooftop landscaping and gardening, an increasingly popular trend in major cities that also helps improve air quality and reduce heat buildup (not to mention feed communities).

Lights, Solar, Action

Further pushing the greening of the landscaping industry is the popularity of solar and LED site lights, floodlights, and spotlights, which will only continue to grow – especially because recent technological advancements have made both product types more affordable. Solar lighting appeals to consumers because it allows for greater independence from electric utilities.  LED lighting, on the other hand, is low-voltage and long lasting, reducing energy costs and overall environmental impact. To capitalize on the long-term savings, however, consumers will have to invest in new fixtures, driving value gains.

Market leader Philips Lighting has already seen evidence of this trend. Its Hadco solar-powered and LED products have seen widespread adoption in recent years by both home and business owners, and local and state governments that are trying to light streets and other public spaces for less.

The Great Xeriscape

In drought-prone regions, excess water usage can be subject to social stigma, if not strictly enforced government regulation, promoting the rise of xeriscaping and other landscaping strategies aimed at conserving water. Xeriscaping entails completely replacing grass and other lush plant-life with aggregate hardscaping and succulent plants that require little water. Though quite an intensive undertaking, the trend is immensely popular in southern California, where “grass-busting” landscape companies have seen massive growth following historic drought in the state.

In addition, manufacturers are scrambling to earn eco-friendly certifications such as the EPA’s WaterSense designation on more of their offerings, as consumers tend to prefer these products. As a result, designs for decorative products like fountains, ponds, and waterfalls now take water usage into greater consideration, resulting in smaller models that use less water, recycle water, and/or protect recycled water from evaporation.

Want to Learn More?

Check out The Freedonia Group’s Industry Study, Landscaping Products Market in the US, which provides historical demand and forecasts for the US landscaping products market by:

  • product (decorative, hardscape, outdoor structures, and other)
  • market (residential, nonresidential, and nonbuilding)
  • end user (professional and consumer/do-it-yourself)
  • region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West)

It also offers in-depth analysis of the industry, market share of leading manufacturers, and more.

About the Author

Peter Kusnic is an Industry Studies editor at The Freedonia Group, where he also writes and edits blogs.