Landscaping Business Planning: What is trending in 2021

Where are we headed in 2021 in the landscape industry?  From technology to man-power to market trends this article is a primer for you to see how any or all of these current topics and stats can help improve you and your business.


You will also see some topics that fit you and others that have no impact, for now.


The more we are aware of what the future holds, the better off we are at make adjustments and sound business decisions. Each year we should do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats) exam of our businesses and personal life. This article isn’t about a SWOT exam, but it does show things that are evolving and trending in the landscape industry. Things that could be your strength or weakness if you get left behind.


For instance, 20 years ago, you rarely seen a tree service use cranes to remove trees.  If you go to Instagram, you will see hundreds of tree services using their own cranes or rentals. I have three service clients that own cranes now and one owns two.


It has had a big impact on their efficiencies, gross revenue and profit margins.


20 years ago, neighborhood kids mowed lawns, now big corporations like Brightview and their subsidiaries are in those same neighborhoods.


With the landscape industry being a $100 billion dollar a year US industry, there is a lot at play. In 2020 we seen a shift in many things because of the pandemic, politics and other forces. These all have an effect on each of us personally and as business owners.


Before we begin, you might want to book market this webpage for further reading and research in the months to come.


Let’s jump in and see where we are heading in the landscape industry.

Landscape Labor Statistics

Landscape and Lawn Care Labor Trends 2021

There is no doubt finding good help is like finding diamonds in a rough.  But a business owner should always be recruiting to find the best help available. Even if you a small company with a handful of employees.

One solution to the problem with finding a team is to consider multiple part-time workers. For many workers these days, they have several part-time jobs. A savvy landscape company may want to consider this as they start filling in their season labor needs.


You may find it better to have 3 employees that work part time, then one employee who works full time plus overtime. It would actually be cheaper in the long run with over time pay and worker fatigue.


Another avenue you can take with employees and pay rates as the states increase the minimum wage is to pay at the minimum and offer bonuses, based off of performance. Personally, I have always like the performance pay, plus base rate as a risk management model.


As for those who hire on with the H-2A Agricultural Workers, H-2B Non-Agricultural Workers only time will tell what happens this year.


You can go here to learn more about the landscape labor stats.

Landscape Company Management Software

If you are not using at least one or more software or apps to help run your lawn care business, it’s not that you are living in the stone age. But you are going to be left behind as they evolve and more of your competition uses them.


From billing, design, tracking and project management to customer relationship management, there is an app or software to help you save time, money, be more professional. Thus, making you more effective in you landscape business.


I hear it all the time about not being techy.  Most of the apps and software available is quite simple to use and most of the apps have many tutorials to help you.


The most-deadly thing a small business can say today is, “We have always done it this way.”

Here is a list of the top software and apps for your landscape company.

Google Trends for advertising research

Landscape Marketing for 2021

As uncertainty still loams in the new year, as a business owner you will need to be flexible when it comes to marketing your landscape business. Flexible not only in what and how you offer your services, but when and why.


In the landscaping trends section of this article, you will notice trends for 2021. Take note. Think of how you can break from traditional maintenance or planting designs and apply these trends.  With a thin-skinned society, topped with the socially responsible spotlight, you may want to add in some earth friendly items to your service list.


When several media outlets that your customers read to get ideas and educated pointing toward certain eco-friendly products and plantings, you would distance yourself by advertising that you perform these socially responsible services.


2020 has been a big year in the landscaping world and so far, 2021 has been a hold my beer and watch this year. So, it is anyone’s guess as to what the future brings.


Grass will still grow. Trees will need removed and planted and people will still want a piece of their oasis.


There are several landscape innovations that grabbed our attention at the end of 2020. Many landscaping trends took us back to nature with more low-maintenance, water-smart and eco-friendly designs. Many also involved using our outdoor spaces for more of our typically-indoor activities.


When your customers are reading it in more and more outlets, you too, should have website content to match these trends. Your landscape business advertising should reflect and promote these trends. You would be wise to get in at the beginning of the wave instead of hopping in as the wave subsides.


Even if you dabble in advertising landscaping trends and they fade away, you will gain a new market share of customers. But, if they stay, you will be ahead of your competitors by leaps and bounds. 


Think Walmart getting into digital and trying to keep up with Amazon.

Landscape Plant trends for 2021

Landscape Trends 2021

Here are 15 of the biggest landscaping trends we saw gaining traction in 2020, all of which will become even more important in 2021.

  1. While the technology isn’t quite there yet for battery-powered OPE solutions to fully replace gas, the day is coming quickly where they will be able. Until then, they’re an excellent supplemental tool for professionals. As more and more government regulations come into place around noise and emissions, being prepared with supplemental battery-powered OPE solutions makes sense. After all, you don’t want your business to be majorly impacted by these potential restrictions.
  2. If there’s one thing we’ve noticed over the years, it’s that people are choosing more and more native plants with every year that passes. Native plants provide a range of benefits.
  3. If there’s one thing 2020 has instilled in us it’s the urge to do more outside. As we’ve adapted to socially distancing and safe socializing, many of us have turned to our outdoor areas as new living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and play areas.
  4. For many of your customers, the prim and proper style gardens are coming slightly undone as we begin to adopt more naturalistic elements into our landscaping plans, opting for wildly lush cottage gardens instead.
  5. The days in which spring and summer were the only garden seasons to plan for! Now, there’s a new focus on trees, plants, and shrubs that offer either multi-season interest or tend to display their color, texture, fruit and flowers when we need a splash of color most—during winter!
  6. Getting creative with food plants. Maybe as a selling point with a new front yard landscape you could through in a small edible garden on the side or backyard as an enticement to you landscape package offerings. Research data shows that the younger generation is adapting to growing at least some garden herbs and vegetables at home. Organic, home grown, how can you capitalize on this trend?
  7. Pollinator Garden – Over recent years, we’ve begun realizing just how important our pollinators are and that even a small space designated for pollinator habitat can help provide for the insects upon which our food system relies!
  8. Vertical Gardens – It seems like we’ve been growing up recently because vertical gardening is a trend everyone appears to be trying! If you’ve got a small space, this is one of the best landscaping trends for you! Don’t know where to start? Choose a wall, then build a frame. This is great for areas with small footprints of land to landscape or add features.
  9. Smart Technology – We’ve come a long way over recent years and now technology isn’t something that’s limited to our phones, computers, and at home virtual assistants. We’re beginning to see the integration of smart technology into landscaping. From irrigation to lawn mowing, technology is here to stay.
  10. Secluded Spaces – There has been an increased interest in transforming a corner of your backyard into a private, secluded slice of heaven.
  11. Outdoor Lighting – Lighting has been a bright spot in 2020. Whether it’s hidden lighting that illuminates a path, a LED light channel underneath a patio, sidewalk, or trees, we’re beginning to see more lights used in new and improved ways.
  12. On-Site Water Collection – As you’ve noticed, many of these trends have some element of sustainability. It’s clear that people have been adopting more environmentally-conscious landscaping ideas over recent years. One of the most common trends is the collection or use of rainwater.
  13. Front Porch Living – Many of us are beginning to return to the front porch as a functional gathering space. Curb appeal is as important as making the front porch welcoming for friends and family members. This typically means that bright landscaping elements are chosen, comfy seating is added, and low maintenance bushes are incorporated.
  14. Classic Blue – Let your outdoors be inspired by color. The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year, Classic Blue, will continue to trend for use year-round in outdoor spaces, as it’s reminiscent of summer. Incorporate blue into your design as a dominant garden color or accent in your landscape and planters. Several plantings can include Aster, Eryngos (Sea Holly), Muscari (Grape Hyacinth), Hyacinthoides (Spanish Bluebells), Hydrangeas, and more.
  15. The Impact of Working Remotely on Commercial Spaces – As working remotely increased in 2020, we can’t help but question how this might impact commercial office spaces into the future. While there are some people still going to offices, the needs of commercial office parks may be changing as a result of that percentage of people who are still working from their homes.
Battery powered chainsaw

Landscaping Equipment 2021

We have seen many of our professional lawn and landscape teams paying more attention to their efficiency and effectiveness. Each owner wants to know how products make their daily operations easier and more cost effective. Some have even calculated out how a new machine saves them money and, therefore, how quickly it will pay for itself.


Operators and owners are also diversifying their services. Groups that focus on one service, such as mowing, are exploring landscaping, stump removal, snow removal, or installation of hardscapes and landscapes. It has been great to watch the lawn and landscape industry grow and adapt to new needs in the market.

Improved performance and efficiency continue to be on the minds of the lawn care professionals. With a continued need for labor, commercial landscapers rely on equipment that provides quick and easy service, so as to get back to the jobs.


While the application of robotic and connected products is still developing in the industry, these innovations will be significant to landscapers over the next five years.

  • Stand-on mowers are also continuing to gain acceptance.
  • Battery-powered equipment is gaining a lot of attention and interest in the market, especially with all the discussions on a greener environment happening in the news.
  • Noise abatement, both for operators and consumers, is an increasingly important aspect of environmental sustainability. Quieter operation of power equipment helps reduce operator fatigue and increase productivity of crews. And as people in the community are asking for less noise from landscaping activities, quiet operation reduces sound pollution.
  • Low maintenance equipment from access for servicing to low/no air tires. Landscape companies are looking at equipment to make up for the labor shortages. From bigger mowing decks to small articulated loaders instead of manpower and wheel-barrels.
  • Connected Smart Tool Technology – With the STIHL Smart Connector and STIHL connected Portal, you can view the power tool data for your power tools and use that information as a basis to improve your daily work processes. For optimum scheduling and an even more efficient team.

Things to watch for in 2021

Autonomous/Robotic Mowers

Autonomous, or robotic, lawn mowers have been on the scene for a short time, but offered no real commercial benefit because they were too small to tackle the size of these jobs. However, advancements in this equipment are making them more of a reality for commercial landscape maintenance use.

What this means is that an operator can set up a larger robotic machine on an out-of-the-way section of your landscape, teach it the borders of the area that needs mowing, and then set it up automatically.

Where this trend might be most applicable is in large commercial fields with tons of acres so crew members can take care of trimming or other maintenance, while the robotic mower tackles the field.

Battery Powered Weed Eaters

Battery Powered Landscape Equipment

Many professional landscapers are starting to recognize the benefits of battery-powered equipment, so they’ve started to use them as supplemental tools to their gas units. For example, when a crew is working early in the morning in a residential area, they’ll turn to battery-powered equipment due to the reduction in noise. Crews will also turn to battery-powered equipment when they’re working in municipalities and hospitals that do not allow the operation of gas-powered equipment.

Ditch Witch

Vacuum Excavation

Vacuum excavation is not a new technology in the landscape industry, lawn and landscape contractors are increasingly using vacuum excavators for a variety of jobs. The versatile machines are being used for irrigation installation, garden and flowerbed clean-out and tree care. Vacuum excavators can be less environmentally invasive than other machines, and can be used to remove ground cover without harming vegetation.

Landscapers also are turning to soft excavation, which is using pressurized water to excavate the soil while using the vacuum to remove slurry.

Paver setting tools for landscapers

Paver Laying Machines

One of the most time-consuming steps while doing a hardscaping project is aligning and installing pavers in place. Using Paver Handling Equipment strongly benefits when laying thousands of paving stones.

Again following the skilled and unskilled labor shortage machinery is taking their place to keep businesses running and on schedule.



Dang that was a long article. I did my best with the research.  There are so many things I could have added, but settled on the most important, the most mentioned.

Any way you want to look at it, technology, eco-friendly and living well at home are things that are going to be with us, this year and beyond.

Leave a comment or send us a message, we would lover your feedback.


As always if you have any marketing questions, feel free to contact us directly.

Article Name
Landscaping Business Plans
Landscaping Business plans using the latest trends in the landscape industry.
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Contractor Marketing Network