Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Forced isolation during the pandemic has apparently caused a greater number of homeowners to look critically at their property and decide it’s finally time to make improvements. The result is that business is soaring for landscaping companies.
Staring at his backyard all winter, Ricky Brar was counting down the days until he could start his big landscaping projects — but the pandemic has made his wait longer.
Brar wanted to get work done on his yard last year, but the snowfall and early cold weather made him hold off on the projects until this year. He made calls to contractors but, once the pandemic began and everyone was told to stay home, the phones of landscaping businesses were ringing non-stop.
"We had to look at that eyesore in our backyard for the whole winter season, so we were looking forward to spring coming and we wanted to get it done ASAP but then we were hit with the pandemic," said Brar. "You are kind of just brainstorming and imagining what the yard should be looking like and when it’s not looking like that you get kind of frustrated."
He lives in a newer development and has major landscaping projects on the go. He’s getting privacy walls, decks, a fire pit, a pond with a waterfall and a gate at the front of the property.
Brar said he hears tractors and Bobcats driving throughout his community. He estimated that about half of the people on his street are currently getting landscape work done.
Landscapers in the city said the increased business could be because people are staying at home and want to fix their yard up, or people who normally travel have extra money to spend.
"One guy that I was talking to last week, he was very clear. He said him and his partner like to travel a lot, they go on trips at least three or four times a year, but they’re not doing that," said Dwayne Regehr, owner of Earthworks Landscaping. "They have this significant chunk of cash that usually goes to other things that is now in their budget and they say they’re just going to redirect that into the yard."
Earthworks Landscaping is a small business with five employees. Regehr said their business has increased about 10 per cent, but they’re receiving double the phone calls.
Regehr said they’re currently booking into September, meaning customers will have to wait three months before Earthworks starts their home project.
Tony Phee, the owner of PricePoint Tony, said he’s been experiencing a jump in business too.
"This year, I’ve noticed a significant increase, as much as 30-to-35 per cent in particular with my landscaping and fencing teams," said Phee.
PricePoint Tony’s landscaping division has six people, but Phee also has 15 other staff and 32 support vendors to help with interior and exterior renovations. The company has been running for six years and this has been the busiest year, with wait times of approximately 30 days.
Phee said landscaping and fencing has been popular this year because people seem to want their privacy.
"The security and safety of their yard seems to be a pretty big priority this year," said Phee. "That’s why a lot of fences are being built, in particular people are requesting six-foot fences."
Six feet is the highest a backyard fence can legally be built in the city, and Phee said a lot of his customers want privacy in their backyard since they’re home more, or for the security from thieves.
The demand for landscaping is high, but Phee said it’s not the only reason wait lists are longer this year.
"We are definitely following safe practices during COVID, and as a result of that there are some projects that are requiring a little more time than what normally would be required of a job like that," said Phee.
Phee said his team always has hand sanitizer on site, they socially distance from their clients and team members, they wear gloves and, in circumstances where they have to be close to each other, they wear masks.
Phee expects his waiting time to get longer in July and August. Both Regehr and Phee said they will be busy well into the fall.
"I never would have imagined it. I say it jokingly, but I guess there’s some truth to it – the pandemic has been very good for the landscaping business," said Regehr.
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