Published on 01/27/97

Americans Spending Billions on Landscapes

Southerners love their landscapes. In fact, in a recent Gallup survey, Southerners led the nation in what they spent to improve their yards.

"Americans spent $14.2 billion to beautify their landscapes in 1995," said Gary Wade, a horticulturist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. "That's an average of $710 per household. The figure is up 5 percent from 1994."

The Gallup survey was based on interviews with 1,500 households across the nation.

More than 20 million households hired landscape, lawn-care and/or tree-care services in 1995. About 3 million more expected to join that number in 1996.

"The average amount spent per household rose for the third year in a row," Wade said. "Industry experts believe the market for these services is solid. It will continue to grow."

Homeowners aged 30 to 49 accounted for more than half of the spending on yard improvement. Married couples with children paid out two-thirds of the total spent to install landscapes. Homeowners over 50 spent nearly half of all money spent to keep up lawns and landscapes.

Americans spent $4,173 per household on landscape services.

"That's an increase of 40 percent," Wade said.

Tree-care spending also rose by 19 percent. That averages $400 per household.

"Homeowners are focusing more on outdoor living spaces as a target of home improvement," Wade said. "They consider their landscape an improvement investment for home equity."

People have less time to spend working on their lawns, landscapes and trees, he said. More and more families have two incomes. These people will be more likely to hire someone to take care of their landscapes.

A growing number of people don't want lawns that are just beautiful, Wade said. They want great landscapes that are at peace with the world around them.

"It is not surprising that homeowners said they want their lawns and landscapes to be well-designed," he said. "But they also have a high level of environmental sensitivity."

To learn more about taking care of your landscape and trees, contact the county extension office. It's in the phone book under "county government."