Canada's Local Gardener
Landscaping 2020 with CoviD-19
To say that 2020 has been a different year, would have to be an understatement. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of anything green looked pretty dismal, with little promise for the 2020 season, with greenhouses and nurseries taking the brunt of it. But within a few short months, a resolve had been brought forward that demonstrated we (anything green) were an “essential service”. This was great news for everyone in the green industry . . . or was it?
It soon became obvious, no one was going anywhere for holidays in the near future, so many homeowners decided to invest into some form of home renovation. Soon back yard renovations topped the to-do lists of many homeowners. Whether that improvement was renovating a dilapidated old deck or rebuilding a falling down fence, adding a new patio, investing into a new lifestyle like adding a pool, maybe a new outdoor kitchen, barbeque area, cabanas
became a big item, artificial putting greens, bocce ball courts, water features, fire pit areas, lighting, sound systems, the list was quite endless.
Many moved to adding edibles to their landscapes. Whether it was with fruits and berries or vegetables, raised square-foot boxes were popping up in every sunny spot available, with the hope and interest of this year’s harvest. A great teaching opportunity to introduce children to the experience and rewards of “grow your own”. The result of all these new gardeners was that demand soon exceeded supply. Anything edible was pretty much consumed by the end of June. If you thought finding toilet paper was difficult, try finding a plum or apple tree, and if you were looking for a specific variety, good luck.
Demands for almost anything outside became the new shortage: plants, decking and fencing materials, paving stone, irrigation parts, barbeques, bicycles, anything for the outside was added to the almost endless list of items that become difficult, if not almost impossible to find when you wanted it. The impact of all these shortages hit both the DIY homeowners and contractors alike, there was no discrimination of who couldn’t get what they wanted, when they wanted it. For contractors, some manufacturers were projecting 8- to 10-week lead times; imagine how hard it is to estimate the materials you’ll need 8 to 10 weeks from now, when you can’t tell what the weather will bring tomorrow with any certainty.
As a result, many contractors fell further and further behind as the season progressed, leaving a lot of work to be carried to 2021. My prediction for 2021, if you’re planning on making any kind of changes to your home or yard in 2021, I’d encourage you to start booking sooner than later. Some contractors are already booking into June . . . June 2022. A good problem to have for contractors, but still a problem.
Stay well, stay healthy, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and practice social distancing when asked to. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy 2021.
Keith Lemkey is owner of Lemkey Landscape Design, award winning landscape designer and contractor. Chosen one of the top four landscape designers in Canada