Top 10 Stories of 2023 - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Top 10 Stories of 2023

As December winds to a close, take a look at the top 10 stories for 2023. Trends and team-building topics were top of mind this year. If you missed any of these most-read stories, check them out now!

10) Team Building: Growing Your Female Workforce

You’ve probably heard the quote, “If you build it, they will come.” This quote is particularly true when it comes to creating a landscape company that women want to work at.

“We have made sure to create a professional atmosphere that is attractive to anyone that wants to be involved with a successful company,” says Mike Sanders, president of Crimson Valley Landscaping, based in Rockford, Illinois. “The contracting field tends to be more male-dominated, and we have made sure to keep our doors open to all genders and are focused on hiring more women to our team each season.”

9) Exploring the Biophilic Design Trend

Biophilia is the intrinsic human desire to interact with nature. Biophilic designs increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.

“The pandemic has brought a renewed focus on health and well-being, and many people are seeking ways to improve the indoor environment in their homes and workplaces,” says Paige Tisdale, a business developer with Dennis’ 7 Dees Urban Plantscapes. “Biophilic designs, which are known to have numerous health benefits, have become increasingly popular as a result. In particular, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of natural light and fresh air, which are key elements of biophilic design.”

8) Plant Palette Trends for 2023

2023 marks a new year and a fresh slate for new and old varieties of plants to rise in popularity. Suppliers weigh in on what they are seeing in high demand as well as what color schemes they predict will be trending with consumers.

“We also see really strong demand for tree forms of hydrangeas, rose of Sharon, and some other flowering shrubs,” says Jane Beggs-Joles, landscape market coordinator for Proven Winners, based in Dekalb, Illinois. “They’re a great design element, so if you anticipate using them for a project it’s a good idea to let your supplier know as soon as possible.”

7) Improve Employee Attendance with These Strategies

Poor employee attendance can be extremely detrimental to your company’s productivity as remaining crew members have to pick up the slack and you never know how much of your team will be present on any given day. 

Even if a handful of your employees are tardy, this can result in later starts to the day and projects not getting completed on time. Learn some of the strategies that other landscape companies have implemented to improve their employee attendance.

6) How I Do It: Implementing Crew Body Cameras

When you think of body cameras, you probably think of the ones police officers wear in the line of duty. However, this technology doesn’t have to be limited just to law enforcement.

Josh Wise, CEO of GrassRoots Tree and Turf Care Inc., based in Acworth, Georgia, started using body cameras for his crews back in 2020 after researching the different camera systems for about a year.

5) Technically Speaking: Don’t Commit Crape Murder

If you’re located in the South or have visited the region in late January or February, you’ve probably noticed a strange phenomenon where dormant crape myrtles are suddenly beheaded. Often, this well-intentioned but ill-informed practice stems from the belief it is necessary to encourage flowering in the plant. This is not the case.

Taking the time to talk the pruning shears out of your clients’ hands and demonstrating proper pruning techniques on your customers’ properties can slowly help turn the tide on the proliferation of this landscaping faux pas.

4) Self-Reflection: Are Your Employees Leaving for These Reasons?

Employees leave for various reasons, and some cannot be helped. They may need to relocate to a different state, or they’ve decided to retire. These are a natural part of life. However, if you are experiencing a significantly higher than normal amount of churn in your organization, it might be time to self-evaluate.

Not only can high turnover create quality issues, but it can also make it more challenging to hire if you gain a reputation of being an unsatisfying place to work. Check out some of the main reasons why good team members leave a company and consider if these might be the underlying cause for your issues.

3) Five Hot Hardscape Design Trends for 2024

The desire for outdoor living spaces that serve as an additional room for homeowners is not dying down, but the hardscaping that serves as the foundation for these areas is evolving.

“I’m seeing some different combinations of shapes and colors,” says Quinten O’Dea, owner of Q&A Landscaping, LLC, based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. “Some of these brands are introducing different shapes, whether they’re hexagons or diamonds or things like that. That to me really goes hand in hand with some of these newer modern houses.”

2) The Truth About ‘No Mow May’

Well, it’s finally May, and the newspapers and online forums are filled to the brim with articles telling you not to mow your lawn this month. For the pollinators, they say. Everyone is busy and no one has the time to look to see if this “No Mow May” thing is legit or not.

Except for me (you can thank me later). And what I found was worse than I thought.

1) The Agronomist: Cultivate a Healthy Lawn to Control Weeds

The very best pesticide of all is a healthy stand of vigorously growing turfgrass.

I have no idea who first said that, but I do know that it has been repeated often enough to become a fundamental maxim of our industry. If you do not adhere to the maxim, you can buy the very best products on the market, yet you will not be successful in the long run.

Do you want to have a story you want to share? Contact Jill Odom to be considered for a future article.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.