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LC/DBM's Annual Survey 2011

Looking back at 2011, LC/DBM showcases the stories that readers were most interested in, as well as a look at the latest statistics from's 2011 reader survey. As 2011 draws to a close, we take a look back at the last 12 months to learn what were the major trends of the year, what were landscape contractors most interested in, and how 2011 compared to the year before in economic terms.

For those of you with a computer, is the largest landscape oriented database on the internet. With more than 16,000 articles, 14,000 product profiles, 7,500 vendors and 500 industry associations, pretty much anything you need in the landscape industry you can find at this rapidly growing website. In fact, on January 1st, 2012 will be getting a major facelift.

In the meantime, here is an interesting look back at the millions of pages viewed.

Internet Use

From 2010 to 2011, total page views grew by 320,000, a healthy 39% increase.

Products and Product Categories

For years, one of the primary reasons people visit is to search for products. When it comes to what website visitors were interested in regards to product and product categories, a general theme follows the trends set by these top Product Searches.
1. Pavers, masonry, blocks and rock
2. Light/electrical
3. Park and recreation
4. Outdoor living
5. Mowers
6. Water features
7. Water management/irrigation
8. Plant material, turf and trees
9. Site amenities
10. Wholesale facilities

The Most Viewed Vendor Profiles

In 2011 more than 1,300 Vendor profiles were viewed a total of 82,000 times, the top vendor profiles were ...
1. Superior Controls Co., Inc. (Automatic Sprinkler valves)
2. Southland Sod Farms (sod)
3. Belgard (paver and wall products)
4. Stepstone, Inc. (precast concrete for residential/commercial applications)
5. DIG Corp. (manufacturer of micro-irrigation products)
6. Pacific Sod (sod products)
7. Aco Polymer (modular polymer concrete)
8. Techo-Bloc (pavers, wall blocks)
9. Lely Corp. (broadcast spreaders)
10. GreenRock (recycled decorative rock)

Prospering In The New Economy

How to prosper in this economy was of interest to the readers. The number one (non-project) feature of all of 2011 was: Seven Big Mistakes To Avoid When Growing A Landscape Company by Mark Bradley, president of TBG Landscape.

The Projects of 2011

An interesting sign of the times is that the top viewed LC/DMB features were mainly smaller residential projects. To back this up, among the top viewed news items were those that dealt with getting the most from smaller spaces. The top article in this arena was, ''Vertical Landscaping: New Opportunity for Landscape Contractors.'' From the 20 most viewed project articles, the top four were residential. Of the 2011 Viewed Project Articles:

Top Viewed News Articles

Water saving turf grasses
Native plant choices
Rainwater collection
Synthetic grass

Digital Magazine Views

The following graph tracks LC/DBM's online viewers of the site's digital magazine. The most viewed issue was the March, 2011 Outdoor Living issue, followed by the January, 2011 Fences and Walls issue and the magazine's Annual May Buyer's guide.

The 2011 General Survey of Landscape Contractors

In 2011, LD/DBM surveyed several hundred landscape contractors across the United States. We think you'll find the following results enlightening.

Maintenance Equipment Leads The Way

A noticeable trend we recorded during 2011 was that landscape contractors were earning a larger percentage of their business through maintenance work. This trend was backed up by our survey results, which listed maintenance tools as the most owned equipment:

This makes sense, homeowners and business owners can cut back on new construction, but grass and trees need to be maintained regardless of the economy. The top viewed news story at regarding maintenance was, ''Sebastopol City, California To Ban Leaf Blowers.''

What's In Every Project?

So whether landscape contractors were enhancing their maintenance departments or cherishing their installation work, here are the top products you either installed, maintained or applied.

Optimistic Stability

From the general survey of landscape contractors, we find that business was more up than down compared to the previous year.

Survey respondents are also optimistic for 2012

A Quick Nationwide Snapshot . . .

From the national survey, an interesting profile paints the picture of an ''average'' landscape contractor. Where do you fall?

35% Worked in the industry more than 30 years
14% Worked in the industry between 11 to 15 years
1% Worked in the industry less than five years

Education Level is . . .

52% Bachelor's Degree
35% High School Diploma
13% Master's Degree

Workplace Is . . .

88% Work for Small Business
3% Work for Local Government
9% Other

Title Is . . .

49% Sole Owner
19% President
14% Partner/principal
9% Manager
9% Other

Installation, Maintenance And . . .

Payroll . . .

69% of companies have fewer than 11 employees - Up from 58% in 2009
4.3% of companies have more than 100 employees.

Revenue . . .

50% Billed less than $400,000
2% Billed more than $10 million

Projects . . .

What Part . . .

Trade Shows . . .

The survey also illuminated a few other interesting results, including which tradeshows landscape contractors go to.

The Landscape Expo Tradeshow

Are these demographics from the 2011 Landscape Expo, Long Beach, typical of your local event?

25.8% Owners
19.8% Partners
26.4% Superintendents/Managers
6.3% Foremen
21.7% Exhibitors

Associations . . .

The survey also reflected which associations landscape contractors belong to.

Reader Interests . . .

In 2011, the top article catagories by percentage were:

87% Features
67% Hardscapes
63% Industry News
61% Outdoor Living
55% Product Focus
50% Technology
48% Advertising
45% Legislative News
42% Vendor listings
37% Building Industry Statistics

Looking Forward . . .

According to Associate Editor for Ordinances, professor Buck Abbey, ALSA: ''2011 have brought the biggest changes to landscape codes I have seen in more than a decade. 2012 may see a continuation of the trend to including sustainable landscape design requirements within community landscape codes and perhaps even within the landscape codes of large private corporations such as Walmart.

The trend began with Homestead, Florida after Hurricane Andrew in the late 1990s. Soon followed by the green building movement in California leading to code revisions in the San Francisco Bay area and the very interesting and innovative Seattle Green code.''

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December 10, 2019, 6:57 pm PDT

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