Earlier this year I attended the first Northeast Hardscape Expo in Providence, Rhode Island. If you were there, you may have seen me walking around the expo floor with my mouth hanging open. I probably looked the same at my first GIE+EXPO last October in Kentucky.

The truth is, I am in awe. As a newbie to this industry, every time I see the incredible examples of hardscapes on display — backyard patios, outdoor fireplaces and kitchens, the way materials can blend from inside the home and carry outside — the wheels start turning. Not only do I think about all the articles we can provide to help you grow your business and stay on trend, but admittedly, I also think of my own outdoor space at home in Birmingham, Alabama.

My husband and I have a modest, covered patio at the back of my home with a ceiling fan — definitely needed in the South — and some brightly colored furniture. We have some shrubs and Bermudagrass that’s hard to keep a deep shade of luscious green, especially toward the end of summer when our state inevitably experiences a drought. And that’s about all we have back there.

So, they’re looking for you. Make sure you’re the company that comes to mind first.

Needless to say, when I see the amazing work that you landscape designers create, I’m envious. I want more for my outdoor space.

And I am not alone. Last year, 73 percent of homeowners hired a professional to complete an outdoor project, according to a recent Houzz study. This year, that number is projected to be 63 percent — but as Houzz noted, that’s probably because people will start a project on their own, then need to call in reinforcements. So that number will grow, and that’s where you step in.

The trick here is making sure that homeowners think of you first. So how do you do that? Exposure. You have to be the company that comes to mind when a homeowner is thinking of an outdoor renovation, or needs rescuing from a DIY project gone wrong.

Being that company takes a combination of efforts: flyers left in mailboxes, monthly newsletters highlighting services you’d recommend, a social media presence showing off your work, a top-notch website that communicates all that you can do. Some of these items, such as newsletters, may sound like a waste of time. But, as LawnSite member JimLewis recently said in a thread on newsletters: “A newsletter [can] inform customers about products and services that you offer, that maybe they didn’t know that you offered. I find that if we don’t tell our lawn maintenance customers that we do other types of landscaping, they just assume all we do is maintenance.”

Another way to increase your exposure is to blog. Create valuable articles for your clients about trends in landscape design. Tell them how they can increase their curb appeal or upgrade their outdoor space to appeal to a homebuyer, if they’re looking to sell. According to the Houzz landscape design study, homeowners are looking for low-maintenance plants and those that are native and attract birds or bees. Information like this — being in the know on these trends — can mean the difference between making a sale or not. It can make you the first company potential clients think of.

Houzz found that when renovating homeowners are looking to complete outdoor projects, they look to hire:

  • Landscape contractor: 34%
  • Landscape architect or designer: 34%
  • Stone, pavers and/or concrete specialist: 32%