Going from Lawn Maintenance to Landscape and Design

 September 29, 2017

One of the best ways to grow your lawn maintenance business is to expand your services beyond mowing and maintenance. These days, people want more out of their yards than just basic greenery—they want an outdoor living space, an extension of their homes that they can enjoy all year round.

That’s why so many lawn care professionals are including landscaping and garden design into their list of services. If you’re interested in helping people plan and plant their borders, here are some steps you can take to get started.

Learn Your State’s Regulations

Lawn maintenance and landscaping may be treated differently by your state, so check whether you need additional business licenses or have to be certified. And check with your city, too; they may also have regulations you should be aware of.

Fill in Your Knowledge Gaps

If you know a lot about trees, shrubs and other plants, but don’t have a lot of experience with design, it may be a good idea to get some basic training. Many community colleges offer certificates and associate’s degrees in landscape design, so check the ones in your area. Another place to check for short courses are local botanic gardens; they frequently offer certificates and weekend training workshops on select topics, especially planting. And university extension programs may also be a good source of training.

Connect with Others

Consider joining a professional organization like the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). Professional groups are great for networking, providing continuing education, and if they offer referrals, can be a source of customers. The APLD also has a certificate program.

You’ll also want to make connections with garden suppliers, nurseries and people who offer special services, like tree removal. Since grading lawns, installing irrigation systems and building features like patios and retaining walls will require different equipment than lawn maintenance, you may need someone to rent machinery from until you can invest in it.

Start Small

Begin with smaller projects, like designing yards and patios and doing the plantings, rather than large, complicated projects like creating water features and terraces with retaining walls. As you grow in confidence, you can tackle new skills. Similarly, begin by offering services to your existing clients, then use those projects as examples of the type of work you can do. And be sure that you don’t focus so much attention on growing your new landscape design business at the expense of your maintenance services.