Since the beginning of the pandemic, gardens have become increasingly popular. A bastion protecting home owners from depression, they are a source of physical activity, a place of leisure, and a place to meet up with friends and family. Gardens have a great future! But how do sector professionals perceive this enhanced attachment for to outdoor spaces and what impact has that had on their jobs? We asked the finalists landscapers in the Carré des Jardiniers 2019 contest how they view this evolution.
“Getting back to nature and wellbeing” – Andre Bisaccia, Mainaud Creation
“We have never suffered from lack of work but the pandemic has boosted demand. People are looking for nature and wellbeing and everyone lucky enough to have a garden enjoys a breath of fresh air.
Last year, we had our doubts but Covid accelerated demand. Our order book is full for at least a year ahead but the real problems we face are neither activity nor demand but training and recruitment. Young people (and the not so young) are not enthusiastic about the gardening business. We just cannot get enough recruits although we’ve tried every conceivable way. We have to make our profession more attractive from middle school on and explain just how many and varied trades there are in landscaping!”
“Attitudes to landscaping are changing for the better” – Antoine Deltour, Les Jardins de la Scarpe
“I think the current crisis is a booster for landscapers because it shows to what extent gardens, parks and other green spaces are important in our society. Frenzy has been replaced by simpler moments during which people have spare time to fill and decompress. Gardens are places for joy, rest and relaxation combining family life and the pleasures of gardening.
Our company has really felt the impact and done everything it can to assist with this change. Surveys show that the French are very attached to their parks and gardens. Attitudes to landscaping trades are changing for the better. When a tree is felled, people protest because they know just how important nature is for everyone!”
“There is a psychological link between people and gardens” – Jerome Granger, Côté Jardin Dordogne
“In Dordogne in South-West France, we have noticed that gardens have recently become more popular. Sales in garden-centers and specialized stores are up – and so is business for all the landscaping and gardening trades. Demand has risen since last summer and today we have 3 to 5 new orders a week. Gardens fill a psychological need.
I am sure landscaping has a future but we need to train people differently to meet new demands and that can be a true challenge as most of us do not have the vocation to be trainers ourselves. We have a great effort to make in updating the subjects that schools teach as companies cannot provide the whole necessary knowledge alone. Over and above training young people, I have difficulties in recruiting the qualified personnel I need to assist me in my own job (design office) – design, cost estimates and site management.”
“A less consumption-oriented philosophy” – Laurent Gras, Jardins à Thèmes
“In the future, modern gardens will have to be more dedicated to growing plants and nature rather than to structures – less towards decoration, more towards a simpler, less complex, less consumption-oriented philosophy. Instead of importing stone from India or timber from Brazil, it is time for an eco-friendly reflection about the materials and plants we use. We need to make our customers understand why local materials can be more appropriate, even if they are not so pretty or robust.
This is even more important as since the pandemic supply logistics have become problematic. There are beautiful materials in France and our natural stone quarries have spare capacity.”
Even if gardens are increasingly important to home owners, landscapers are still facing problems – difficulty in recruiting, international supply breakdowns, which places local production at the center of the debate.
Do you want to get an overview of the evolution of gardens, the new challenges and how to make the most of these new opportunities? Come to Paysalia!
© Photos credits: Alexandre Moulard