We added landscaping to our offerings last March. In the past, we had worked with outside landscapers, but we got to the point where we didn’t need to do that anymore. We have the people who can do it [in-house]. We had hired a landscape designer who was also a pool designer, so it started to fit [into our lineup], and we’re trying to expand that to increase our offerings to our clients.
We’ve always had a couple guys who had landscape architecture in their background. But they moved on like other people have. But when we hired this last fellow, he also was a landscape designer who had been installing landscapes the last five years, and he brought a couple people with him. That made it a lot easier to make the transition to adding a whole department. So far it’s been well received.
At this point it’s so new, so I’d say only 10 percent of our projects are landscape-only. The rest are all with our pool projects. But we’ve been able to keep the crews busy, so I think that shows there’s a pretty good demand out there for it.
It’s definitely added to the bottom line. The pool side of it is not too pretty, but this helped make it a lot stronger.
The biggest issue probably came in having our existing design staff start working with the new landscape designer to develop each client’s backyard. They had to get involved and do a little more planning as far as irrigation and drainage — things outside the pool deck — where before we just turned it over to somebody else. But we had a couple turn-key backyards where there was nothing there to start, then when we finished up, there was landscaping, a barbecue, outdoor kitchen... It hit everybody, including our existing sales staff that, wow, we did this in-house. And it’s a big boost in the energy around here.