It’s officially summer. Plants and flowers are blooming; porches, patios, and outdoor spaces are opening under unfurling umbrellas and awnings; and up and down your block, lawns and yards are coming to life. 

However, and to no one’s surprise, how people are landscaping and caring for their lawns has dramatically changed from this time last year. 

While the number of people who take care of their own lawn has been consistent during most of the last year and a half, April initiated a decline. By June, the percentage of people who cared for their own lawns themselves was 14-percentage-points lower than it was three months prior. During the same timeframe, a rise in hiring professionals and local amateurs both increased.

And speaking of lawn care, in order to control weeds and pests, most people (36%) don’t use any special products, while one-third (33%) use chemical products.  

And this preference breaks down along income levels in perhaps surprising ways.

People in higher-income brackets prefer the common chemical products, while lower-income groups show greater preferences for eco-friendly or organic products.

The Gen Pop 18 and older also reports a tendency to use the natural soil in their yard when planting, rather than any additive component. Thirty-seven percent of respondents stick to natural soil, while a surprising amount of people (21%) use composted soil, followed closely by organic options (17%). 

So despite a tendency to use chemical products instead of eco-friendly or organic products for weeding, when it comes to growing, they lean towards organic and composted options.

Lawn & Garden Aesthetics

Overall, 41% of the Gen Pop idolizes one particular aesthetic: healthy, green grass.

However, sentiment may be shifting away from green lawns, at least in some areas. Green grass takes frequent watering, and depending on the size of the lawn and its geographic region, it can require a lot of water. Drought-stricken regions, such as Las Vegas, have begun to take steps limiting this use of water

And the data show that the Gen Pop is overwhelmingly supportive of these kinds of measures.

This sentiment is consistent across income groupings, but is wildly varied across age.

Perhaps, younger populations don’t have lawns or yards to worry about issues of water conservation, but the difference between the youngest and oldest age groupings is still fairly stark. 

Regardless, when we cross this sentiment against landscape aesthetics we see that those who oppose this kind of restriction are those who prefer green lawns. 

Those who support these types of government measures correlate with those whose prioritize natural, regional plant life and flora, as well as vibrant plants and flowers around their yard. 

Concern About the Environment

Ultimately, lawn care, like many other things these days, comes down to concern about the environment. 

CivicScience has tracked environmental concern for some time, watching it rise to unprecedented heights at the end of last year, only to steadily drop since then. The most recent increase of concern could be a typical response to summer weather events, such as hurricanes and wildfires. 

Looking at lawn design, we see that 60% of the population reports that the environmental sustainability of their lawn care is at least somewhat important. 

But, compared against aesthetics, we see interesting breakdowns. Despite a large number of people reporting environmental sustainability as important in their lawn care choices, that sentiment is more present among those who prefer natural flora and fruit-bearing plants in their yards. Those who appreciate a green lawn, meanwhile, are some of the least likely to place importance on environmental sustainability. 

This presents an interesting contradiction, or potential opportunity, for the lawn care industry (a nearly $100 billion dollar industry in 2019): Those who prefer classic, green-grass lawns care the least about the environmental sustainability of their lawns, but also tend to be the highest-income earners.

While two-thirds of high-income earners, report being at least somewhat concerned about the environment, they have the greatest concentration of those saying it’s not at all important. 

While not as prevalent a trend as among lower-income earners, 66% of high-income earners represent a significant amount of purchasing power for lawn care and landscaping industries. 

Environmental concerns in the landscaping and lawn care industry is a complicated subject for a lot of consumers, but trends clearly demonstrate customers becoming more and more aware and concerned about sustainability, especially in the usage of water for their outdoor spaces. Businesses looking for new opportunities in a post-pandemic demand for landscaping and lawn care, can definitely benefit from incorporating eco-friendly and sustainable practices in their models, even among some of their most pro-green lawn customers.