It has never been cheap to have your garden landscaped, but in recent years, the price of a garden transformation has gone through the roof. Although prices are rising, our team of landscape gardeners in Bury remain committed to providing the highest-quality gardens - as part of our do it once, do it right philosophy, we will never compromise on quality. We don’t want to charge you more to achieve your ideal garden, but there are many factors at play that are outside of our control, and unfortunately, it does not look like the situation is going to improve.

The impact of COVID-19 on the landscaping industry

At first glance, landscaping is one of the few industries to benefit from Coronavirus. The government forced us to spend more time at home to curb the spread of the virus. Gone were thoughts of a summer holiday; Ibiza was a distant memory of the old norm. Instead, everyone was couped up at home with little to do. So, with holidays cancelled and TUI issuing refunds, what did people use those newly freed up funds to achieve? We’ll let you take a guess.

Winner winner chicken dinner! In the immediate aftermath of the Government announcing the first COVID lockdown, our phone lines rang non-stop. It sounds like a good problem to have. We assure you, it wasn’t. As the world adapted to a new sense of normality, everyone decided it was time to show their property some TLC. Landscaping was the industry to see the most significant surge due to COVID-19; after all, if you can’t soak up the sun in Majorca, you may enjoy the 9.5 sunny days a year here in Costa del Bury in a lovely new garden.

The rapid increase in demand sounds fantastic from a company’s perspective; more work should equate to more money - and in a global pandemic, job security was a massive bonus in light of COVID-19. However, issues started to arise after a couple of weeks when resources began to run dry. Two-week projects became two months, and that was the best-case scenario!

With the global supply chain in a state of complete chaos, the landscaping industry almost ground to a standstill. Demand well and truly outstripped the supply available, and without the resources needed, our landscape gardeners in Bury could not complete projects. Some of the materials previously available for overnight delivery took up to 12 weeks to arrive, sometimes even longer than that. When we fast forward to the present day, even in July 2022, it’s safe to say that the supply chain has not fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic.

Everyone at Bury Landscapes worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, always doing everything within their power to deliver the best possible service. Operating a landscaping company was challenging because many customers expected the same level of service as during ordinary times. As much as we wanted to provide an exceptional experience, it was physically impossible because, despite every effort in the world, we could not get what we needed, where we needed it.

Prices started to increase uncontrollably

Everything was out of stock everywhere, even the basics - never forget the toilet roll fiasco! When there is such a shortage, prices always go up to curb the demand. In this situation, with supply so constrained, prices went up by unthinkable percentages. Unfortunately, this meant a garden transformation quickly became unattainable for many people as the prices made landscaping a luxury.

One of the most challenging products for us to secure throughout the worst of the pandemic was timber. The supply chain for wood is one of the most global in the landscaping industry. As borders worldwide started to close, moving this precious resource across the globe became significantly more difficult. The lack of wood in the United Kingdom caused prices to increase by more than 100%. Pre-pandemic, Cedar battens equated to £150 per linear meter, which rose to over £300 in 2020.

Coronavirus shocked the world, and the supply chain did not have time to respond. It was an unprecedented situation. Ramping up production takes time, resources and capital; if there had been some forewarning, the supply chain might have coped better. However, as global borders shut overnight, albeit some a little faster than others, nobody was prepared for the knock-on effect.

Ever Given vs Suez Canal

Sometimes unexpected and unavoidable situations arise that cause significant disruption to the landscaping industry. Let’s use when the MV Ever Given container ship got wedged in the Suez Canal as an example. Every day, approximately 12% of worldwide trade passes through the Suez Canal; as you can imagine, the blockage caused widespread disruption to the global supply chain for over a week. This may not seem like a long time, but when you have 12% of the world’s trade backed up. Our team of landscape gardeners in Bury had a dozen or so projects ongoing at the time and many of them ground to a halt.

When a significant issue arises within the supply chain, it can take time for everything to go back to normal. In the immediate aftermath of the incident in the Suez Canal, the market was incredibly volatile in the same way we experienced with COVID-19. Fortunately, here, the impact of this isolated incident was short-lived.

The war in Ukraine

Russia’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine is an issue of international concern with widespread global consequences (if you can, please donate to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund). In the weeks following the initial invasion, gasoline prices skyrocketed. As we have established, the landscaping industry relies heavily on a global transport network; thus, when gas prices increased, so did the haulage costs associated with getting these materials to us. Even for our Bury landscape gardeners, the day-to-day cost of running the company has increased, with a diesel tank easily exceeding £100. These cost increases must be factored into the pricing of all new projects; if you’re annoyed, blame Putin - we do!

In the past, Indian stone was the go-to choice for a patio; in recent years, outdoor porcelain tiles have quickly become gold-standard. The conflict in Ukraine has caused the price of porcelain to increase by up to 30%. Why you may wonder? Porcelain is a man-made product manufactured in a furnace. The highest quality porcelain comes from Italy, a country that is highly dependent on Russian gas. With the price of gas increasing and Russia’s threatening to cut the gas supply to Europe, the cost associated with running the furnaces has jumped tenfold.

Even worse still, Italian porcelain is made with clay, a resource that is supplied to the Italian manufacturers from Ukraine, the home of some of the best clay in the whole of Europe. As you can imagine, this caused significant issues, with all porcelain production in Italy stopping for a month. To combat the shortage of Ukrainian clay arriving in Italy, the companies responsible for producing Italian porcelain had to source a local supply of clay; this created a shortage and drove the prices of Italian clay up. As the cost to produce the porcelain tiles increased, so did the price to the end user.

Where does this leave the landscaping industry in 2022?

The world is in a precarious position, with various forces contributing to the increasing cost of living. Landscaping your garden is more expensive than ever, not because we are greedy, but because it now costs us more to build high-quality outdoor living spaces. None of our landscape gardeners in Bury is driving around in a Ferrari; we can assure you of that. It is a difficult time for everyone at the minute, we are all feeling the pinch, and here at Bury Landscapes, we are committed to looking after our people.

The only advice we can offer is that if you want to transform your garden, we recommend moving on with your project sooner rather than later. More cost increases are planned for later this year, making locking in your project at today’s prices seem like an excellent idea. If you would like to discuss the scope of your upcoming project with a professional Bury landscape gardener, you can request a consultation by completing our request form.

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