A novice’s first Texas Nursey Landscape Association Expo

To our current and prospective clients, my name is Alex Gustafson and I am the Marketing Coordinator for Land Patterns. I am a novice to the industry. I attended the Texas Nursery Landscape Architecture Expo (TNLA) the weekend of August 10th to the 12th in Dallas to further my knowledge of the industry.


For most newcomers to the industry such as myself, we believe that the process of landscaping takes a week at most. Oh, that is far from true. Maintaining a landscaping business involves not only meeting with existing clients to discuss the state of their project, but also determining whether or not a person is our “ideal” client as well as contacting a subcontractor to determine their possible role in a project.


When prospects (“potential client”) compare landscape companies, many initially are comparing prices between a business and its competitors. In his presentation “Implementing a Strategy to Maximize Profits and Cash Flow”, Steven Coughran said: “People buy the why not what.” I interpreted this statement to mean that the prospect or client is seeking a firm with a strong message as well as a quality product. Both of these factors form a strong business.


Many novices to the landscaping business believe that men in their early to mid- 60’s are in positions of power at landscape companies, which is largely true. During a lecture by Charlie Hall of Texas A&M University, entitled “Bridging the Generation GAP: A Change in Industry Equals a Change in Mindset”, Mr. Hall identified two generations: Baby Boomers (b. 1946-64), who “live to work” and the Millennial generation (b. 1981-99) who “work to have fun and make a difference”. Even with these generational groups identified, the question is: What interest if any is there from the 18 to 25- year age group in the landscape/construction industry? This question was answered in a presentation by Steven Coughran entitled “Implementing a Strategy to Maximize Profits and Cash Flow.” A National Association of Home Builders survey showed that 43% percent expressed no interest, 21% wanted a $100,000 salary to consider entering the industry.

However, the remaining 36% percent reflects a possible interest in the industry. This 36 percent is a sliver of hope that the Millennial generation could take over one day for the Boomer generation that built the industry.


Simply put, the landscape industry is challenging. To understand it as a whole a basic understanding of landscaping, math, marketing and business concepts is needed.

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