2024 State of the Industry Q+A: Keith Bowman, McHale Landscape Design

Keith Bowman, president of horticultural services and business development at McHale Landscape Design, gives his take on the current state of the green industry.

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Keith Bowman, president of horticultural services and business development at McHale Landscape Design, provides his thoughts on the current state of the green industry.

Green Industry Pros: How would you describe the current state of the landscape industry? How did 2023 go for your company?  

Bowman: McHale Landscape Design had a strong 2023. A large amount of work carried over from 2022 provided a nice start for the company with continued strong sales throughout the year. Many of the projects were challenging but that’s a space we thrive in. This combined with our steadily growing maintenance division provided opportunity for all of our employees. We believe the current state of the Landscape industry is very strong. People appreciate green space more than ever. Additionally, our industry raises its professionalism each year. This is beneficial to all landscape companies. 

Green Industry Pros: What challenges did your company face this year? How did you contend with them?

 Bowman: One of the biggest challenges we face is people entering the work force. Colleges, universities and trade schools aren’t producing enough new talent. It’s not their fault, but it’s forced McHale Landscape Design to start growing employees. Every company in this business must promote the varied and fulfilling careers people can have in our industry. There are always people looking for a career change or are having a hard time deciding what they want to do. There is something for everyone in this line of work: creativity, logistics, horticulture, technology just to name a few.

Green Industry Pros: What successes/opportunities did you encounter this year?

Bowman: McHale Landscape Design has experienced a great deal of growth over the past few years. Our teams did a tremendous  job managing the huge workload. We are proud of the teams we have and their ability to process this work. It’s been a huge success, and it’s created confidence in our staff,  which in turn, breeds opportunity.

Green Industry Pros: What trends have you noticed within the industry? 

Bowman: 2022 was the year of the pool. Everyone wanted a pool during that time period. The demand for pools has cooled a bit but it’s still there. Overall, there is still trends toward outdoor living space. Clients want to extend their homes to the outdoors. We've received more requests for kitchen gardens lately. Some are quite elaborate and include structures. Greenhouses, she-sheds and we've even constructed a hen house.

Green Industry Pros: What are your expectations for 2024? What are your expectations for the next three to five years? 

Bowman: McHale Landscape Design chooses positivity. Next year is an election year, so there is going to be a lot of chatter. There could be a slight downturn heading into the spring but we feel like consumer confidence is still relatively high in our market, and we will rebound nicely as we head into midspring.

We do believe we will return to more of a “normal” growth pattern over the next three to five years. There is still a lot of opportunity out there but everyone’s going to have to look a little bit harder. We believe the future is bright, but opportunity won’t be coming as easy as it has.

Green Industry Pros: What's your top advice for other landscape professionals going into 2024? 

Bowman: Review your processes on a regular basis and don’t be afraid to change things that could be more efficient. Sometimes a painful change can really pay dividends if you're patient. Also, invest in your employees. All strong companies rely on well-trained and developed employees during good times and bad.  

 For more on the current state of the industry, check out these articles below: