Image problem

From a business perspective, the landscaping industry tends to get a bit of a raw deal.


From a business perspective, the landscaping industry tends to get a bit of a raw deal.

Perhaps the problem is the gardening connotation, which conjures up images of a man hoeing in his back garden rather than multi-million dirham deals.

And yet, as anyone in the industry knows, the landscaping business in the Middle East is quite literally flourishing.

According to statistics cited by CMPi, organisers of the new Gulf Landscaping show that will take place in Abu Dhabi in November, there are an estimated 2,100 projects planned or underway in the Gulf valued at over US$1000 billion - and landscaping is estimated to be at around 10% of the construction cost.

The growth of the industry is spurred by two factors: first, the commercial landscaping contracts coming off the back of the development boom; second, the increased demand for residential landscaping services as a result of new laws easing up buying opportunities of properties to foreigners in the region.

Not surprisingly, the opportunities are attracting new entrants to the market but even this isn't putting a dampener on things. There's room enough for everyone is the oft-cited refrain.

The landscaping industry may have something of an image problem, but when it comes to raking in the dirhams, a gardener's world, it appears, is not such a bad place to be.

Michele Howe is deputy editor of Commercial Outdoor Design.

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