As people prepare for their second COVID-19 summer, the increased demand for landscaping, grills and pools has not slowed down since last year.
With more people staying home amid the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, landscaping companies and those that sell outdoor recreation items like pools and barbecues say business is at an all-time high.
“Word travels fast and people realized they could not just call up and get what they want, they had to get in queue, so demand never slows down, especially over Christmas and February,” said Jay Murray, president of TLC Landscaping.
“It’s really never stopped.”
TLC Landscaping specializes in custom pools and landscaping design. Since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, Murray said business has gone up 50 to 100 per cent.
For some, Murray said it can be frustrating with many wanting a pool for their families to have something to do this summer but not being able to make it happen.
He said the wait to get a pool or anything done outdoors is so high, people are giving up on 2021 and asking about projects for 2022.
With the demand for projects comes the demand for supplies. Murray said the cost of materials is up 20 to 30 per cent in some cases, with the cost of wood sometimes four times what it was before the pandemic.
“Normally we order wood three days before but now we might order it three weeks in advance, extending the problem by trying to stay ahead of it,” he said.
Murray expects demand to go back to normal in 2022 with the price of projects possibly even dropping as the supply chain gets back to normal.
Jeff McColl, co-owner of Beachcomber London, said whereas before the pandemic an order might be delivered within a week or up to eight for a custom project, the standard is now eight months to a year.
Beachcomber London sells hot tubs as well as outdoor cooking equipment like grills, slow cookers and pizza ovens.
McColl said there has been a demand for everything they sell across the board.
“The grills lighten up in the winter, but we had more demand than you normally would in the off-season, and with the gazebos and hot tubs it’s stayed quiet steady where before the pandemic you had a peak season,” McColl said.
Because people aren’t going to restaurants as much or travelling, McColl said people have been more focused on improving their homes.
Instead of eating out, he said people are experimenting with cooking at home, and with that has come an increase in people buying things like pizza ovens, grills and slow cookers.
But with the demand for more outdoor recreation, McColl is cautioning people about not making an informed purchase.
He said in most cases these big-ticket purchases people are making will last 10 to 20 years, so people should still be doing their research to make sure the product they are buying is the right one, not just the first one available.