I once wrote an article on starting a tree nursery as a business idea. One of the possible focuses I mentioned under that was ornamental trees (or even plants). Ornamental vegetation is highly sought after by landscapers. One of the most common examples is the palm tree. Anyways, this is all pointing to our subject matter today. Let us explore doing backyard makeovers as a business idea. Backyard makeovers are what you commonly know as landscaping. There is vast untapped potential in this line of business in Zimbabwe. The tide is no longer like what it used to be back then. Back then, it used to be most common in affluent neighbourhoods only, not anymore.

Key Approaches

This type of business will appeal to most low to medium-density households. This will be so particularly for those with substantial yard sizes to even have a backyard. Client scenarios will also differ, e.g. recently moved in (renting), recently moved in (purchased house), or actually built the house. Whatever the case might be, the approach will mostly be the same. The clients’ needs will inform what you will have to do. You would have to establish that first and then input your professional guidance. Thus the starting point will be to establish the client’s vision and circumstances for the intended makeover. For example:

Understanding who typically uses the backyard – adults, children, pets, and so on?

Knowing how often the backyard is used.

Getting to know the key activities carried in the backyard – gardening, entertainment, and so on?

Having an idea of what is currently there. This can also entail any indications of what must not or can be changed during the makeover. Examples of such elements would be vegetation, structures, and the like.

Are there any present issues that need to be addressed? For example, there can be overgrowth, the terrain can be too steep, or it can be too exposed (i.e. lack of privacy). This is just the tip of the iceberg when considering the possible present issues needing attention.

I just wanted to paint a picture of how the starting approach is more or less similar for any client you will deal with. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of what the client wants, you can set the ball rolling.

After establishing a client’s needs, you will need to come up with a design plan. This will be instrumental in knowing what and how much is needed. Costing is of great importance before starting the actual makeover or remodelling work. After all, how can you even bill your client without knowing what the work will entail in detail?

Key Requirements

I understand that doing backyard makeovers is something one can learn by themselves from scratch. However, that can limit the extent of your capabilities. You will be ill-equipped to handle more sophisticated backyard makeover gigs. That is why you would do well to enrol for certification courses related to this line of business. This will also build your brand authority and cause you to appeal more to clients. Examples of such courses can be Landscaping, Interior Design, and many more. You must understand that the field of backyard makeovers entails many specialist areas.

For instance, stonework, building, woodwork, paving, and plumbing are involved. Understandably it is a long shot for one to undergo training for all. That is why at times, outsourcing or subcontracting may come into play. You will need the relevant tools and machinery for your niche or a gig in question. At the most basic, you must have hoes, spades, shovels, planters, trowels, wheelbarrows, personal protective clothing, grass cutters, and the like. It is worth highlighting that you must have considerable knowledge of vegetation, e.g. ornamental plants such as flowers, shrubs, and the like.

Market Dynamics

You need to do thorough market research to identify a viable market correctly. You also need to find out if there are other players already operational. It would be useful to know the nature and prices of their services. The thrust is always to find loopholes or gaps you can capitalize on. The best game plan is to start relatively small and scale over time. This will keep costs minimum and manageable as you develop and cultivate your clientele.

Important Considerations

It is imperative that you register your business. You must also make sure you get insured. You must be particular about your standard operating procedures (SOPs). Doing backyard makeovers is characteristic of dealing with the potentially hazardous material. For example, these can be chemicals or pesticides. Some ornamental plants, even general weeds, can be harmful if incorrectly handled. As a business, it would be advisable to have solid SOPs. Give fair warnings to your clients of any of these dynamics that they should be wary of.

I know of many people in Zimbabwe doing backyard makeovers on a general scale. They, at best, refer to their gigs as piece jobs; but there is more. They can structure their hustles into proper businesses and appeal to bigger and more lucrative clients. There are also those with requisite skillsets but have not thought of this business line. It is high time you consider venturing into backyard makeovers.