Crate And Barrel and CB2’s Outdoor Living Ranges are getting an elevator with the online landscaping service Yardzen

Yardzen Landscapes feature outdoor living room furniture from Crate & Barrel

Rendered courtesy of Yardzen

On the heels of the coronavirus, the outdoor market, which according to all information has previously grown significantly, will get an additional kick afterwards.

Determining the size of your outdoor living space is complicated because it is more than just a category of products, such as: B. Plants, garden furniture, grills, lawn mowers or power tools.

Outdoor living includes gardening as both a discretionary hobby and a necessity for house maintenance, but much more, including games, eating, entertainment, and personal relaxation and wellness.

The National Gardening Survey is the closest to the market, covering the U.S. plants, seeds, fertilizers, soil improvers, mulch, chemicals, tools, pots, hand and power tools, and lawn care services market over $ 50 billion

However, this lacks the outdoor furniture market, which is essential for the outdoor eating, entertaining and relaxing of consumers. Globally, outdoor furniture is $ 19.2 billion and is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 6% by 2024 to reach nearly $ 24 billion.

Then there’s the $ 90 billion landscaping industry that designs and maintains both homeowner and commercial properties.

It’s a jumble of nets sure, but one that offers businesses tremendous opportunities beyond selling outdoor products to enhance the outdoor life experiences people need to get out of the stress and confinement of coronavirus .

Two such companies are Crate and Barrel and CB2 from Germany-based Otto Group, which sell products for outdoor living, and Yardzen, the first online landscaping service to customize outdoor spaces.

Yardzen co-founder Allison Rhodes-Messner

Yardzen co-founder Allison Rhodes-Messner

Courtesy of Yardzen

“As one of the most respected and established outdoor furniture retailers in the industry, Crate and Barrel know that their customers are increasingly looking for digital, expert-led design and shopping experiences that they can find where they are: online,” says Allison Messner, Co -Co the founder of Yardzen announced that Yardzen’s custom outdoor designs now come with Crate and Barrel and CB2 outdoor furniture to help customers achieve their design-inspired patio dreams.

While Otto does not report sales for its Crate and Barrel Group, which includes over 100 stores and franchise partners in nine countries with most locations in the US and Canada, it does report that 49% of the Crate and Barrel Group’s total sales come from online Purchases.

With its products showcased in Yardzen’s custom photorealistic 3D designs, Crate and Barrel and CB2 are now penetrating deeper into the primary target market for outdoor living: wealthy, self-owned millennials, also known as HENRYs (high earners who are not yet rich ) Ages 23 to 38 who want a custom look for their garden and patio but are unwilling or unable to pay the average $ 4,400 custom landscaping fee.

Making custom landscaping easy and affordable on the internet

Making professional landscape design online easy and affordable, Yardzen charges between $ 495 for a botanical package, including plants selected for the local growing zone, plant layout, and verified contractor in the area to do the heavy lifting, and $ 1,200 for a full yard design , including everything in the botanical packaging, as well as hardscaping and furniture tailored to the homeowner’s tastes, budget and lifestyle.

With the designs offered by Yardzen, homeowners can choose a DIY installation, use the contractor recommended by Yardzen, or use their own or a combination of both. The specified box and barrel furniture are also just a click away.

Messner tells me that she is surprised at the large number of her clients who use a contractor. But that’s because so many are opting for the full smorgasbord design that goes beyond plants to hardscapes, pergolas, patios, gas pipes, and outdoor kitchens.

“Interest in your outdoor living space is skyrocketing across the country,” she said. “Homeowners value their outdoors more than they do indoors. They would rather have a functional garden than a large, chic kitchen, which is an extension of people who value experience over things. “

Necessity is the mother of invention

Founded in 2018 with her husband Adam, Yardzen began after the couple had to rebuild their outdoor spaces in Santa Rosa, CA after the destruction by the Tubbs Fire.

“Our house miraculously stopped, but all of the landscaping was gone. I had never hired a landscape architect before. I thought they were not for me. I’ve always been a handyman, but with our loss we needed the help, ”she explains.

And then they had another shock. “I called a handful of companies and was completely surprised by the offers for the plan. The highest was $ 40,000 and the most reasonable was $ 10,000. I’ve learned that our experience isn’t unusual, ”continues Messner.

The entrepreneurial couple of tech Allison and Adam, the CEO of an electric utility, had no landscaping experience and decided they had what it takes to solve the shock of other homeowners’ landscaping with an online digital approach.

They brought in landscaping and horticultural talent and set up an online business backed by $ 2.2 million in seed capital. Originally geared towards a global market, they quickly realized that to run a successful landscaping business, they needed a deep horticultural expertise and knowledge of taste and available materials at the local level.

“So we decided to go back and start from state to state, ultimately covering the US and then looking beyond that from there,” she explains.

Today, Yardzen covers CA, OR, WA, TX, NY, NJ, and CT and plans to add three more states every few months through 2020.

Business model true to scale

Making sure they have the best nurseries to supply the planting and landscaping companies to install the plans is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

“We have a group of people we call our construction team, most of them ex-landscaping companies, whose job it is to find excellent contractors and to match clients with the right local contractor based on the contractors’ design style and expertise. The number of contractors is literally growing by the hour, ”she says.

Yardzen uses a similar strategy to match design talent to the needs of the client. In addition to the in-house staff of landscape architects, designers and horticulturists, the company uses an Uber-like model to sign contracts with qualified professionals who can pick up work outside of their area, which rewards them by expanding their design skills.

“The landscape industry is hyper-local. That’s why we build tools that landscape architects can use to quickly update plants and materials beyond their local bubble, ”she explains.

The technology allows Yardzen to connect all the moving parts of the design process, from satellite imagery of the courtyard to the 3D design and the client’s online profile, which indicates the client’s needs, goals and budget.

“We have a lot of software engineers dedicated to the technology that can scale this,” she says. “We focus on giving homeowners a fantastic experience that makes this process fun where it used to be frustrating, costly and time consuming. We are also focused on building this business model to scale. “

In this context, Messner exclaims: “We are very well positioned” and adds that web traffic to the Yardzen site has increased by more than 300% since the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders came into effect.

Outdoor life gets a shot in the arm

Even before the coronavirus, a survey conducted by the International Casual Furnishings Association in January 2020 found that 88% of 1,000 American adults surveyed were unhappy with their outdoor spaces, and 56% planned to buy at least one piece of outdoor furniture this year.

Millennials in particular are investing even more in their outdoor areas. 53% plan to buy multiple pieces of furniture, compared to just 29% of boomers. And for millennials, improving their outdoor spaces for entertainment (43%) and increasing the value of their homes (32%) are their main motivations.

Yardzen for the design and Crate and Barrel / CB2 for the facility bring these pieces together for the digitally indigenous millennials.

This is exactly the kind of innovation that Jim Feinson, CEO of Gardener’s Supply Company, needs most for the rapidly evolving post-pandemic outdoor living market.

“Only if we use current events as a catalyst for change, challenge old business methods, focus on new customers, experiment with our business models, and drive and share innovations in our industry, can we improve our industry prospects for the next year and in the future. ”

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