Eye on the prize

Eye on the prize

Air Landscape looks to grab a bigger slice of the landscaping sector pie

St. John’s-based Airo Landscape Design Inc. is very a small part of Canada’s landscaping industry. But it has its eyes on becoming bigger.

The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association says the ‘green’ industry— one it says is comprised of thousands of locally-owned companies that grow, design, install and maintain plants and other landscape features—is worth $14.8 billion annually. That is a big number for a sector that doesn’t attract as much attention as the fishery, the oil and gas and manufacturing industries. It also illustrates the opportunity that’s out there for companies like Airo Landscape.

Andrea Rowe, owner and principal landscape designer for Airo, is going after that opportunity in what she describes as a “pretty competitive industry.” It’s focused on attracting business in Newfoundland and Labrador’s residential market, but she is looking to expand Airo’s horizons. It will certainly help that the company won an award for excellence in landscape design in the fall of 2017 at the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association’s 14th annual National Awards of Landscape Excellence gala. Airo placed first for its Bristol Place Garden project in Gander. It beat out 45 other entries in the category, and is the first Newfoundland and Labrador company to be recognized for its work by the Association.

Rowe is also part owner of Atmosphere Landscape Construction—the firm that builds the landscaping projects Rowe and fellow Airo designer Jennifer Olah (left) dream up. With a national award to show off and plans to grow, Rowe is hoping the momentum allows the company to expand into the commercial landscaping market. Doing so would diversify its client base and allow it to stretch its legs on larger, more complex projects. “The residential market is a big part of what we do,” Rowe says. “But commercial projects tend to be larger scale, with more people involved and lots of regulations to follow. We want to see the business grow and keep getting bigger projects.”

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