South Shore landscaping demand grew rapidly during the pandemic

QUINCY – Jack Paleczny and his fiancée, Ariel Campbell, moved into a small house near Quincy Bay in the summer of 2020. 

They’ve enjoyed their new home so far, especially the spacious backyard for their two dogs to run around in. However, the lawn in the back remains a work in progress. The grass died despite their effort to maintain it, and mud is constantly covered in paw prints.

“We’re just not sure what to do,” Paleczny said. “We planted the seed before, but it didn’t really help.”

The couple said they plan to call a professional landscaper to redo their yard, and they’re not alone.

Over the last two years, landscaping has been the most popular home project in the state.

“2020 was my best year in business,” said Romulo Pereira, the owner of Braintree-based P&C Stonework & Landscaping. He said his profits have grown about 60% in the past two years.

He attributed the boost to people moving from the city to the suburbs and spending more time at home.

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There was a 27% increase in South Shore home sales between 2019 and 2021, largely due to the high demand for single-family houses during the pandemic.

Paleczny and Campbell said they decided to move to the South Shore from Boston when they started to work from home, looking for a place to live that had more space both inside and out. They said the pandemic and shift to remote work made them less worried about the commute.

After moving in, the couple worked on their flower bed in the front yard. Campbell planted roses and hydrangeas, which bloomed happily last summer. 

Still, they were not completely satisfied with their front porch and walkway. Recognizing that it was out of their skillset, they called a landscaper last year.

“Looking at your home every day, more so than you normally would, makes you want to improve it and make it nicer,” Paleczny said. 

The couple waited about three weeks for a landscaper to come and the job took less than a week to finish. In all, they spent more than $3,000 on landscaping in front of their home.

According to online project finder HomeAdvisor, landscaping projects can quickly turn pricy. Curbing around gardens and walkways costs between $700 and $1,700 per project in Massachusetts, followed by sod installation between $1,000 and $2,700. Hydroseeding can cost up to $4,000 per lawn.

Pereira said the greatest challenge right now is ordering the materials he needs. Some of his projects have been delayed because his supplier is out of stone and fences. 

Stephen McDonough, of Quincy’s Stephen McDonough Landscaping, which has been in business for 35 years, said a lack of enough workers cut into his profit growth during the pandemic. 

He employed about 10 people before the pandemic, but now he has only six. He had trouble finding young employees especially, he said, and it has limited the number of jobs he can do.

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Pereira said he is optimistic that 2022 will be a good year as well. April and May are his busiest months, he said, and a long string of people call in for help to mow the lawn or to make their front yards looks good before family and friends visit.

“You can see new construction everywhere,” Pereira said, and new homeowners are eager to start projects. 

Paleczny said, “About once a week, we walk by (our front yard) and say, ‘This looks so good! It looks so much better.’ ” 

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Reach Hongyu Liu at 

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