As Southwest Florida’s real estate industry slowly comes back to life, landscape contractors and nursery owners are seeing some green of their own. Recently, builders pulled 221 permits for single-family homes in Lee County, Florida.

“That’s good news for the green industry, since builders buy trees and bushes to landscape the new dwellings,” said Drew Smith, general manager of Soaring Eagle Nursery on Pine Island, Florida. He’s seeing an uptick in sales to landscape contractors who work for homeowners, builders and the banks that are taking back houses in foreclosure, spiffing them up and reselling them.

“If its bank owned, they’re going with as little as they can, of course,” Smith said. “They want a big bang for their buck. They will use a coconut or royal palm, maybe a few other trees, shrubs-- probably a $2,000 job.” An order for a privately-owned home might run as high as $5,000, he said.

This is good news for a landscape industry that saw many of its members drop out in the recession.