Editorial MArch/April 2005

March 30, 2005
Written by Anja Sonnenberg
For people moving into a new home this spring, it’s the beginning of a new adventure. Whether moving into an existing home or a newly built house, homeowners often have a long list of what needs to be done and what they want to change to make it their own.
Learn as They Grow

For people moving into a new home this spring, it’s the beginning of a new adventure. Whether moving into an existing home or a newly built house, homeowners often have a long list of what needs to be done and what they want to change to make it their own. Landscaping and gardening their new property is often at the top of this list – especially in the spring when the gardening bug hits. This can be a very daunting task to new homeowners. This is where your garden centre can be of assistance.

In busy Canadian cities where space is sold at a high premium, nothing is more precious to gardeners than their own private space. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the majority of Canadian households (57 per cent) live in single-detached homes, a proportion that has remained relatively stable for a quarter of a century. While they comprise over 80 per cent of the housing stock in rural areas and smaller centres, single-detached homes are less common in Canada’s larger cities, where land costs and residential densities are typically higher. Next to single-detached homes, apartments are the most common housing type in Canada, accounting for 27 per cent of all occupied dwellings, especially in Canada’s metropolitan areas.

As a garden centre, you have a unique opportunity to reassure new homeowners by offering them knowledge, advice, and the materials they need to start their gardening endeavours.  Many garden centres offer landscape design services, which enable homeowners to bring in photos, and leave with potential designs for their property.  Why not take it one step further and offer a homeowner open house?  Host an evening filled with seminars, demonstrations of products and yard maintenance projects, question and answer sessions with experts, composting 101, perennial gardening, water gardening – the possibilities are endless.  Your customers can learn as they grow.  Don’t forget to offer these open houses to apartment dwellers.  They may be have space restrictions, but don’t underestimate the popularity of container and balcony gardening.  By offering these seminars, your customers will confidently walk away with a cart full of plants and products.

Using a ‘learn as you grow’ approach with your customers, will enable you to encourage experienced and amateur gardeners alike to be fearless in the garden.  If you can offer customers quality plants, products, and expert advice, they’ll keep coming to your garden centre for all their gardening needs.

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