Gardening’s Value Proposition

May 31, 2010
Written by
While putting together our state-of-the-industry report for this issue, it was great to sit down and write about what bright opportunities lie ahead for garden centre retailers. At a time when many other sectors are suffering, you work in one that’s full of promise.

The housing sector is one of the areas our experts highlighted as a potential opportunity. Although both housing starts and residential housing resales are down, homeowners are still looking to landscape. A report by Deloitte & Touche LLP, commissioned by the Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association, finds that there is typically a two-year delay from the time someone buys a home to the time they begin digging up their yard. New homebuyers focus on the inside of the home and structural renovations first and then look to the outdoors. This means that people are still looking to add value to their home with your products and it’s up to you to reach out and capture this market.

Another trend with influence in this area is the staycation, and for Canadians, it’s still a reality in 2010. A survey conducted by potato chip company Frito Lay polled 900 people about their summer plans. Half of the respondents said they do not feel they can afford a vacation this year. This means that once again, much of your customer base will be spending more time at home and in their back yards. They will also be inclined to spend any extra money they’ve saved on improving their surroundings, especially if they discover it could pay off in coming years.

Look around at your garden centre. Are you selling the benefits of your products? Your customers know that a great garden and landscape can become the envy of neighbours, but are you telling them the financial implications? The CNLA’s Deloitte & Touche report suggests that simply adding a hedge to a property can add a four per cent premium to a home’s value and installing a patio brings this number up to 12 per cent. A landscaped curb can add a 4.4 per cent premium to the value of a property. In the U.S., the American Society of Landscape Architects recommends that homeowners invest 10 per cent of the home’s value in landscaping – share this statistic with your employees so they can in turn let customers know how much they should spend on their properties.

For those customers who aren’t looking to overhaul their front or back yards, point out how purchasing a flowering shrub, a fruit tree or a shade tree will benefit them in the long run. Unlike most products that depreciate over time, these are products that will grow in size and value. They’ll also help save money. On a sweltering summer day this stat will cool your customers down and send them rushing to your tree section: the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that one healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Similarly, the American Public Power Association says landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by 50 per cent when used to shade the windows and walls of a home.

If you really want to take advantage of the potential in the housing market, a good way to expand into the housing sector is to make contact with local real estate agents in your area. They can recommend you to a client who is struggling to get their home off the market and relay the benefits of your products and services. Another great place to get your name out is to local contractors and home building companies who can use your products to make their finished product look even better.

What are your products really worth? Your customers will never know unless you tell them.

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