Greenhouse Canada

Features Business Retail
Celebrating the Outdoors

June 15, 2010  By Michelle Brisebois

As we fuse our outdoors with our indoors, home décor solutions become a
bigger opportunity for garden centres. You may have resisted adding a
home décor section to your store to avoid losing focus on your core
business – plants.

As we fuse our outdoors with our indoors, home décor solutions become a bigger opportunity for garden centres. You may have resisted adding a home décor section to your store to avoid losing focus on your core business – plants. That’s a valid point but when implemented properly, a complementary accessory program is all about facilitating sales of the core product line. Just make sure all of your décor items are plant-centric and you will see exponential success at the cash register. Here are a few key trends that may link beautifully to your product line.



The return of the front porch
Many new homes are being designed with large porches. The National Association of Homebuilders in the U.S. says 53 per cent of new houses had porches last year, compared with 42 per cent in 1992. The front porch is the transition area of the house and a place to sit and watch the world go by. Container gardening is key to a beautiful porch as are wicker chairs, planters, wind chimes and outdoor area carpets. Set up a beautiful display at the entrance to your garden centre to help the customer visualize what their porch could look like.


Garden art
Garden art is big – especially garden sculpture, and particularly metal sculpture. Legend has it that gazing globes gave witches a glimpse of their own reflections in Victorian gardens, scaring them away. Modern globes are illuminated with solar power and will provide evening accents for starlight entertaining on the patio. Many budding artists are repurposing household items such as old work boots, wheelbarrows, and bicycle baskets to double as containers for flowers so look for containers with more than one use. A trend that’s really taken root is one utilizing bowling balls mounted on pegs as garden accents. Meditation gardens are also big so add a little Zen to your décor program with an Asian gong or Canada’s iconic symbol, the Inukshuk, which became super trendy as the symbol of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.



The butterfly effect
Although the dragonfly is still quite popular, the current trend is beginning to shift towards the butterfly. A perennial favourite, the butterfly, with its fabulous colours, is adorning many products in 2010. Butterflies are also a very symbolic creature of regeneration and change; themes that are particularly relevant in today’s tumultuous times. Help customers create real butterfly sanctuaries with flat stones and small pools, which you can sell bundled with a garden plan for a turnkey butterfly garden.

There’s nothing more garden-centric than wearables designed to make outdoor activities more enjoyable.  Tilley Hats would make a great addition to your accessory program since presumably a comfortable gardener is one that will do more gardening, which is always good for business. There are 250,000 Tilley Hats sold in Canada every year and they are popular with both baby boomers and twenty-somethings alike. Gloves and gardening clogs may be great additions to your program as well.

On the fence
Walls and fences offer a great place to house outdoor décor and they often aren’t adorned. Look for weatherproof plaques and lighting that can be mounted to outdoor walls. An ornate trellis also offers up an interesting art piece, and can be complemented beautifully with a creeping plant.

Bottoms up
There are many lovely acrylic tumblers and wine glasses that are beautiful to hold and drink out of while remaining shatter-proof.  Govino shatterproof wine glasses are stemless, unbreakable and easy to handle because of their ergonomic thumb notches.  A customer who’s enjoying warm summer nights in their yard or on the porch with a lovely glass of wine will naturally want lots of landscaping and plants to gaze at while they’re kicking back. Beverage holders that stick into the ground are great alternatives to outdoor coffee tables and take up less display space.

Think year round
Garden décor isn’t just for summer anymore. Canadians want to eek out every moment outdoors they can so look for items that will fit into the fall and winter seasons too. Door wreaths that change with the season will keep customers coming in all year. Your wearable section could include warm blankets to wrap around chilly shoulders as customers enjoy those last crisp sunny morning coffees on their decks in the autumn. Garden sculptures made of twigs and natural materials can offer both beauty and resistance to weather shifts. Urns filled with evergreens and trendy decorations will drive traffic into the holidays. 



The irreverent gnome
Every gnome has its day and garden gnomes are becoming cool again – with a twist. Meditating garden gnomes, garden gnomes shooting a moon (and we don’t mean the celestial kind) and even garden zombies are garden trends highlighted by Gardens are a creative expression for the homeowner and yes that includes having a sense of humour so consider adding a little whimsy to your product line. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Garden centres can and need to become top of mind when it comes to beautifying one’s home. A garden décor-focused accessory program will help increase your average sale with impulse add-ons and it will encourage people to buy more plants. Choose items that pair with the plants and display them in appealing ways that encourage customers to picture themselves duplicating the arrangement. You’ll become more than just the place they go every Victoria Day weekend!

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