Garden Media Group Explores the Future of Gardening Post-COVID-19
Since the dawn of the millennium, Garden Media Group has looked into the crystal ball for future trends. And this year is no different. Celebrating 20 years, the firm’s 2021 Garden Trends Report, “The Great Reset,” offers a peek into what will be trending in horticulture in 2021 and beyond.
How the world will change post-COVID-19 remains to be seen. But Katie Dubow, president of the trendspotting firm, says one thing is for sure: We are in the middle of A Great Reset.
“I have seen a lot of positive responses from businesses during the shutdown, and they all have one common thread: Ctrl Alt Delete,” said Dubow. “This Great Reset is the biggest opportunity our industry has been given to reboot, recharge and rebuild. What are you going to do with it?”
Here is a snapshot of a few of the trends that will shape the future for design, build and maintenance firms, according to Garden Media Group.
The world watched as businesses shifted their supply chain from in-store to delivery and curbside pickup. To continue to succeed, these pivots need to happen more frequently and efficiently.
“Don’t keep to the status quo by repeating what you’ve been doing,” said Dubow.
Customers have been trained, perhaps by fire, to shop differently. They don’t need as many choices. Dubow says always opt for quality over quantity.
Additionally, people want more from their experiences, and they want them outdoors. “Take a look at what your business practices have been and continue to pivot repeatedly each season,” she said. “Promote the health and wellness benefits of being outdoors to your customers and potentially upsell more outdoor space.”
According to a new survey, the industry picked up between 16-24 million new gardeners during COVID-19, many under 35 years old. The survey also stated that the 35-44-year age bracket had the highest mean spending, $608, of all the age groups in 2019. Many in this group are raising a family, own a home and have an established career.
However, Dubow says that these new customers will not stay unless the industry can find a way to entice them. One way is to cater to the three things that interest this Backyard Aficionado the most: growing food, backyard activities, and wellness.
“With the surge of at-home cooking and the fear of food scarcity, many Americans have discovered the joy of homegrown food for the first time,” Dubow said.
The Backyard Aficionado is interested in reducing their lawn. According to a recent National Garden Bureau survey, 67 percent of respondents 35 and under shared that, while they want green grass, they also desire the rest of their yard to be planted with a wide variety of other plants.
Most importantly, the Backyard Aficionado is interested in reducing stress and increasing health and wellness. According to Dubow, simple ways to incorporate health and wellness from the comfort of home or nearby outdoor spaces have taken over as essential practices to maintain connections, release stress, and recuperate a sense of normalcy.
This trend spots a dynamic shift in the industry that will lead to greener societies and a return to nature.
“As cities shut down across the world, plants and animals began to reclaim human spaces. From coyotes on the streets of San Francisco to a resurgence of bees and rare wildflowers in the UK, we have the opportunity to rebuild better,” Dubow said.
Customers will want their backyards to be filled less with mulch and plants for simple decoration to backyards that co-create with nature.
Gardens are more than a human space because they are also an ecologically functional space, she said. In addition to designing beneficial landscapes, people want to put the FUN in functional.
“As people return to the comfort of their own backyard, they’re looking for ways to provide hands-on learning to keep their kids from getting bored and spaces for adults themselves to relax,” Dubow said. “Plus, they want to shrink your lawn, and plant and care for trees. You can be a leader.”
Turn Out the Lights
According to “Nature’s Best Hope,” a new book from Doug Tallamy, a conservation hardscape should be a priority for all. The number one way to achieve that is to turn out the lights.
“Did you know that lighting up the sky at night is one of the major causes of insect decline?” Dubow asked. “White light draws insects in all night long, exhausting them, making them easy prey for bats and birds. You can’t reverse insect decline by yourself, but if we each do our small part, we will enact change. Not only will we restore insect populations, but we will create the largest collective conservation effort in our history, and one that can—and must—succeed for our own good.”
Garden Media has published Garden Trends Report annually since 2001. The firm offers information about trends in various formats, including a free annual report and YouTube series. The 2021 Garden Trends Report is available for free download now.