Garden Centre Retail magazine hears from Chris Hopkins, commercial director of Turnbull, for his expert opinion on what to stock within a garden centre.
Before guests and potential buyers have even stepped foot in a home, their impression is being shaped by a property’s curb appeal. A home’s frontage has an immediate impact on people, so curb appeal cannot be understated — but improving it doesn’t necessarily mean expensive renovations. It means making sure a home’s outdoor area is up to scratch and well maintained, so it looks picturesque and accessible to guests and passers by.
Some polishing and trimming may do some good but, sometimes, homes need specific touches and certain items to do the job. So, if a garden centre knows what improves a curb appeal and what homeowners need to buy, they know what they should be stocking.
Bearing in mind that curb appeal starts from the street, you need to consider all components of a home’s front exterior. This means lawns, plant life, driveways, pathways, lighting, doors and windows all come into play. Every little detail counts and plenty of attention is needed for consumers to adequately address the issue — so stocking some of the products below at a garden centre makes plenty of sense.
Outdoor Greenery: Lawns, Hedges, Plants and Flowers
The first component to play a part in dictating the influence of curb appeal is the greenery that surrounds a property. Hedges and lawns have an overwhelming effect on curb appeal, but there is a fine line between attractive greenery and a neglected, overgrown frontage. Trees and overgrown lawns that shroud a home’s features are uninviting and hinder the attractiveness of a home
Tools and information for keeping these features up to scratch should be made available at every garden centre. That means the usual suspects: the latest secateurs, shears, trimmers, chainsaws and spring tine rakes, but also specific instructions on pruning and lawn care; for example, information that outlines the different upkeep requirements of a rose bush and an olive tree.
Lawns need to be kept as green as possible to avoid looking lifeless and draining colour from a property. Knowing how to care for a lawn is essential and a strong range of fertilisers, sod, mulch and non-chemical products to care for weeds and moss must be stocked. Items such as MO Bacter Organic Lawn Fertiliser control moss whilst feeding the lawn, negating the need for scarifying. A good selection of mulch is important; surrounding trees and bushes with dark mulch gives a rich feel to the home. It provides areas of a property’s frontage with striking borders and healthy-looking soil.
A must for any garden centre is a range of flowers, plant pots, hanging baskets, garden planters and flower boxes. It’s easy to assume that many people shop for plants and containers online in the digital age we live in, but 95% of consumers are coming in store wanting to buy outdoor plants, looking to get a real feel for the flowers, plants and containers.
Well-presented flowers and plants are an easy, cost-effective way of boosting curb appeal — but it is not just the plants that matter. Whether they are located along the path or framing the door, stocking quality pots, baskets and planters is a must. Ceramic and terracotta pots, for example, will add colour, character and class. They have a hugely positive impact on curb appeal, far superseding cheap plastic pots.
Looking After Driveways, Paths and Patios
Any paved area can have a remarkable influence on curb appeal and the value of a property. Driveways, paths and patios can stand out to buyers onlookers, so they need to be well-maintained. Items for cleaning and maintaining paving and driveways are a clever item to stock. That means a wide selection of grout, polish and sealers should be displayed, alongside reminders that customers should care for these areas.
Of course, not everybody has a paved driveway, so you need also consider alternatives. Gravel is a common replacement and townhouses with less garden space have tiled paths. These tiled pathways, however, often become damaged, so stocking tile restoration kits is another smart move.
A very effective way of boosting curb appeal is by installing border edging. Edging gives paths, driveways and flower beds an elegant and organised look. Materials such as bricks, pavers and stone are best for this, so they’re worth stocking alongside instructions on how to lay garden paving.
Doors, Windows and Entryways
Windows and doors will always be key features of a home. They’re something that visitors will pay plenty of attention to and can say a lot about a home’s character. When thinking of stock that can improve curb appeal, items that flatter maintain the quality of doors and windows are definitely worth considering. Upgrading an outdated door knob, door lock or door handles, for example, can have a significant improvement on your overall curb appeal.
House numbers and names also have a big influence on the perception of a property. Faded numbers or a rusty house sign do not go down well, but new and gleaming home names and numbers certainly shall. Kits for door and window hardware rejuvenation should be stocked, like tools and metal polishing equipment, but you may also want to consider stocking new names and numbers themselves.
The front door should look accommodating and welcoming, so products that decorate an entryway and make it feel homely will go down well with customers — a selection of door mats, for example. A variety of wreaths will also be useful, especially during festive periods. Both doormats and wreaths make entryways feel more inviting and consequently boost curb appeal.
The Importance of Outdoor Lighting
A property’s curb appeal is meaningless if the home is not easy to see at all times of the day. Effective outdoor lighting for properties is imperative. Illuminating an entryway after dusk improves curb appeal by creating a safe and inviting atmosphere. Lights leading up to the door and around the garden emphasise the landscape and any prominent features in your garden, providing a calm and inviting ambience. Door lighting fixtures and solar lights are two essential items for improving curb appeal and definitely worth stocking. Solar lights are easy to install and don’t require running electrical cables from inside the home. They’re easy to insert into the lawn or garden and are brilliantly versatile.
Chris Hopkins is the commercial director of Turnbull — one of the leading suppliers of building and trade products in the United Kingdom. Chris has been helping people create beautiful outdoor spaces for forty years and knows all there is to know about home and garden improvement.