The push for eco-friendly gardens is in full swing as we become more aware of the effects our habits have on the planet. In our industry, this can directly result in how products and plants we carry are no longer relevant, and what we need to keep in stock to meet these “eco” demands.
Here are some pros and cons on how a recent trend towards reducing lawns in the landscape will affect our businesses, now and in the near future.
Lawns are Shrinking
Having a perfect lawn, free of weeds and blemishes, is considered an eyesore to the eco-minded consumer. Dandelions are regarded as flowering friends to bees. Lush green lawns are frowned upon during times where water restrictions are being enforced.
Neighbors are not looking at pristine lawns with envy anymore. They are perceived as a sign of "cheating" while everyone else is trying to play by the rules. The once-picky homeowner with the meticulously-groomed lawn is no longer setting the neighborhood standard, but is instead being judged as that guy on the block.
Understanding the changing mindset of consumers and how their choices may be driven by social pressure means we have to adapt the way we sell at our garden centers.
Grass seed is a top-seller for most garden centers. Take stock of your inventory and how some seed options may be more "eco" than others. Drought-tolerant and disease-resistant options are a couple of things to consider.
Offer tools that pull weeds without chemicals. Lawn torches are effective in weed control.
Some old school gardeners will push back, claiming that organic methods simply do not work. Truthfully, neither do harsh chemicals. If they have to keep coming back season after season to buy more, are they really working? Both are temporary methods of control; one takes more time, while the other causes more damage to the environment.
Take this opportunity to create a workshop or class on how to minimize lawn in the landscape.
Reducing our addiction to lawns means more opportunities to choose natives to take up space in the garden. The case for native plants is obvious here! Think of ways you can promote these plants using this spin to increase sales in this category while sales in lawn supplies recede.
Learn more about this topic in this article we found in the news; A native plant guru's radical vision for the American Yard. Doug Tallamy, author of 'Bringing Nature Home, ' shares his views on the effect of lawns in our landscapes. It's worth a read.