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decorative garden products


“It’s a far cry from painting a shed”


Customers are putting their own stamp on their gardens now more than ever, and they are becoming an expression of art rather than a bog-standard patch of grass.


W


ith the majority of businesses in the industry encouraging customers to spend more time in


the garden, both to reap the physical and mental benefits of being in their outdoor space, and also to take the time creating an area they can truly feel is representative of themselves as individuals – decorative garden products are moving away from just your average gnome. Specialist paint manufacturer, Thorndown


Paint, produces water-based wood paint and peelable glass paint, of which Ben Thornborough MD of Thorndown Paint says: “Until Thorndown Paint came along the paint and wood treatment side of decorating gardens looked as boring and predictable as ever with the usual brands releasing yet more sub-categories in an attempt to look like they have come up with something new. We have brought true innovation and new ideas to the market that are very well received and so our growth of market share does not necessarily show us how the whole market is performing for everyone else. In general though there is a continued thirst for home consumers to invest in their gardens.”


Gardens are surely always about individualism;


Ben states “I’ve never known anyone say they want an exact copy of someone else’s garden. People take inspiration from many places but realisation is restricted by cost and ability.” Smart Garden Products’ managing director, Jonathan Stobart also notices the ease of updating and transforming the garden, but says it’s important to refresh and developing new lines to keep the customer excited: “There seems to be increasing appetite for decorative garden items and at the same time many decorative items may not have such a long shelf life comparted to traditional garden items so we’re focussed on developing new designs and extending ranges year on year. With so many visually striking options now to choose from, it’s much easier for consumers to stamp their own individuality on their garden space and also change it around during the year.” Ben adds his belief that simplifying the buying


process will lead to an increase in sales too: “We learnt that even garden designers are confused about what woodcare products to use where. Simplifying the purchasing decision has made it even easier for the gardener to concentrate on getting the colour and finish just as they like it.”


Endless possibilities


With greenhouses and glasshouses increasing in popularity as the rise of GYO continues its momentum in the industry, Ben says Thorndown’s Peelable Glass Paint has “transformed shading greenhouses and conservatories to the point that gardeners are now decorating them as works of art. One of my favourites has to be a Mondrian style


12 | www.gardencentreupdate.com


greenhouse that really added a work of art to a greenhouse that had been an unsightly winter store for garden furniture etc. Thorndown Wood Paint was used by an international artist to produce a mural of the Avalon Marshes with Glastonbury Tor in the background. It’s a far cry from painting a shed but it shows what can be achieved with some imagination.” In terms of trends, there is a lot more interest in the environment with growth in many areas including wildlife and preserving habitats. “Nowadays you don’t have to live in a tree to be an eco-warrior,” says Ben. “We produce our Peelable Glass Paint for greenhouse and glass shading from recycled plastic. And all our paints have minimal VOC’s so they minimise potential pollutants in the air.” Jonathan adds: “I feel it’s quite a vibrant time


for the gardening industry currently, although there is the spectre of Brexit hanging over the economy which may well have a dampening effect. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges ahead is how to reduce single use plastic and we’ve spent some time on this to find ways of reducing our own use of plastic where possible.” With the acquisition of Briers earlier this year, Jonathan says: It’s taken some time to fully absorb Briers into the business and “Smart-ify” it but we’re almost there and we will be launching a refreshed range and brand image this autumn. In fact alongside that we have our most ambitious programme of product launches ever at Glee with over 1200 new products in total, including a completely new range of pet products and extensions to all existing product ranges, all of which will fuel continued growth over the next few years.”


GCU July 2019


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