As this is my first article for 2016, I wanted to take this moment to sum up 2015 and talk about the year ahead for gardening enthusiasts and homeowners who enjoy their outdoor spaces.
2014 and 2015 saw a lot of Canadians in transition. Housing markets were up and down all over the country. Personally, it felt like we were getting settled for the next stage of our lives. Even if you weren’t looking for a new space to live, it was clear that homeowners were taking a closer look at their existing houses and making some big changes. The backyard became an opportunity for extra living space. Landscape companies were busy installing bigger decks and patios with more room for fireplaces and barbecues. We also saw a boom in vegetables, and growing your own food. Rising prices at the grocer and uncertainty in chemicals used by various countries shipping produce into Canada were both contributing factors in this movement.
So what is in store fore 2016? Here are my predictions based on 3 separate groups of homeowners that are moving in 3 different directions in their backyard spaces.
While the Boomers were the driving force in hobby gardening in the 80’s, their love for plants and all things growing hasn’t waned, unfortunately, the physicality of gardening is starting to take its toll. Boomers are reducing the size of their gardens and packing more plants into smaller spaces like containers and raised beds. Garden clubs and garden tours are seeing increased activity to satisfy the Boomer appetite for all things horticulture.
With or without kids, Generation X homeowners continue to spend on their homes as long-term investments. Creating luxury backyards remains high on their wish list. With big-ticket items like infrared barbecues and in-ground swimming pools, lots of money is being spent by this demographic in their outdoor spaces. Privacy, patios and pools will remain hot topics for this group as they look to up-grade their properties instead of purchasing summer homes or cottages.
Fairly new to the housing market, this group of homeowners continue to search for the holy grail of homeownership; the concept of living-off-the-grid. While not attainable for most, Millennials strive to have balconies and backyards where they can plant vegetables and put in solar panels in an effort to leave a smaller footprint. Urban chickens and beehives are popping up all around our cities as these homeowners skirt bylaws in their pursuit of a better quality of life. Composting and outdoor DIY has never been so popular thanks to this group as they flock to websites and magazines dedicated to homesteading and permaculture.
Whichever group you feel best suits your own goals for 2016, rest assured that you won’t be alone with more than 10,000,000 gardening blogs and websites on the internet ready to help guide your outdoor passions. (and of course…me too!)