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Build Extra Revenue For Your Garden Center With Design Services

Check out how Roger's Gardens, Goebbert's Farm & Garden Center, Harder and Warner and Lowe's Greenhouse are helping their customers design beautiful gardens.

March 14, 2013

More garden centers are offering light design services, either in-home or in-store. Here's a peek into how four retailers are handling this service. See if any of these ideas may work for your garden center.

Roger’s Gardens’ In-Home Consultations

"The affluent emerging customer has a different expectation and service needs than the baby boomers. Gen Xers are more project oriented and less interested in dabbling. Their purpose in shopping is more often to complete a necessary project, not just to browse for products.

"For about a year now, Roger’s Gardens has been refining a home-consultation service. Currently, we are only offering this service verbally, through conversations with customers in our store. The one-hour consultation might be garden related, home-décor ideas, an interior plantscape need or another related project. If appropriate, our staff member will suggest an in-home appointment and discuss the fee, a portion of which could be credited back to the client.

"Consultations are not the right solution for everyone. But when they are right, they can be terrific for both the client and the retailer. We have found in many cases it is more efficient and productive to visit the client’s garden, home or business and tackle the project ourselves. Thus far, our staff has performed dozens of in-home consultations and are generating a sales average of almost $500 per visit."

— Ron Vanderhoff, Roger’s Gardens

Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center's Custom Planter Service

"There are a few services that we offer for our gardening season, but there is one in particular that we pride ourselves on — our custom planting service. The customer can either bring their planters to us from home or they can purchase new planters at our location to be planted. We take some time with the customer to discuss their custom planting project. We make sure to discuss plant exposure, the colors they like, the type of waterer they are as well as what they would hope to spend on their container. We feel we provide budget friendly custom planting from very economical to extravagant.

"In 2011, we saw a 30 percent increase in custom planting orders and decided that we needed to focus on what the customers were buying and what they were looking for. In response to this, for our 2012 season we expanded our custom planting department and decided to increase our numbers for our grab-and-go planters as well.

"After taking time to work through our numbers, we have seen an overall 21 percent increase in our Custom Planting Department which includes custom orders and grab-and-go planters. Our custom planting staff members were constantly planting pots or refreshing plants that didn’t work out so well in the mix."

— Holly Peterson, Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center

Harder and Warner's Landscaping Lite

"We target landscapes of every size and complexity. Our garden center offers a 'We Plan, You Plant' option where our designers create the plan according to the owner’s desires and the site conditions. The owner provides all of the labor and ends up with a professional landscape at an affordable price. On the other end of the spectrum, we create 'Portfolio Landscapes' fulfilling dreams of anything the homeowner or business can imagine. Then we add the touches they never envisioned!"

— Jonci Warner, Harder and Warner

Lowe’s Greenhouse and Florist's Garden Coach

Here’s how we promote our Garden Coach service on our website: “Do you want something more from your outdoor living space but you are unsure how to get started? This service may be what you need. Tour your garden with a landscape designer/horticulturist to evaluate how to get the most from what you have or how to make what you want a reality. A visit from the Garden Coach is the perfect first step for any outdoor undertaking; new construction, renovation of a tired landscape or a new home addition are all typical coaching candidates. For those of you who may want to save money and do-it-yourself, use the Garden Coach to get the job done just like the pros.