Today I had the opportunity to attend the home & Garden Show and I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and answer some questions about it.
Over All Impression
A long line of cars greeted me when I arrived at the parking lot. I worried it’d be crowded. But as I got closer I realized there were two other events at the Expo Centre at the same time. The crowds were much more manageable after parking was paid for.
Parking cost $16 on top of the cost of the $16 ticket to the event. Tickets are regularly $16. But there are often 2 for 1 tickets or an online purchase price of $14.
I arrived at the show about an hour after it started for the day. It was difficult to get pictures without other people being in the shots. Otherwise the crowds were pretty small for the first hour.
The majority of people at the booths were very friendly. I almost bought a few things I didn’t need because the people at the booth were so friendly and I enjoyed chatting with them so much I didn’t want to say no.
I enjoyed the show. Talking to people about their passion is always interesting to me. I know who to work with based on how people talk about their business.
Even though I knew exactly what I wanted before I arrived, I should have planned my day more carefully to give myself more time for everything I wanted to see and do.
Is It a Child Friendly Event?
My children don’t like these shows, especially large scale events that take hours to get through. They get bored. Children of all ages whine, older children get rowdy, smaller children wander. The show is crowded with many places a child can easily get lost.
Ellerslie Gift & Garden have a silent auction. Included in the auction is a gorgeous treehouse with slide that children are allowed to play in.
Children could be drawn to the gorgeous backyard gardens. Since these are display areas, it’s possible that children would be frustrated at not being able to climb all over something that looks like so much fun. If your children are happy to sit or *run around without climbing, then these spaces would be great for them.
*Keep in mind, it is still crowded and there isn’t a lot of space.
Personally I don’t bring my children to these events because they get bored and I can’t talk to people or get the information I really want.
If you decide to bring your child(ren)
- Have snacks on hand
- have a stroller, carrier, or leash for small children so they don’t get lost
- Stop for water often
- Take breaks to allow your children to unwind
- Plan for at least 4 hours to attend with children.
- I’d also suggest having a clear idea of what you want to look at so you can easily walk past everything else.
What Value Does the Show Offer Backyard Gardeners?
The speakers on the Home & Garden stage often provide great information and value in general. This year the speaker series features Adele Goodwin from Earthworm Landscape Design speaking about curb appeal and Kenton Zerbin from KZ Permaculture talking about tiny homes as well as Edible landscaping. On Facebook I shared a video of Kenton Zerbin talking about square foot gardening as part of his talk about edible landscaping.
Anyone looking for ideas will certainly find a lot to offer at the show. This year’s show had several full backyard designs as well as a few deck or smaller scale designs on site.
If you have a clear idea of a project you want to tackle, but aren’t sure of specific products, then the show is exactly where you want to be. There are so many options on display.
Do you want to hire a professional to do the work?
If you have a project in mind, and want to hire someone else to do the work for you, then the Home and Garden show is the place to find someone to work with. There were several landscape companies on site as well as handyman services.
I will also say that the ‘Home’ portion of the show takes up the majority of the time and space. The ‘garden’ portion of the show is a lot smaller, and it’s spread out. It took me a couple hours to walk through the entire show but I really only needed to stop at a handful of booths because everyone else was for the home and I was really only there for garden stuff.
If you’re a home gardener that’s looking for inspiration for a smaller project or you like to do it yourself, I think you might be disappointed in the show. The majority of the booths sell services, not products.
This year I believe there were four companies that offered products as well as services. Only three companies, that I recall, offered products as their main business.
Should I Attend the Show
- Are you okay with crowds?
- There are a lot of people. If you’re not okay with crowds, don’t go. Crowd levels are similar to malls at the beginning of December or two weeks before school starts.
- Are you looking for someone offering landscape services?
- If you want landscape or design services, this show is a great place to meet several different companies in one day. The time you save by talking to them in one go would be worth the cost.
- If you’re not looking for landscaping or design services, then the cost of attending the show, and the time commitment, would likely not be worth it to you.
- Are you hoping this is an opportunity to walk through a living Pinterest board?
- When you imagine a home and garden show, do you hope you’ll have the opportunity to see many different backyard designs in a row? If so, you’ll likely be disappointed by all the banners, roofing options, and fitness booths you run into.
- There are yard designs on display, but they are not the majority, not even half, of the show.
- Would you be disappointed to need to look in a brochure to see what options are available?
- If you want to see the product in person, then you’ll likely be better off visiting the company in person. Most companies only have a small selection of items on hand at these shows
What Was My Favourite Booth?
The Tree Ninja booth caught my eye with their ‘Ninjas Overhead’ sign. I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with the owner (I feel horrible, I forgot to write down his name, I think it was Benoit, but I could be mistaking him for someone else at the show – I’m so sorry!) I did really enjoy our chat. He is passionate about forestry and maintaining the health of our tree. He also shared that his company always has an arborist on site for any job. This ensures that the job is done well, with the health of the tree in mind at all times.
I also really enjoyed talking to Chris at Pristine Ponds. I loved the serenity his corner of the show offered. When I asked, he assured me the pond was safe for children and dogs to climb on. After all, if children couldn’t climb on it without it shifting, then it’d never work in my backyard, and likely not in any family’s backyard. Chris even demonstrated that anyone could climb over it without any risk to the waterfall or pond system.