2014: The Year the Great Outdoors Gets Even Better!

People are spending a lot more time outside than ever before, according to the Garden Media Group. Spurred on by an increase in socializing, the increased popularity of grilling, garden parties and home brewing & wine making events, the patio is replacing the family room as “the” place to be these days. Garden Media Group recently released their annual Garden Trends Report which outlines some of the fun and exciting trends we can look forward to in 2014.

The outdoor living and gardening market is on a continuous global growth trend of 3.5% per year making it a $220 billion market by 2016, according to the report. Even the flat $58 billion North American market will see a modest 1% per year growth rate over the next four years.

So, what are the next hot items for the industry in 2014? Read on:

Inside Out

One new trend is making outdoor spaces extensions of consumers’ homes.  Gone are the generic patio and garden items; here to stay are unique pieces that allow people to express their personal style. Look for new and creative designs in furniture, both outdoor and indoor items that can be used outdoors. The same is true for planters and other decorative pieces, such as throw pillows and colorful ornaments.

Go Outside the Lines

Forget neat, tidy rows; think geometric patterns, in everything from planting designs to accessories. As the outdoors takes on a little of the personality of the indoors, using geometry, such as triangles, circles, squares and other fractional shapes, adds an architectural flair. Don’t limit this to planting designs, though; think about the shapes of the actual plants themselves.

Simple is Best

The classics, both in colors and other displays, are making a comeback in 2014. Single colors, alone or paired with white, make a clean, simple design both in plants, planters, and other outdoor items. Monochromes – varying shades of the same color – also make for a classic statement. Another easy way of achieving this style is by planting a single variety of plants, bringing a strong sense of unity to the design.

Think, Design and Plant Local

As all things local continue to be the rage, the trend extends to the garden and the patio. Homeowners are becoming familiar with the plants and cultures of their home region and incorporating them into their outdoor designs. Of course, an exotic here and there is a great way to bring some additional spice to local designs.

Dudes, Dads and Demographics

While it’s no longer true that men are the only ones who are great at grilling, they are great at spending money on outdoor living. Men aged 18 – 24 now spend about $100 more ($441 per year) than the average gardener, according to a 2013 survey by the National Gardening Association. Coincidentally, this group is very involved in the wine making and home brewing trend, going so far as growing their own grains, hops and grapes in addition to traditional grill-friendly items such as hot peppers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20% of fathers are the primary caregivers of their preschool children, with 33% of fathers taking a more active role in parenting. As parenting becomes more of a “man task”, these young fathers are teaching their kids a greater appreciation for the great outdoors and nature in general.

It’s the Bees Knees

One third of the country’s honeybee colonies have vanished. This is a big issue for everyone as greater than 85% of the world’s plant species, including many food crops, need bees and other pollinating insects to survive. Another 2014 trend piggybacks on one of the other trends, namely planting local varieties of plants.

Planting pollen-rich native trees, flowers and vegetables is a great way to give much-needed food and shelter to native bees. Trees also increase property values and provide shade and windbreaks that help reduce heating and cooling expenses.

Other means of providing shelter include specially-designed bee shelters. Environmentally-conscious outdoors people are taking steps to preserve existing bee habitats.

For the complete free 2014 Garden Media Trends report: bit.ly/gmgreport.