December 15, 2016
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

Denis FlanaganGarden Media Group (, has identified some consumer trends in the gardening world that will have a major impact on the landscape and horticulture professions in 2017 and the years to come. I believe Landscape Ontario members are in a great position to adapt to and benefit from these trends. Below are just a few of the trends identified and how LO members factor into them.

Healthy living

Healthy living is driving changes in the lawn and garden industry. A growing number of consumers describe themselves as “health conscious” or “ingredient sensitive,” and a majority say they pay close attention to the ingredients in the food they buy. Demand for clean food, clean water, clean air, clean medicine and clean environments is dramatically shifting how people buy plants and products, and garden both inside and out.

The important Millennial market force wants to grow their own food, teas, cocktails, beer and medicine. Five million of the six million ‘new’ gardeners last year were 18-34 years old, according to the 2016 National Gardening Report.

Two new national organizations are cultivating the love of gardening and promoting the value of plants. One will increase the number of people who garden and the other will drive interest in careers in horticulture.

Many Landscape Ontario seminars, conferences and chapter initiatives in 2017 are focusing on health and lifestyle. Several educational components at Canada Blooms will focus on growing food. Our trial gardens, in conjunction with the University of Guelph, continue to expand the edibles section and many leading-edge Certified Landscape Designer (CLD) designers are incorporating food growing as major elements in their modern designs.

Through our increased focus on youth through the Apprenticeship Program, chapters work with local schools, scholarships and mentoring programs and through the Come Alive Outside programs we are increasingly capturing and cultivating relationships with the next generation of gardeners.


Studies are being conducted that examine how sounds (or the lack of sounds) are an indication of the level of ecological health of a landscape or the overall health in our lives.

Our mental health, wellness and quality of life are directly affected by trees. Trees change everyday city sounds: from adding birdsongs to buffering sirens. The loss of trees changes the soundscape and decreases our quality of life, increases stress levels, affects our mental health and diminishes our ability to focus.

Landscape Ontario members are definitely at the forefront of this movement — not only from the daily activities of planting thousands of trees on private and municipal properties, but also by increasing awareness of the benefits of tree planting through arbour week, National Tree Day and the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute. I think soundscaping is in sound hands with our members.

Gardening subscription services

From BirchBox to Blue Apron, products and services delivered to your door offer convenience and value by saving time and often money. Subscription services introduce people, especially Millennials, to products they didn’t even know they wanted. Subscriptions compel people to engage more in gardening and take more risks. In turn, they will create a new generation of confident gardeners willing to take on advanced projects. The garden industry is poised to ride this rising trend.

This is an interesting trend, what do you think?

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback.  
Denis Flanagan can be reached at or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.