The UK domestic garden landscaping materials market, including horticulture, hard landscaping and garden decoration, increased by 2% in 2016. Subject to the vagaries of the British weather, the market has experienced steady underlying growth over the last 2-3 years as consumers continue to invest in their gardens by updating or upgrading outdoor areas with more modern décor schemes. In addition, replacement purchases continue to benefit sub-sectors such as containers and horticultural products.

Market performance is also influenced by the general economic situation, with higher value projects likely to be put on hold during times of economic uncertainty when disposable incomes are stretched. Consumer lifestyle choices can also impact significantly upon the size of the market with recent trends including ‘grow-your-own’, the continuing trend for al-fresco dining and entertaining as well as the recent focus on the garden as an outdoor living space.

There is also a trend towards stylish design and trading up, but at the same time a dominant trend has been low maintenance, exemplified by the recent growth for artificial turf. Demand for pots and planters has remained resilient as they provide a cost-effective means of updating the garden, providing both colour and flexibility, since they can be easily relocated – something which is becoming increasingly important given that the average garden in new build housing is diminishing.

The fencing sector is particularly affected by weather with the stormy conditions in successive winters benefitting sales of replacement products. However, design influences are also at play within the market with many consumers upgrading existing fences to more decorative, rather than purely functional designs.

In the decking sector, the uptake of timber decking has plateaued while a new wave of composite decking has helped to sustain demand to some degree in this sector. The sector remains price competitive and is characterized by significant penetration of imports.

Distribution of landscaping materials is fragmented, and online sales continue to increase. In recent years, a growing number of dedicated online garden specialists or e-tailers have emerged. Many of the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ channels now also have a much stronger transactional online presence, with home delivery offered for a wide variety of items.

The market has been positive in H1 2017 with good spring weather encouraging gardeners and home owners to update and renew planting and landscaping schemes. The outlook for 2018 and beyond is for steady growth, underpinned by sustained demand for key repeat purchase products, such as bedding plants, but with an element of price inflation from imported products such as planters, pots and decorative items.

Into the medium-term, the domestic garden landscaping materials market will show steady, if modest, underlying growth of around 1-3% per annum until 2021. A key factor in the future health of the UK domestic garden landscaping materials market remains the British weather, which can have significant impact on the strength of the market within a given year.

This article is based on data from AMA Research’s ‘Domestic Garden Landscaping Materials Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’  containing insight, statistics and forecasts on the UK’s domestic garden materials market up until 2021.