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Long before the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the US in 2020, many consumers had engaged in gardening as a routine chore, as a source of food, as exercise, or as an enjoyable activity. Decorative gardens and well-tended landscapes have long been associated with homeownership and aesthetically pleasing gardens and attractive landscaping correlate with curb appeal, pride of ownership, and even neighborly competition (keeping up with the Jones’ yard, perhaps). Additionally, food gardens are a source of nutrition when fresh produce may be otherwise expensive or hard to get. They are also often seen as a path to independence and as a means to live sustainably.
Shifts in Behaviors Driven by Pandemic, Geography
In the years leading up to the pandemic, both the increase in dual-income families and children’s increasingly busy schedules led some households to choose landscaping services to tend to gardening or low-maintenance landscaping options. However, as the pandemic began, many employees who could complete their tasks outside of the office transitioned to work-from-home positions. Additionally, even in 2022, many of these individuals have continued to work remotely, at least part-time, allowing more time to maintain their gardens.
The pandemic had other effects on gardening activity as well. For instance, consumers who were concerned about the pandemic as a health risk for themselves or their family and friends were more likely to entertain outdoors at home and thus invest in their gardens and landscaping. Additionally, many consumers found that gardening was a good way to relieve stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic or life changes related to the pandemic.
Where consumers live plays an important role in whether they are likely to have gardens at all or what type of gardens they might have. For instance, residents in several of the western states increasingly deal with the effects of a long-running drought. Public policy and water utility incentives increasingly encourage residents to remove plants that need significant amounts of water in favor of hardscaping, artificial grass, and drought-resistant plants native to the area. Additionally, residents of urban areas are less likely to have conventional gardens for which to care, not only due to the condensed living spaces which allow for small if any gardens for single-family housing, but also because of the prevalence of multifamily housing, which typically does not include individual outdoor spaces for gardens. Instead, urban gardeners might tend plants in containers on balconies, patios, or rooftops. Others might care for plots within a community garden located in their neighborhood but not on their own property.
This report includes analysis, data, trends, and customized cross tabs using:
- Proprietary results from the April-May 2020, August 2020, November-December 2020, February-March 2021, June 2021, August-September 2021, October-November 2021, November-December 2021, February 2022, May 2022, and August 2022 editions of The Freedonia Group National Online Consumer Survey
- Syndicated national consumer survey results from MRI-Simmons Fall 2011-2021 Reports.