As people move to cities and have smaller outdoor spaces, consumers appreciate products that allow them to garden anywhere, like these raised garden beds.
Photo courtesy of Koelnmesse, organizer of spoga+gafa

Editor’s note: This article has been edited and reprinted with permission from Koelnmesse, the trade show organizer behind spoga+gafa and other shows.

It’s not news that consumers love having a private outdoor spot. It doesn't matter whether it's a balcony, terrace or a patio — appreciation for the outdoors is on the rise. Relaxing, grilling, planting and harvesting are all included, with the garden topping the popularity scale. A 2015 survey by health psychologist Renate Cervinka from the Medical University of Vienna’s Centre for Public Health shows, like similar studies, how much spending time outdoors contributes to well-being. Survey respondents evaluated their gardens to be significantly more relaxing than their living rooms.

Each year, Koelnmesse, the trade show organizer behind spoga+gafa in Cologne, Germany, releases its gardening trend report ahead of the green industry trade show. There are 2,000 exhibitors expected at this year’s event, which will take place Sept. 4-6, 2016. Playful patterns, beekeeping, backyard chickens and classic textures and colors are among the top trends for 2016/2017.

Playful is in

Sweet and quirky is in when it comes to fashion, and shirts with comic prints, frilly socks, blouses with bows and floral print dresses are on the rise. Outdoor furniture is reflecting this trend and equally playful. The manufacturers are creating charming, in some cases even amusing designs — often in bright colors. The selection ranges from modular sofa elements that can be colorfully mixed to suit every whim to stools and armchairs, which are often dainty and light-weight, because straps, thin struts or mesh-like looks are, for some, out of style. The result is a transparent, delicate look. The playful trend is then rounded off by cheerful animal motifs on cushions and accessories as well as floral patterns. Anything goes.

Fun, funky and colorful patterns are popular in both fashion and in outdoor patio furniture and décor.
Photo courtesy of Koelnmesse, Organizer Of Spoga+Gafa

Modern country leads to outdoor harmony

Many consumers are longing to retreat back to nature and the slow pace that country life promises. “Modern country” furnishings that are homey and comfy are making a comeback, as people begin to move away from the linear, cool and purist looks of the past. Some manufacturers are now uniting tradition and modern looks with nature and art to form a harmonious overall picture and to get away from corny country looks of the past. The focus is on braid and teak, which have been freed from their heaviness for a more delicate design. Modern country is more than just a look. Backyard chickens and bees are also part of the equation. Whereas beekeepers were once considered to be bourgeois and old-fashioned, the pastime is now booming among young people. Even city dwellers are participating, keeping beehives on their balconies and harvesting their own honey or building chicken coops wherever they can find space.

“The playful trend is then rounded off by cheerful animal motifs on cushions and accessories as well as floral patterns. Anything goes.”

The rediscovery of the classics

Manufacturers are not only launching reintroductions of well-known classics, they are reviving retro styles outdoors, too. The foldable beach chair is one example, as the standard version of this has been redesigned for a more elegant look. Traditional indoor looks are making their way outdoors, as well. The selection ranges from sofas typical of the 1960s to traditional school chairs.

People enjoy grilling outdoors, and consumers are searching for all-in-one products that allow them to roast, smoke, grill and bake their food.
Photo courtesy of Koelnmesse, Organizer Of Spoga+Gafa

Color trend: Taupe meets metallic

At the 2014 spoga+gafa show, bright, bold colors were big, and you could find a rainbow of hues in everything from watering cans to garden décor to patio chairs. More subdued hues are resurfacing, such as taupe. The warm, natural color is timeless and discrete, which means it blends in beautifully with the green of the garden. Implemented as a complete look, it has an elegant, timeless effect and, when done well, is not at all dull. At the same time, the shade can be seamlessly combined with hip, trendy decoration elements and bright cushion colors. The manufacturers are playing with many alternatives here: Grey, beige, greige (a color between beige and grey) and brown are extremely popular. Metallic materials and textures that have been popular in home décor for the past few years are also making their way outdoors. Especially popular are small pieces of furniture and accessories that provide a pop of copper, gold and silver shades. They emanate opulence and create radiant accents when used sparingly.

Barbecues 2016: Totally multifunctional

Barbecuing is still big. Many consumers even sizzle their meals on the hot grill several times a week. Technologies are keeping pace with the popularity of outdoor cooking, and are becoming more and more sophisticated. Food can be smoked, roasted, cooked and baked outside. But who has enough space for all of these appliances? That is why manufacturers are now presenting multifunctional grills that unite everything in one model. In addition, numerous manufacturers are launching high-quality compact appliances onto the market.

At the same time, manufacturers are fueling this enthusiasm for creative barbecuing with new ideas for equipment and accessories. Waffle and sandwich attachments, intelligent roast thermometers and special crockery are percolating into the market. There are even special barbecue apps with education and sharing options, so that the sizzling experiences can be shared immediately with friends.

“Survey respondents evaluated their gardens to be significantly more relaxing than their living rooms.”

Garden appliances

User-friendly products that take the work out of gardening and yard maintenance such as robotic lawn mowers and cordless tools, including trimmers, hedge shears or hand-operated lawn mowers, are increasingly popular with consumers. They continue to improve ease-of-use and performance, plus many now feature ergonomically optimized forms that make the work even easier.

In order to inspire tech-savvy, young people to garden, manufacturers are relying more and more on “smart” functions. For instance, the lawn can be mowed remotely via mobile app.

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