by Bridget Kulla
A cheerful tulip shooting up from the soil, window boxes bursting with bright blooms, and the smell of fresh mulch in the air—spring is in our sights. The snow has melted, the showers washed it away and warmer days are on the way.
There’s no better way to welcome the season and gather some inspiration for your own home and garden than to hit up a Home and Garden Show near you. Across the U.S., hundreds of home and garden shows are kicking off and like a sturdy perennial, many of them have been around for decades.
Hear from horticultural experts, snack on homegrown meals with chefs, learn from licensed contractors and meander through jaw-dropping gardens for an educational-meets-inspiring event. To make the most of your show experience, we’ve gathered 8 helpful ways to prep for a thriving exhibition.
Make a plan.
Check out the show’s website to review the schedule of the day’s happenings. See what events you simply cannot miss, whether that’s a seminar with a horticultural expert about landscaping with roses, a tutorial on creating a garden wall, or celebrity Q-and-A with your favorite home improvement television host. List the times you have to be in a certain location, and fill in the rest of the day with walks around the gardens or home remodeling displays.
You’re likely at the show to be ignited with ideas for your own home and garden, so don’t forget to log them. Take pictures or bring a notebook to write down DIY ideas, brand names, and garden tips.
Converse with a contractor.
Licensed contractors see hundreds of house projects over the years and know the ins-and-outs of ripping apart a bathroom or kitchen, designing with earth-friendly elements, and incorporating the newest technologies. And you’ll have upfront access to them. Be sure to talk to contractors in attendance about your latest home projects, they may have to game-changing insight. And if they happen to be speaking about their skills on a stage, add the talk time to the day’s plan.
Dress the part.
Some of the displays may be temperature controlled, meaning they could be chillier or hotter than you had planned for. Starting the show day in a few layers is a good idea, that way you can add or remove as the temp delegates. While in the closet, be smart about your shoe selection, too. You’ll be on your feet most of the day so a comfortable, supportive option is key.
Ask the experts.
At a home and garden show you have access to experts of all types, use them. Ask a contractor about home siding color trends, a horticulturalist about your latest gardening glitch, a professional landscaper about your layout, or a lighting designer about a chandelier in your living room. Now’s the time to get educated and solve home and garden debates. You can even take it one step further and bring photos of your yard or home inquiries, this way the expert has a real handle of your question.
Bring along a little one.
Many home and garden shows have a slew of child and even pet-friendly activities. From activity gardens to potting parties, and even doggy wag bags. Just be sure to check the show’s website before heading out the door on show day with your baby and beagle in tow.
Some home and garden shows highlight the newest technologies and products on the market for kitchen, bath and outdoor spaces. Scout out this section of the show—from quartz countertops; to a folding chaise lounge to robotic lawn mowers, you may be impressed by the innovations.
Hit the road.
If you can’t get enough of home and garden shows, and one just isn’t enough, check out the other shows in your area. Most big cities have one and if you’re in an area where there’s a few surrounding you, make a weekend trip out of it. If you want it to be—it can be show season all spring long.