Keeping it fresh

Calgary Home + Garden Show garden features prepping visitors for spring

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Yet when it comes to purchasing a home, first impressions can be everything.

“What’s really exciting for me right now, especially when it comes to home value, is that landscaping has replaced the top five best return-on-investments according to Remodeling Magazine 2015,” said Carson Arthur, co-star of HGTV’s Critical Listing and founder of Carson Arthur Design, who will be among a dozen celebrity presenters and more than 650 vendors at the 34th annual Calgary Home + Garden Show, running from Feb. 26 to March 1.

Arthur, who grew up on a farm two hours outside Toronto, said there are a couple simple tips for home sellers when it comes to grabbing the eye of potential buyers.

The first, weather depending, is using mulch in flowerbeds. With or without flowers, the mulch immediately gives the impression of a neater space.

“Another really simple option: put a bench in the front yard. You might have to stake it down, but buyers, when they come in to a house for the first time and they see a bench, one of their first description words is, ‘Oh it’s welcoming.’ And if you can get them smiling before they even walk through that front door, it helps that perceived impression of your house from the immediate first impression.”

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Gardening and landscaping figure prominently at this  year’s Home + Garden Show, something that came  about from public feedback of last year’s edition, said  show manager Teri Salazar.

“We have so much greenery coming down to the show,”  she said. “Even if it’s not a feature, everywhere you look  you’re going to see flowers or plants or smell them. It’ll  feel like spring really is around the corner.”

Among the greenery and landscape and garden talk,  local talents will also be hitting the stage to share their  designs and inspiration. Among others, Cardel Renos  Sales design consultants Marie-Claire Williams and  Clare Gardner will be talking about renovations and  design dilemmas, Joanne Dafoe will be addressing  garden myths and Heather Draper, principal designer  of The Heather Company will be offering tips on how to  realistically work with what’s trending in design.

“We’re all sort of beaten over the head with trends, and  trends are kind of rooted in classic style,” said Draper.  “So I really want to help people understand how to do  something that’s trendy in a stylish way, so that it’s classic and still looks good in seven years, or 10 years or 12 years. Not in this big splashy way that’s going to read, ‘that was done in 2015’ in 2018.”

While Draper is focusing on steering people away from trends and toward a more classical look within the home, Arthur will focus on what’s trending outside.

“One of the big trends right now, and it’s just such a simple little thing, is outdoor fireplaces,” he said. “Some of the big things you’re seeing are propane or natural gas fire tables. Creating a spot in your backyard with a propane fireplace or anything like that and put(ing) a couple of chairs around it and an outdoor rug [will] create the impression of an outdoor room. A potential buyer will look and that and say, ‘Oh yes, this is where I want to spend my summer.’”

 

New to the show this year is Seniors’ Day on Feb. 27 from noon to 5 p.m. Seniors who make it to the show before five can purchase tickets at a discounted price, as well as grab a free coffee and wheelchair rental, if needed.

After 34 years of home and garden design exhibits and presentations, Salazar said a lot of keeping the show fresh comes from the exhibitors themselves.

“A lot of that comes, just in general, from our exhibitors. They keep their business fresh,” she said.

“Calgary is not a stagnant city. We are so lucky to live in this city because of that. So [exhibitors] are changing up their booth designs, they’re showing off cool new trends in flooring or trends in tile, those types of things within their spaces.”

Photos courtesy Carson Arthur

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