Whether you’re planning a sticking a few extra daisies in the ground or mulling a dream kitchen makeover–advice and inspiration are bound to drive a lot of your decisions.
That’s one of the big draws of the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show now underway in Charlotte. The show draws thousands of homeowners who course through the endless displays elbow-to-elbow in search of ideas, gadgets, and the chance to pick up tips at how-to clinics.
Billed as the largest home and garden show in the South, the extravaganza has been staged each spring since 1961 by Charlotte-based Southern Shows, Inc. It runs this weekend and next at The Park Expo and Conference Center.
You can expect to find everyone from a rose whisperer to an azalea wizard, a pro on pests to a grass guru, and a working woodwright. More options:
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• The cooking stage features chefs working with every ingredient from beef to buttercream.
• On the home ideas stage are experts with practical demonstrations on how to make your do-it-yourself projects easier and more cost efficient.
• On the garden stage showgoers find tips on gardening in spaces both small and large, pruning, and backyard vegetable beds.
For the entire schedule for all four venues, visit www.southernshows.com/sss.
And that’s just the beginning. In addition to heralding spring, the consumer-friendly show brings together over 350 vendors and exhibitors to give area residents ideas to improve their own homes, gardens and lawns.
“Guests tell us the show is a big time-saver for them,” says Mardee Woodward, the show’s manager for the past seven years. “They don’t need to run all over town visiting one supplier after another. They don’t have to make a lot of phone calls or online research.
Three Trends to Watch
The marriage of interior design and construction. “New construction clients are not just looking for a general contractor who can read a blueprint, says Jerehmy Warner of Muse Residential, Concord, one of this year’s vendors. “They’re looking for design services as well as somebody who can build or remodel their home.” Muse provides full-service remodeling and design services including a showroom with flooring, tile and other accessories and furnishings. Warner says the company caters to customers who have learned the value of integrating each aspect of their project from HGTV. He predicts more contractors will add these services.
Expanding outdoor living. Chad Little of Bushwackers Landscaping of Charlotte, another vendor, says 90 percent of his business involves adding “hardscape“ elements like patios, pavers, fire pits, retaining walls and water features to existing landscapes. “People want more living space outdoors,” says Little. “They’re learning that landscaping is more than plants.”
Pepping up your pool. Sunmar Construction of Charlotte, which specializes in pool installation and remodeling, has installed a pool at the show. “We’re getting tons of calls requesting the renovation of existing pools,” says Clara Vasquez of Sunmar. “Homeowners want to entertain around their swimming pool, and call us to redesign the area to make it higher-end, to add outdoor kitchens with fireplaces and grills.”
Your camera-equipped smartphone can be a great two-way tool. Use it to show contractors your space or examples of the look you're after. Use it at the show to snap design ideas, color schemes and products.
Want to go?
The 55th annual Southern Spring Home & Garden Show:
The Park Expo and Conference Center, 2500 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte
Friday, Feb. 20: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 21 : 10 -7
Sunday, Feb. 22: 10 -5
Friday, Feb. 27: 10 - 8 .
Saturday, Feb. 28: 10 - 7
Sunday, March 1: 10 - 5
$8.50 (with VIC card) at Harris Teeter locations.
$9 online at www.southernshows.com
Groups: $8.50 for group orders of 20 tickets or more when ordered in advance.
Tickets at the door
Children under 15: Free with paying adult
Seniors (55+) get in for $7 on both Fridays
$5 admission on Fridays after 5 p.m. (at door only)
Parking: $7-cash only
Spring Home& Garden show by the numbers
3 Buildings – all under one roof joined by a central lobby – occupied by the show.
4 Stages offering continuous live presentations.
5 Truckloads of dirt, weighing about 18 tons each, hauled in to create the gardens.
22 Gardens on display.
72 Tons of sand hauled in for sculpting by The Sand Man.
54 Years since the first Southern Spring Show.
350-plus Exhibitors and vendors.
675 People engaged in building the gardens and designer rooms
1,600 People working at the show in some capacity
30,000 Fresh blooms on display each weekend (tulips, hyacinths, daffodils)
224,000 Square feet of exhibition space
Taking center stage
Home idea and cooking stages will feature will feature a steady stream of demonstrations. Here’s just a few to watch for.
• Back by popular demand isKevin Ylvisaker
of Mukwonago, Wis., a nationally known floral trend consultant. He worked on the inaugurations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and was a judge at the 1997 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA.
• John and Whitney Spinks of Jacksonville, FL, are known as “The All-American Sweetheart Couple” from HGTV’s reality show “Flipping the Block
.” They will demonstrate how to stretch your renovation dollar with their designer tips and tricks. Being self-taught, they feel interior design shouldn’t be confined to traditional rules or limited by designer prices.
• One of the most unusual guests might be Randy Hoffman of Ocean City, MD, known as the Sand Man. Hoffman has been creating sand sculptures since 1981. Showgoers can watch him build masterpieces onsite during the first weekend.