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Tips and displays unfold at the Southern Spring Home & Garden Show

By Michael J. Solender
Correspondent

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  • Want to go?

    What: The Southern Spring Home & Garden Show.

    When: Fridays 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. 5 p.m. Feb. 21-23 and Feb. 28-March 2.

    Where: The Park Expo and Conference Center, 2500 East Independence Blvd.

    Tickets: $8 advance, $10 at the door.

    Parking: $7, cash only.

    First-weekend show visitors are eligible for a discount to the show’s second weekend.

    More information: www.southernshows.com/sss.


  • Navigating the show

    • The show is exhibited in three halls with specific focus on gardens, home improvement, arts and crafts and “a little bit of everything,” according to show officials.

    • 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.

    • “Project-oriented homeowners should come with specific drawings, plans and/or room dimensions they can share with contractors,” said Mardee Woodward, the show’s executive director. She said the show caters to those interested in comparison shopping. “I encourage people to bring a flash drive with photos and any project information.”



This year’s Southern Spring Home & Garden Show theme – “Better Living. Home. Garden. Life” – brings a new emphasis on the growing trend that finds many Americans focusing on the relationship between healthy living and enjoying a simplified lifestyle.

“One trend in home remodeling and redecorating is the emphasis we continue to see on de-cluttering, simplifying and enjoying smaller, yet higher-quality living space,” said Mardee Woodward, the show’s executive director.

She said show visitors will find lots of ideas and products on sleek storage, earth-friendly low-maintenance flooring, and homes with a smaller footprint.

For the first time, the show is running over two consecutive weekends. Celebrating its 54th consecutive year in Charlotte, the show includes more than 220,000 square feet of exhibition space in three halls and hundreds of exhibitors showcasing products and services.

Project-minded homeowners have the opportunity to talk with vendors and local contractors to discuss home improvement options, including appliances, cabinets, hardware, fixtures, granite, tile and tubs, accessories, furniture, flooring, lighting, window treatments and accents to personalize the home. Kitchen and bath products and services are among the most widely featured areas.

Visitors will see wide varieties of new composite countertop materials, heated bathroom floor applications and a move to contemporary styling, particularly in the kitchen, according to David Bengston, president of Lighthouse Construction and longtime show exhibitor. “Clean lines, moldings, under-cabinet LED lighting, contemporary tile and glass are desirable kitchen options I’m seeing more and more of,” said Bengston.

“In the bath, I’m seeing a push to re-creating a spa experience at home with multiple shower heads and steam units in oversized showers.”

Backyard gardening ideas

Home gardeners looking for ideas on everything from “smart” irrigation to organic gardening will find products and ideas. Much of the revival in home gardening is due to the growing “farm to fork” and “eat local” movements in restaurants and farmers markets all across America, Woodward said.

“This is not a trend,” she added. “Rather, it is a true lifestyle choice. Many of our cooking exhibitions will feature cooking with vegetables and herbs harvested straight from the garden.”

Fans of the popular Planet Green cable show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” will be thrilled to know that the former city dwellers-turned-goat farmers will be on hand during the second weekend to discuss gardening and share cooking tips.

Brent Ridge, one of the Beekmans, tours dozens of garden shows annually. “I see a huge revival in backyard gardening,” said Ridge. “My advice to folks who may have only a small space to work is that they don’t have to have a large garden. Raised beds are a great way to go for smaller space…”

The show’s expanded garden showcase highlights sustainable garden approaches. Show visitors can stroll through Belgard Gardens, 20 professionally landscaped gardens and six independently styled designer rooms featuring new garden products and ideas.

Outdoor kitchens with features such as built-in grills, pizza ovens, sinks, refrigerators and breakfast bars continue to rise in popularity, said Darin Brockelbank of MetroGreenscape.

Those looking for the latest in screened porches and decks can learn the difference between pressure-treated wood, cedar and new composite material/wood alternatives being introduced to the market.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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