If you’re stuck for something to do on the weekend consider visiting your local garden centre.

Garden centres are not only for gardening enthusiasts, although there will be plenty of interest for gardeners, but they are also great destinations for families, people who want a hassle-free simple afternoon out, and those who would like a coffee and cake without breaking the bank. If you haven’t been to a garden centre now is the time to take a look around, they have more to offer than you’d think.

Here are ten reasons to visit a garden centre this weekend.

  1. Expert advice

A garden centre is the best place to get expert advice on everything related to the environment. If you’ve got pest problems such as mice in your garage, a plant that looks unwell or need a new lawnmower go and ask for some help. There are no high pressure sales in a garden centre, everyone is relaxed, the staff are helpful and you can take your time. Online sales lack this kind of customer service but face to face interaction at a garden centre can stop you making a misguided expensive purchase.

perrywood garden centre

Image: http://www.perrywood.co.uk/

  1. It’s Laid Back

Garden centres are relaxed places without expensive theme park rides or loud music. You can wander around at your own pace, look at the offerings and enjoy the therapeutic stress relieving green environment. Why go to a busy shopping centre where you’ll struggle to park on a weekend, just to fight it out with the hordes in a concrete jungle? In contrast you’ll leave the garden centre feeling invigorated and healthier for the calm interaction with plants and open green space.

  1. Drink tea, have cake!

Garden centres sell more than plants, in fact many people go simply to sit and enjoy a coffee and a cake. Kid’s meals and drinks are always available. They cost a good deal less and are often healthier than fast food restaurants and chain coffee houses. If you are lucky there will be a soft play area too.

  1. We all need more plants

Plants are good for you, so stock up! There are hundreds of plant varieties available to browse through. Look up old favourites and uncover plants for the more difficult areas of your garden. If you don’t have a garden browse through indoor plants such as orchids, cactus, peace lilies, and cheese plants – Ikea doesn’t have the monopoly on indoor structural planting!

salhouse garden centre

Image: http://www.salhousegardencentre.co.uk/

  1. New stock and new inventions come in all the time

If you have a difficult area in your garden, say it’s waterlogged, shady or sloped you may have given up, but new ideas and inventions are stocked at garden centres, from irrigation systems to remote control lawnmowers and new pond liner materials you may be surprised at what’s available if you haven’t been for a while. Quite often garden centres will have a delivery service if you’re looking for something big like garden furniture or a new BBQ. Looking at goods in real life beats a computer screen every time and you have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you’re getting.

  1. Get ideas – you don’t have to buy anything

One of the pleasures of gardening is dreaming about your next project. If you fancy growing a box hedge, you’ve always wanted a ‘purple’ or ‘white’ garden, you’d like a Japanese theme, a potting shed, or even hard landscaped, hassle-free paving in place of a lawn go to a garden centre and browse for inspiration and creativity.

st johns garden centre

Image: http://www.stjohnsgardencentre.co.uk/

  1. Family Friendly

Everyone is welcome in a garden centre. They are relaxed, clean, tidy and welcoming. You won’t need to stress about the kids making a noise. They’ll be busy looking at the plants, garden statues and mealworms. Garden centres have ramps for accessibility, toilets, and great customer service. They cater for everyone.

  1. Support Wildlife

We need to support our wildlife. Hedgehogs, bees, birds, frogs and bats all need a helping hand because the creeping urbanisation of towns is destroying their habitat. Garden centres stock everything you need to help wildlife from toad homes to bird seed and bee-friendly plants in bloom.

If you’re considering a wildlife friendly pond or water feature your garden centre has everything you need to make a start on your arrival home, including expert advice.

  1. Teach your kids

Without spending any money you can take your kids around the garden centre and teach them about nature and science. Garden centres are inevitably full of bees and pollinating insects taking advantage of the flowers. You might spot a hedgehog house, an insect house or a nesting box to talk about. If they prefer a physical activity look at the spades, rakes and watering cans. Developing an interest in the great outdoors will help keep your children healthy, active and keen to learn.

  1. Stock up for the coming season

You can never be too early with seeds, soil improvers, new tools and ideas for the coming season. Don’t get caught without a hose pipe or be without a BBQ on the first hot day of summer.

Garden centres are always looking ahead and when the seasons change so there are often bargains to be had. Buy up shrubs and pricier items at a discount because they have finished flowering, or search out discounted sheds and garden furniture as the autumn approaches.

Garden centres are underestimated destinations. They are family friendly, cheaper than shopping centre chain outlets, and more often than not situated nearby. You won’t need to drive miles to find a garden centre because they are dotted locally around towns. Travelling to an attraction is expensive, stressful and bad for the environment. Garden centres are local and parking is usually free too.

If you need gardening equipment, a good value lunch out or you’re simply bored and need fresh air head to your local garden centre for a cake and see what you can find. It’s well worth the effort.