This article was originally published in the Columbus Dispatch, published February 26th, 2017 by Jim Weiker.
The Columbus Dispatch Home & Garden Show, which ends today, offers a chance to see stars such as Jonathan and Drew Scott, the “Property Brothers.”
But it also provides a good barometer of home trends that might be headed your way. Products new to the show just a few years ago, such as metal roofs, infrared saunas and floor treatments for garages and basements, are plentiful this year, suggesting that they are safely into the mainstream.
Among the hundreds of products displayed at this year’s show, four not yet in the mainstream caught my eye:
Palm trees in Ohio
A Kansas company, Designer Palms, manufacturers metal palm trees up to 14 feet tall that can weather the worst Ohio winter.
The trees are made by artist Wendell Turner out of galvanized steel and feature green fronds and even — at an additional cost — lights shaped like coconuts.
They are mounted to a base that can be bolted to concrete, allowing them to withstand winds up to 100 mph. An 8-foot tree anchored in a pot costs $2,495, plus $200 for delivery and installation, while larger clusters of palms can cost several thousand dollars.
Of course, if this winter’s trend keeps up, we might be able to grow actual palm trees in Ohio before long.
The Jetsons’ lawn care
The Automower robotic lawn mower, made by Husqvarna, stole the show as it silently motored along a patch of fake grass at the show’s entrance.
Not only was the product unusual, so was its sales crew. Sunbury couple Charles and Kay Doeble bought an Automower last year, and they were so sold on the product that its regional distributor, Autmow, asked them to pitch the mowers.
Charles Doeble said the mower — models retail for $2,000 to $3,500 — cuts better than his conventional mower and, of course, requires a lot less effort.
“I’ll sit and play guitar on the porch while my yard is mowed,” he said.
The Concrete Design Farm, from Washington Court House, showed off concrete countertops, table tops, sinks, wall panels and other uses, illustrating how far the material has risen from the basement floor.
Displaying concrete surfaces resembling leather, wood and river bottoms, in dozens of colors, the company invited visitors to challenge them with an idea.
“We make art,” said Trevor Patton, the company’s creative director. “We want people to think beyond countertops, to imagine something broader.”
Central Ohio Retractable Screens is a veteran of the shows, but it promotes a product that still might not be familiar to homeowners.
The company sells Phantom Screens, PVC mesh screens that can be installed over any opening and can be rolled into a channel when not in use, like a window blind. The screens are especially popular for use with main entryways, French patio doors and covered porches — spots where homeowners occasionally want the protection of a screen but don’t want a screen to be seen when not in use.
Installed prices range from about $439 for a single entry door screen to more than $3,000 for a 16-foot-wide porch opening.
Dispatch Reporter Jim Weiker writes about home topics. Reach him at 614-461-5513 or by email.