It’s an industry traditionally associated with unhurried rejuvenation and relaxation, but in reality keeping ahead of trends is challenging in the fast-moving gardening sector, where the crucial task of setting your products apart from the rest can prove difficult. Innovation is the name of the game, and this mantra applies to the long-established players with developed routes to market, as much as to the start-up company vying to attain recognition and commercial success.

While here in the northern hemisphere our gardens rest over winter, what will be the next big thing is anyone’s guess – but here are some trends that impress Yvonne Johnson, Patent Attorney and Partner and Will Dean, Trainee Patent Attorney:

  • Space-saving products that cater for those without the benefit of acres of land – the Lows skALE Greenwall enables users to create vertical gardens. This product won the Best New Product award and the Best Garden Care in the Growing Accessories Products category award at the 2016 Glee exhibition.
  • Single-use packaging to make gardening easy and approachable for the novice – Seedcell contains seeds in a biodegradable package so that the user just needs to insert it into soil and water it.
  • Safety and environmental factors play a key role in new chemical treatments. Block Blitz’s biodegradable paving treatment won the Best Garden Care award in the Chemicals, Fertilisers and Growing Media Products category at Glee 2016 and a Best of British award.
  • Technology has also found its way into the garden. A number of companies now produce eye-catching solar powered products, such as Smart Garden Products with their 67 new solar lights. And for those who really want to invest in their garden, Husqvarna has now released the product to put whoever cuts the grass out of a job—the Automower.

Even though this sector is fast-moving, it is crucial to protect your investment to maximise its returns. A key factor which differentiates those who make it big from the rest is the recognition of the value of intellectual property (IP). New products and brands can be protected using IP solutions such as patents, registered designs and trade marks. The companies mentioned above all take steps to protect their IP—the links on their names show you how they have done so. By keeping IP at the fore, smaller companies are able to compete with established market leaders for investment, purchasers and, ultimately, market share.