The Austin Home & Garden Show has been managing trade shows catered to do-it-yourself enthusiasts — from amateur to professional — for over three decades.
This year’s 17th annual Austin event, held at the Austin Convention Center from August 17 through August 19, has a large impact on the local home and garden industry. Statistics released by Show Technology reveals that 82% of attendees will redecorate their home using contractors from the show, while 87% of attendees will spend money on landscaping services and supplies with contractors from the show.
“Austin is very educated,” says Pamela Rogers, the director of corporate sales with Show Technology. “Austinites typically come to the show prepared with shopping lists; they know what they want.”
On Sunday, CultureMap was able to sit down for an interview with Ahmed Hassan, landscaping expert and television host of DIY Network's Yard Crashers. We asked him about his experiences and how Austinites can apply his tips to their challenges in coping with drought conditions and heat, while trying to maintain a healthy lawn and garden.
"We all have a paradigm, seeing expansive green grass outside of a house — we cannot do that anymore because of water scarcity! I am not crazy about synthetic lawns, but if you have landscaping around it, it can work." - Ahmed Hassan
CultureMap: Tell me briefly about your background in landscape design.
Ahmed Hassan: I’ve basically been working since I was 10 years old. My dad was in landscaping, I emulated him. I was having fun creating with my hands, landscaping allowed me, as a kid, to be around dirt, equipment and have fun.
CM: When did you film the first episode of Yard Crashers?
AH: In 2008.
CM: On to Austin — have you ever been here before?
AH: Yes, we were here last year and shot an HGTV episode.
CM: Do you have any favorite ‘spots’ in Austin? If not, do you have a particular venue/attraction in town that you are planning to frequent?
AH: Not really, when I am part of the [Home & Garden Show], I tend to stay in the hotel and relax. I did get to Wholly Cow. I’m a vegetarian but I am starting to add a little red meat to my diet to boost my iron content. I’d like to come to Austin again, maybe January or February.
CM: Austin is hot and dry! What specific recommendations do you have for Austin gardeners and wanna-be gardeners to put into action so that their plants/grass will thrive and not wilt in our heat?
AH: We all have a paradigm, seeing expansive green grass outside of a house — we cannot do that anymore because of water scarcity! There is a paradigm shift. I am not crazy about synthetic lawns, but if you have landscaping around it, it can work.
CM: If someone was selling their home, how much money would you suggest, percentage-wise, they spend on landscaping?
AH: Realtors might suggest a price, but it really depends… what is your budget and how much do you want to spend? Are you looking to sell your home in a short amount of time? I do recommend an automatic irrigation system and affordable landscaping to add ‘curb appeal’ to your home.
CM: Thank you for your time this morning, good luck with your future plans!
AH: It is a pleasure, now I’m off to a question and answer session on xeriscaping.