Garden centres Best garden centres
This article, Garden centres, was last updated on 24 March 2011 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.
Find the best garden centre near you - our ratings table ranks over 60 garden centres from around the country, based on the views of more than 7,000 Which? Connect members.
Best and worst garden centres
|Garden centres reviewed - April 2011|
|Brand||Location (County)||Price||Product Quality||Product Range||Service||Customer Score|
|Gordon Rigg||Lancs & W. Yorks||87%|
|Dean’s Garden Centre||Yorks||n/a||82%|
|Sunshine Garden Centre||London||82%|
|Burston (formerly Burston Tyler)||Herts||79%|
|Woodcote Green Garden Centre & Nurseries||Surrey||79%|
|Chessington Garden Centre||Surrey||76%|
|Gordale Nurseries & Garden Centre||Cheshire||75%|
|Burford Garden Company||Oxon & Worcs||74%|
|Grosvenor Garden Centre||Cheshire||n/a||74%|
|Hayes Garden World||Cumbria||74%|
|Bridgemere Nursery &|
|Forest Lodge Garden Centre||Surrey||n/a||n/a||71%|
|Millbrook Garden Company||E. Sussex & Kent||70%|
|Thompsons||Kent, Middx &|
Isle of Wight
|Webbs||Warks & Worcs||70%|
|Whitehall Garden Centre||Bristol & Wilts||68%|
|Garsons Garden Centre||Surrey||n/a||67%|
|Hillier||14 centres in Berks, Hants, Herts, Oxon, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex & Warks||67%|
|Burleydam Garden Centre||Cheshire||n/a||n/a||66%|
|Frosts||Beds, Bucks, Cambs|
|Otter Nurseries||Devon, Somerset|
|Squires||11 centres in Berks, London, Surrey|
|Robert Dyas||100 centres in southern England||64%|
|Secretts Garden Centre||Surrey||n/a||64%|
|Shoots||W. Sussex, Middx|
|Marks & Spencer||Nationwide||63%|
|Blue Diamond Group||13 centres in mid- & southern England||62%|
|Heighley Gate Garden Centre||Northd||61%|
|Stephen H Smith||W. Yorks, Lancs|
|Van Hage||Cambs & Herts||61%|
|Garden & Leisure||7 centres in mid- & southern England||60%|
|Haskins||W. Sussex, Dorset|
|Dobbies||25 centres in Scotland & England||58%|
|Ruxley Manor Garden Centre||Kent||56%|
S. Glamorgan, Warks, Wilts & Worcs.
|Klondyke||6 centres in Scotland||53%|
|Strikes||18 centres in north Wales & northern England||52%|
|Country Gardens||12 centres in England||51%|
|Peter Barratt’s Garden Centres||E. Yorks, Northd|
|Wyevale (The Garden Centre Group)||Nationwide (England|
|Capital Gardens||London & Herts||n/a||50%|
Price – price of gardening products
Product quality – quality of gardening products
Product range – extent of gardening products available and stock levels
Service – staff availability, helpfulness and product knowledge
Customer score: Between 21st January and 3rd February 2011 we asked the Which? Connect panel to complete a survey on the garden centres/retailers they had bought plants or gardening products from in the last 12 months. Members were asked to rate a maximum of three stores that they had visited on a wide range of criteria, such as product quality, price and staff helpfulness, and were also asked about their overall satisfaction with that store and whether they would recommend it to a friend. Our statistics team used this information to create customer score values for all the stores/chains that had at least 30 responses.
Sample sizes: Coolings (83), Gordon Rigg (38), Aylett Nurseries (137), Dean’s Garden Centre (38), Sunshine Garden Centre (38), Longacres Nursery (121), RHS Wisley (233), Burston (formerly Burston Tyler) (37), Woodcote Green Garden Centre & Nurseries (67), Scotsdales (77), Chessington Garden Centre (82), Stewarts (47), Bents (75), Gordale Nurseries & Garden Centre (64), Burford Garden Company (61), Grosvenor Garden Centre (34), Hayes Garden World (65), Knights (33), Bridgemere Nursery & Garden World (85), Forest Lodge Garden Centre (35), Barton Grange (91), Millbrook Garden Company (39), Thompsons (30), Webbs (107), Whitehall Garden Centre (44), Garsons Garden Centre (43), Hillier (282), Aldi (74), Burleydam Garden Centre (30), Frosts (147), Otter Nurseries (142), Squires (227), Adrian Hall (31), Robert Dyas (77), Secretts Garden Centre (38), Shoots (40), Marks & Spencer (137), Blue Diamond Group (53), Lidl (95), Heighley Gate Garden Centre (47), Stephen H Smith (32), Van Hage (143), Garden & Leisure (73), Haskins (174), Morrisons (209), Polhill (71), Wilkinson (405), Dobbies (541), Notcutts (274), Asda (60), Ruxley Manor Garden Centre (55), Blooms (180), Klondyke (109), Strikes (101), Wickes (103), Country Gardens (102), Peter Barratt’s Garden Centres (75), Wyevale (1,119), Argos (44), Capital Gardens (46), Sainsbury’s (142), B&Q (1,913), Tesco (269), Homebase (1,230), Focus (293). Total sample size was 7,268.
Best garden centres and shops
Independent garden centres came out top in the Which? survey. They outperformed large garden centre chains and DIY stores.
Coolings in Kent came first, closely followed by Gordon Rigg in Yorkshire/Lancashire and Ayletts in Hertfordshire.
Least favourite garden centres and shops
Bottom of the pile were DIY giants Focus and Homebase, with Tesco, B&Q and Sainsbury's not far behind. Although these did well on price, their product range, quality and staff were consistently below average.
Some familiar garden-centre chains were also less than impressive when it came to customer service.
While supermarket or DIY-store staff are not necessarily green-fingered, it's a surprise that some large garden-centre chains such as The Garden Centre Group and Country Gardens received such low customer scores.
Both of these chains were rated as average for their product quality and range but were disappointing on staff knowledge, helpfulness and availability and price.
What to buy where
If you’re looking for a specific plant, a specialist tool or gardening advice, your local independent garden centre is your best bet. Staff are more likely to be helpful and knowledgeable and there will be a wider choice of quality products. Our guide to how to buy different types of plant explains how to buy roses, bedding plants, spring bulbs and more.
If you already know what you want or don’t need a large selection to choose from, a supermarket or DIY store is the place to pick up a bargain. They're especially good for garden furniture, garden tools or compost.
If good value is your priority, high-street stores such as Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Wilkinson all scored top marks for value gardening products.