Scandinavia's largest garden centre, Plantorama Hillerod, north of Copenhagen in Denmark, opened in the spring. Installed by Dutch-based design-and-build firm Thermoflor, the £9m centre keeps the focus firmly on plants, with a third of the fullyenclosed 10,000sq m floorspace lying under a retractable glass roof system.
Its coated glass gives a light transmission of 90 per cent, while retractable thermal screens provide both shading and insulation.
As well as stocking large specimen stock in the cool area, the centre's heated area includes a large area for houseplants as well as a pets and aquatics section that account for a quarter of turnover. The furniture section features rattan-based designs exclusive to Plantorama.
The eight-strong chain sources around half its plants in the Netherlands, but does not sell hard landscaping or lawn mowers. Catering is also minimal by British standards, with just a franchised coffee shop. Staffing is light, with wages accounting for just 13 per cent of costs.
"Ground prices are high in Denmark so you want to generate more income per square metre than an outdoor sales area," says Thermoflor export manager Ferry Breugem. "You have better year-round conditions for customers, and by protecting plants against adverse weather you reduce wastage."
Of the exterior, Breugem adds: "The garden centre is in a flat area and we wanted it to stand out without looking too expensive."