Pools, hot tubs and sun loungers: What Norfolk's buying ahead of summer

Martin Turner of Fakenham Garden Centre on how much demand has increased

Martin Turner (inset) of Fakenham Garden Centre on how much demand has increased as people prepare their gardens to welcome guests - Credit: Archant

Gardens across the county are being prepped to welcome guests for the first time in moths with sales of outdoor dining tables, barbecues, and even hot tubs increasing tenfold. 

From Monday people in groups of up to six will be able to meet outdoors - prompting people to give their gardens a makeover. 

And it seems many people want to make a splash. 

Andrea Morrison, co-owner of Wensum Pools in Fakenham, says demand has been huge.  

Mrs Morrison, who has run the multi-million pound business with husband Sydney since 1977, said sales have been "absolutely crazy" with people not only putting down deposits for pools but also buying DIY supplies to build their own. 

A delivery of hot tubs at Wensum Pools

A delivery of hot tubs at Wensum Pools - Credit: Wensum Pools

"We've seen turnover increase 20pc since this time last year. Part of it is because people aren't going on holiday and they're having people over - but the majority of it I believe is because people haven't been able to exercise," she said. 

"The thing is it's not like people are having small pools put in - they're proper, large pools. I think people just haven't been travelling and have some money to spend and quite frankly, they want to.

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"The other thing is hot tubs and again, people aren't buying the ones which are a few thousand pounds. They're spending in excess of £12,000. 

Wensum Pools & Hot Tubs showroom in Fakenham

Wensum Pools & Hot Tubs showroom in Fakenham - Credit: Wensum Pools & Hot Tubs

"I think they've just decided now is the time to get their dream hot tub. I was so nervous about selling virtually but hardly anyone is saying no to suggestions at the moment because they want to make the investment. 

"We flick through a page of hot tubs and suddenly people are asking about gazebos and add ons - it's been absolutely wonderful. We are raring to get back though, I've got about 100 hot tubs stocked up for people to buy when they can see it in person in April."

The team at Fakenham Garden Centre has been similarly busy with "crazy" demand - however such success has bought some supply chain disruption. 

Owner Martin Turner said: "Plants have mainly been what has sold the most - it's been absolutely mad. Barbecues and garden furniture have also been very busy but we have seen some issues with that. 

 Fakenham Garden Centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham Garden Centre. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

"For example I know that some of the stock ultimately intended for us is stuck either on the boat, or backed up because of the boat, currently in the Suez. Luckily we found stock from elsewhere."

He added: "It could cause problems down the line. For example we've seen so many seeds sold this year that I suspect next year will see a shortage in demand because so much has been sold forward."

And people are readying their patios for dinner parties, according to John Slatter of Chairs and Tables in Beccles. 

He said the lockdown had been very beneficial for his business as not only has demand increased tenfold, but deliveries have been much closer to home. 

"It's been very interesting because I've seen demand go up a great deal - I've had 71 orders this month compared to 8 orders this time last year," he said. 

"Not only that but I've seen people buying larger pieces of furniture because people are having dinner outside instead of inside to abide by the rules. 

"I've also seen the sales of six foot benches go up a lot compared to smaller pieces because people want to be able to have a socially distanced sit down."

Likewise he had also had supply chain issues - however more relating to capacity. 

He said: "I've seen shipping costs for supplies rise by about 400pc. That's not to do with the Suez - that's simply because containers going back to China and vice versa have been more full of PPE. As a result there's less space and so the prices have risen dramatically."