Updated January 2, 2020
Garden Goods Direct Grade: C+
Overall rating: 78.0
Location: Bowie, MD
Why do we list location? This is so you can know, in most cases, where the evergreen shrubs you buy are coming from.
You can read details on what each category means and how we score it here.
|Years site Active||4.5|
|Range of sizes||8.5|
Garden Goods Direct Review
The Overall grade for Garden Goods Direct went down by 1 point; their grade stayed the same at a C+. A lot of the same issues we've brought up before still exist. What's worse is they keep making the same mistakes. It's almost like they can't get out of their own way.
Here's a perfect example. When we looked at the site on January 2nd they had a banner up top that said; "10% off all products" with a coupon code listed to use. On the home page there were 3 more sales banners sliding across that say you can get 15% off winter shrubs, knock out roses and camellia's. There's no mention of needing a coupon. So, does that mean we will get 25% off plants in those 3 categories? Plus, there's free shipping on orders over $99. Already our heads were swimming with too many numbers.
But wait, there's more!
So we clicked on the camellia sales banner. Here's the kicker; it didn't take us to their Camellia's for sale. It was confusing. Took a few minutes. Kept going back & forth before we realized the Camellia sales banner took us to a general "On Sale" page. It's odd because if you clicked on the Knock Out Rose sales banner, it takes you to their knock out roses. The first Camellia we saw was after scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the page.
If that's not bad enough, they don't show what discount is on any of these sales items. We used our trusty calculator & discovered pretty much all the sales prices were NOT 15% off their list price. There's so many discounts, sales, codes, numbers. It's like going into one of the old K-marts and having everything flashing a blue light special.
They have made some revisions to their cart page. Just a few things to be aware of. They now offer the popular extended 1 year warranty. It looks like the price they charge ranges in $5 increments. Buy a $23 shrub, pay $5. A $70 sub-total puts the 1 year warranty at $10. They're charging a lot more then many of their peers. It's not worth it in our opinion.
And you need to know their terms; "To claim your warranty, we require a photo of the plant and its surroundings to verify that the plant condition has met our warranty terms". And if they approve your claim, you don't get your money back, just a store credit, excluding shipping.
Their checkout page has been cleaned up. Looks like they listened to someone who knew what they were talking about to remove some distractions. There is, however, some verbiage you need to be aware of. There's a question mark nest to 'shipping' on the checkout page that pops open a window with a very long Shipping Policy.
The very last paragraph is some pretty fancy legalese. An when we say fancy, we mean it is good for them, not necessarily for you.
Note: All purchases completed on www.gardengoodsdirect.com are done so in accordance with the shipping contract. This means that the risk of losing an item and property rights associated with the item are transferred to you (the purchaser) when we remit the item to the carrier.
Garden Goods Direct has also raised their prices. We ordered 3 Camellia's from them in November, 2019. You can view unboxing pictures here. One of our biggest reason for ordering were their prices. They were less then most other reputable online nurseries. We just checked and the same Camellia's we ordered a year ago have gone up in price ranging from 17% to 25%.
Garden Goods Direct debuted a re-designed site spring of 2019. They took a pretty big hit in traffic from the popular search engines, like Google. It appears that although some of the traffic has returned, you may still have some difficulty finding them when searching for some of their most popular evergreen trees & shrubs.
It's obvious they are still tweaking and making improvements. Some are very cool and useful. Others, in our opinion, not so much. I'm sure they're working hard to improve the site, it's just painfully obvious they probably know plants well, not so much with websites and online marketing. Or worse, they think they do know how to market an online nursery.
Garden Goods Direct is also known as Woodie's Garden Goods but we always wondered; Is there really a Woodie? Yes, there really is a Woodie and we spoke to him! Very nice guy and very knowledgeable about all things plant related.
Garden Goods Direct has posted a couple of videos with Woodie hosting. Here's one. The quality of the evergreens in this video are impressive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP0pg0btfv0&feature=youtu.be
Between talking to Woodie and the quality of the plants ordered it has us convinced us that they emphasize sending quality plants.
There were a couple of things that made us a bit nervous. Garden Goods Direct pricing when we ordered last year was one of the primary reasons we were willing to place our first order. Of course, if I were them, I would try to charge a bit more. There are still deals to be found relative to their competitors.
There is a discrepancy with the number of reviews and the average rating for them. They have ads running on Google that says they have a 4.0 rating with 124 reviews. Google, however, shows 260 reviews with a 4.2 rating. You can read the Google customer reviews here.
You would think Garden Goods Direct ads would want to show the Google number with a higher rating with more reviews. There's also not a lot of product reviews. At least not that we could find. That seems unusual for a site that has been around as long as they have. Garden Goods Direct does have over 2,000 Etsy reviews with a pretty high rating. That's a plus.
We're not trying to scare you away. Let's put it this way, we would order from them again, depending on what is specifically was.
As an added bonus Garden Goods Direct is offering a 10% off coupon (code is CART10) as well as free shipping on orders over $99. If you sign up to their email list, you will get a 15% off coupon. No, you can't use them both on the same order. (again with all the discounts, coupons & codes, oh my!)
It appears they're associated with Patuxent Garden Center. We came to this brilliant deduction because they share the same address. Well, that and we also visited Garden Goods and saw that they shared space & ownership.
Woodie's Garden Goods has an impressive number of evergreen trees & shrubs. Mostly 1 and 3 gallon sizes. They also offer a wide selection of deciduous trees & shrubs, perennials and even house plants.
Our bottom line is that they are plant people, not necessarily online marketing people. That's not a totally bad thing!
What were the red flags? We deducted three points for the following reasons.
- Their guarantee and return policies are very similar to Nature Hills. That's not necessarily a good thing. You will get a 50% store credit if something you bought from them dies. They do cover that for a full year where others charge for a full 1 year guarantee. They also charge a 10% ($10 minimum) if you cancel an order before it ships. Fulfilling orders for live plants is not easy. It's not like a robot pulling a product off a shelf in a warehouse somewhere. Having worked in the business, and actually spending time in fields pulling trees & shrubs for orders, I can vouch that it is labor intensive.
- Conflicting number of reviews online between their Google ads and Google itself. Very few product reviews as well.
- Their domain authority dropped 9 points in spring. Not a huge concern other than they dropped more than any other online nursery we review and haven't recovered from the drop. In fact, it went down another point in the last month.
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