Garden Design Magazine Blooming Back in Print

[responsive]Garden Design Magazine[/responsive]Garden Design Magazine is back in print, with the tagline “The Magazine of Outdoor Design + Garden Aesthetics,” according to Valerie Easton writing for the Seattle Times. And the magazine, being relaunched in print after a year of being dark, is eschewing ads.

“Even though the glossy mag (founded in 1982) had gone through editorial changes and shrunk in size during its last few years, it was a shock when it ceased publication with the April 2013 issue,” Easton notes. So she was thrilled to learn that the magazine is being resurrected by two new owners.

“Business associates Jim Peterson and Thad Orr just happened to read in The Wall Street Journal that Garden Design was shutting down. Both live in Southern California, are gardeners and fans of the magazine. Neither had experience with consumer magazines; Peterson publishes the trade website Concrete Network. Nevertheless, Peterson bought the 31-year-old Garden Design trademark, archives and website, planning to revive the magazine online only,” writes Easton.

That digital-only plan changed after the two talked to their potential audience.

“We kept hearing over and over again how much people wanted a print edition,” says Orr, who is now editor-in-chief. “I don’t think print is dead, especially for highly visual publications.”

The pair looked to an unusual business model to launch their retooled magazine, according to Easton.

“Early on, they rejected the ad-based model used by most magazines, including Garden Design in its previous incarnation,” Easton notes. “They looked to Surfer’s Journal, a magazine that for 25 years has worked on a reader-supported, advertising-free model. This means that subscribers pay more of the cost of the magazine. But because ads aren’t taking up space, there’s more room for content.”

“So much effort goes into the ads, that it’s like the tail wagging the dog,” said Orr by way of explaining their philosophy.

Their new content model puts the emphasis on design, the “whys” behind the design choices rather than the “how-tos.” And at 132 pages, their autumn issue looks to be backed with great content. And no ads.

With subscriptions booming, according to the publisher, they are already planning a larger issue next quarter. Watch for Garden Design to hit the newsstands within the next couple of weeks.