Invite Strangers To Your Backyard Through Camp In My Garden
My college professors would be so proud–when I think UK and garden party, my mind immediately jumps to Virginia Wolf and Katherine Mansfield. Yes, I read a lot of short fiction as an undergraduate. For entrepreneur Victoria Webbon, the well-manicured lawns of England inspired the beginning of a very different kind of story. A camping business story.
A Tent Where?
A chartered surveyor by trade, Webbon was observing the landscape on a walk to the hallowed tennis grounds of Wimbledon when inspiration struck. She looked at the neighborhood lawns and envisioned campsites. Three years later, she launched Camp in my Garden, a site that connects homeowners willing to rent out a patch of their grass with campers looking for an alternative to more traditional lodging or to Britain’s overcrowded campsites. An AirBnB for outdoor lovers.
More Trellises, Please
She may need to hire a few more groundskeepers to help her tend the business. The site attracted 1,100 members in its first month. More than 2,500 people now visit daily. Over 600 gardens have been registered, and Camp in my Garden adds up to ten new garden options each day.
The site is as much about growing community as it is a business. Webbon aspires to create a network of campsites where, “Everyone will welcome and be welcomed into our gardens with open arms and hearts, sharing in one passion for the universal adventure that is life.”
The ethos has helped grow Camp in my Garden’s popularity, especially near music festivals and sporting events–well before the Olympic Games. Her business gives homeowners a chance to earn a little extra money, play host and meet interesting travelers, while giving campers a unique experience.
I spent nearly three months after my intense college reading days camping on the grounds of a farmhouse in Italy while working the fall grape harvest. It was the only way I could have afforded to stay the season. I also had the chance to see what life was like for the locals and really get a feel for the countryside of Barolo. Sleeping outdoors with the scent of fresh-crushed grapes made for quite a few nights of sweet dreams. Maybe if I hadn’t drank so much wine it would’ve occurred to me that a lot of people would be interested in a similar experience. I suppose they’re are pickers and growers – I look forward to a night’s repose in one of Webbon’s gardens.
Peeking Over The Hedge
At the moment, there’s no fee for homeowners to offer up space on Camp in My Garden, but as the business continues to expand beyond the need of simply raising attention, Webbon anticipates taking a small percentage. Expect advertising in the near future as well, as the startup outgrows its bootstrapped seed box.
Search the site by location or event. Camp in my Garden has already gone international with gardens across Europe joined in the camping community. Find “bamping” opportunities (your basic camp experience) or go “glamping” (camping with fancier ammenities). One “landlord” lets visitors use his hot tub. Another “campsite” that Webbon hopes to visit herself has an outdoor cinema. Maybe soon the phrase “garden party” will make minds leap to an original Camp in my Garden glamping story.