We’ve had our first taste of sunshine already this year, filling us with hope of a great summer ahead. In recent years our gardens have become more important than ever, with more of us taking up gardening for wellbeing and sustainability. With the sunshine there’s the promise of plenty of time spent outdoors for the months ahead. Prepare to enjoy that time in style as our experts, across all fields of garden expertise, share their predictions on the hottest new garden trends for 2022.
Make the most of your garden this year – whether you want to grow your own vegetables, dine alfresco or enjoy the many health and wellness benefits of spending time in the great outdoors.
Garden trends 2022
Gardens mean something different to everyone, because no outdoor space is the same. For some it’s a sanctuary to spend long balmy summer days relaxing, while others prefer pottering, planting and pruning at all times. To families it’s a place for dining alfresco and spend evenings round your best buy firepit. Whichever appeals to you it’s the same principle – our gardens are a space for fun, relaxation and enjoyment. Our vision for gardens of 2022 is all about getting the most from our outdoor spaces.
‘The overarching trend for 2022 is that good design does not have to cost the earth both in terms of budget and the environment’ says Society of Garden Designers Vice Chair Andrew Duff MSGD.
‘In 2022 we will see gardens with a strong underlying structure which allows for a wilder planting scheme. Although native planting will be at the forefront, the actual layout of the planting will follow those large drifts of contrasting colours and textures.’
‘We will be looking more to nature for inspiration, learning to embrace the seasons and celebrate them more. Winter gardens will be particularly dominant with designers embracing the simplicity of the skeletal shape of deciduous trees and the bareness of soil awaiting the wonders of spring.’
So without further ado, here we reveal the latest garden trends to inspire our outdoor spaces…
1. Wild gardens
‘I’d say that the trend for this year is the immersive, natural, wildlife garden and, to be honest, this thrills me to the core!” says designer, broadcaster and author Ann-Marie Powell MSGD. She says her studio is receiving lots more enquiries from clients wanting natural, loose gardens. ‘People want gardens that look like they are ‘of nature’ rather than the more obviously designed spaces.’
Anne-Marie predicts that ’nature-scaping’ and ‘curated wildling’ will be the buzz words of 2022.
This theory is echoed by Ana Sanchez-Martin MSGD of The Garden Company who says, ‘I am hoping that more and more people will be jumping on the ‘Rewilding wagon’! One of the positive effects of the pandemic is that people now understand the therapeutic effects of gardening. They want to create a sense of sanctuary in their garden, to be surrounded by plants and to be enveloped by nature and to increase biodiversity.’
Wyevale Garden Centres’ senior buying team, combined with survey data from more than 27,000 British gardeners, identified wildlife garden ideas as a growing garden trend. ‘From environmentally conscious shoppers, to wildlife and the weather, today’s gardeners are much more aware of the changes that can be made towards a more sustainable future,’ explains Mark Sage, Head of Horticulture from Wyevale.
‘Nearly 70 per cent of British gardeners buy food for wildlife in their garden. Over 60 per cent make a conscious effort to grow plants that benefit wildlife.
2. Mantra for reuse, recycle and repurpose
‘Recycling and up-cycling is a trend that is set to continue into 2022. Sustainability, whilst not new, is increasingly important not only to us, but to our clients too,’ say Ann-Marie Powell who is escalating the use of repurposed materials by crushing them, for paths, terraces or driveways.
Ann-marie is also championing more sustainable garden ideas path in hard landscaping by using less cement in the garden, and selecting materials that have the lowest carbon footprint.
A fast growing garden trend right now is anything sustainable – including upcycling ideas. I love upcycling existing elements within a garden rather than adding to landfill, says Ana Sanchez-Martin.
‘Last year I managed to save a beautiful old Victorian greenhouse (above) working with a wonderful craftsman who helped me repurpose it and give it a new lease of life. It was a labour of love to clean and restore the old cast iron and design and make new fittings for it, but the result was beautiful to the eye and kind to nature.’
Jilayne Rickards agrees saying: ‘Using pre-owned furniture or ornamentation gives a garden automatic character and, even within a contemporary setting, something aged acting as a counterbalance is wonderful to see.’
3. Using the garden as the fifth room
Blurring the lines between outside and in is still a huge growing trend, as homeowners look to expend living spaces. Whether that’s creating a kitchen garden, a wellness space or acting as an extension to a playroom – we’re looking to extend our lives to our outdoor spaces.
Gardens are fast becoming a space where we are spending more and more of our time with family and friends. Often more than not it needs to flex to meet several purposes – an oasis for quiet contemplation, a play area for children and an entertaining space for social get togethers.
Whether it’s a set of Bi-fold doors to a balcony, or simply an outdoor patio, your home probably has an ideal place to style as a fifth room. With a little imagination there’s an outdoor living room idea for all spaces.
‘I aim to incorporate ‘interior’ elements into my designs, and not just undercover but as part of the open garden” adds Oliver Bond MSGD. ‘This includes fireplaces and built-in outdoor kitchens, but we are also experimenting with entertainment features, such as TVs and sound systems.’
4. Low maintenance tapestry lawns
Even the grass is getting a new look for the new season. The latest trend for lawns sees the grass becoming more low maintenance – no doubt in a bid to encourage gardeners to stick with real grass rather than be lured to the appeal of no-mow artificial.
‘I would love to design and plant a ‘tapestry lawn’, as an alternative to the normal grass lawn’ says Ana Sanchez-Martin, who explains that they are created using a combination of many different mowing-tolerant plant species. ‘Like meadow lawns, they are low in maintenance and of higher ornamental and environmental value.’
‘The need to mow a tapestry lawn can be reduced by up to two thirds compared to a regular grass lawn and, as a consequence, a greater number of both plant and insect species are able to inhabit the lawn. In small urban gardens, meadow lawns are not usually very practical, but a tapestry lawn could be a great solution for city gardens.’
Monty Don has been an advocate of this approach for some time, unlike Alan Titchmarsh who challenges Monty Don’s ‘controversial’ lawn tip.
5. Grow your own
This remains at the forefront of the modern garden. Veganism is one of the fastest growing lifestyle movements with the number of Brits choosing a plant-based diet rising by more than 360 percent over the past decade. Coupled with rising food prices, shortages and a growing appreciation of organic produce, it’s no surprise the grow your own movement will continue to surge in 2022.
Dobbies’ resident garden expert Marcus Eyles puts the growing trend down to, ‘more and more of us looking to include additional vegetables in our diet and the number of people on exclusively plant-based diets increasing.’
He goes on to say, ‘Easy to grow vegetables, salads and herbs suitable for growing in small spaces such as wall planters and patio containers will rise.’
Christopher Ray, Head of Outdoor at B&Q advises, ‘It’s important to find the right area in your garden to cultivate delicious, edible goods. You don’t need masses of space but do look for a level area with a good amount of sunlight exposure to build your bed. Mix and match different sizes of stackable raised beds to create a personalised growing area that suits your space. Finally, select your seeds and then you’re good to grow!’
If you’re serious about becoming more self-sufficient, a greenhouse can increase your yield of fresh fruit and veg all year round.
If space isn’t on your side, legumes (runner beans, broad beans, French beans and peas), squashes and pumpkins are a great option to make use of vertical space. Salad leaves, herbs and tomatoes grow well in boxes on balconies and patios. All costing a fraction of the supermarket price too.
6. Planting jewel colours
Experimenting with colour is one of the most exciting things about creating a new planting palette for any garden. When it comes to use of colour in our gardens for 2022 the brighter the better – create a vision of joy with your planting and furnishings. Use gardens as a celebration of colour, with sunshine shades of apricot orange and tropical greenery to create a garden getaway.
Fi Boyle is a big fan of grouping vibrant jewel colours together. She says; ‘I love to combine strong magenta reds like Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ with moody purples, deep blues, and limes. Adding in plants that have coloured stems and leaves such as Salvia ‘Caradonna’ with the dark purple stem or Sedum ‘Karfunelstein and Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’ for a stunning effect.’
Embrace bold colour says Christopher Ray, Head of Outdoor at B&Q. Saying, ‘your garden should reflect your personal taste, just as much as any other part of your home does. This summer is set to see the return of bold blooms full of riotous colour! Pick shades that complement one another and group complementary colours together: reds, yellows and oranges, whites and blues, and purples and pinks.’
Christopher suggests, ‘To ensure you keep the vibrancy without creating chaos, consider keeping the colour to set areas. For extra impact all year round, use outdoor paint to give exterior walls a pop of colour.’
7. Befriending bees
2022 is set to see an increased demand for plants that attract bees and butterflies to our gardens to aid the ecosystem. Such as Buddleja Berries and Cream, packed full of cone-shaped clusters of flowers, these are a real magnet for bees and butterflies.
For Ann-Marie Powell it’s always about bold, exciting colour with purpose. She says: ‘I have a penchant for acid yellow mixed with warm oranges and deep blue-purples right now.’
The purple and yellow colour combination is something that excites designer Oliver Bond too. ‘It is a fantastic colour scheme to bring bees into gardens,’ he says. ‘And it creates a vibrant blend that stands proud against a cascade of green foliage.’
8. Natural pools and luxe touches
By far the best Grand Designs build of any series ever was the one with the natural swimming pool, it was utterly awe-inspiring. The stuff of dreams…garden dreams apparently.
With more people holidaying at home in the UK, Fi Boyle MSGD has found that the focus has turned to having the luxuries that you might ordinarily go away to enjoy, incorporated into your garden instead. ‘Pools, particularly natural swimming ponds, are definitely one of these luxuries,’ she says.
Ben Chandler MSGD of Farlam & Chandler agrees. ‘With possible further restrictions on travel, our gardens will continue to be personal sanctuaries and a kind of modern-day pleasure garden’ he says.
Ana Sanchez-Martin MSGD is seeing a growing trend for what she calls the ‘boutique hotel syndrome’. “We are finding that more of our clients are asking for elements they would usually enjoy on holidays,’ says Ana.
‘We have seen a marked increase in people requesting swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, firepits, outdoor heaters and lighting.’ But she adds a note of caution: ‘Some of these can have a detrimental effect on the environment, which people don’t always realise, so discussing this with our clients is very important’ she says.
9. Laying patchwork pathways
Designer Filippo Dester says: ‘I’m looking forward to trying out new ideas and materials for permeable surfacing. I’m planning on using Oak setts more, as an alternative to clay paver. And experimenting with different ways of recycling existing stone paving combined with aggregates and low planting to create sustainable and ecological surfaces.’
Ana Sanchez-Martin is on the same track, saying she will be adding texture and interest to the garden by planting low mat-forming species in-between stepping-stones or as a path edging idea. “I want to experiment with plants such as Pratia pedunculata (blue star creeper), Carex divulsa (grey sedge) or Sesleria caerulea (blue moor grass) – instead of the more familiar Alchemilla, Thyme or Stipa,’ she says.
10. Urban gardening
Urban Gardening will continue to be a key garden trend in 2022. Showcasing that everyone, no matter how small their outdoor space, can experience the satisfaction and enjoyment of growing their own food.
From Microgreens on windowsills to home grown potatoes in sacks and dwarf apple trees in patio containers, everyone can benefit from growing vegetables, fruit and herbs in containers of all shapes and sizes. All without the need to plant in the ground.
11. Climate change gardening
Gardening for a changing climate is set to continue to be a key trend going forward. Designer Sue Townsend MSGD says she is creating more ecological gardens to cope with the extreme weather conditions experienced in the UK in recent years. Her advice is to plant the right plants for the conditions of each garden. And store water and to allow excess water to be collected then dissipated through the soil.
For Ann-Marie Powell, using even more plants in order to lock carbon into the soil is a top priority. ‘It negates the requirement for extra imported hard landscaping, looks beautiful and attracts beneficial insects too. It’s a win-win’ she says. ‘I would love to find more suppliers who grow their plants peat-free too.’
When it comes to planting, Ana Sanchez-Martin is trialling alternative growing mediums and substrates in difficult soils, such as heavy clay. She says, ‘Instead of importing tons of organic matter or man-made topsoils, as recommended for decades, new research shows that growing plants in 30cm of coarse sand or on crushed concrete and brick with just with 50mm topsoil, in combination with appropriate plant selection, can yield great results. It’s a very exciting approach which feels both sustainable and practical.”
Echoing this planting style, Filippo Dester says “I think the trend we’ll keep seeing will be a focus on Mediterranean and drought- tolerant planting. We are experimenting with new plants that are indigenous of warmer climates to create alternative planting palettes, whilst constantly re-imagining how the already tried-and-tested species can be mixed with more traditional choices to create innovative, interesting schemes.”
12. Low carbon hard landscaping
Being more aware of the environment factors in this key garden trend. Ben Chandler believes the rising cost of importing goods and the increased awareness of carbon footprint means there will be an emphasis on locally sourced materials, plants and products.
‘I hope that means more support for smaller specialist plant nurseries. Bringing opportunities to local makers and craftspeople when it comes to sourcing furniture and accessories for the garden,’ he says.
When it comes to hard landscaping, Oliver Bond says he is always looking for more efficient ecologically-friendly and less impactful ways of creating his designs. Whether through sustainable materials, greener logistics or less intrusive methods of installation.
‘We have been looking into a universal pedestal system to replace mortar beds beneath garden patios’ he says. ‘It reduces the amount of construction materials required, decreases the impact to the garden and improves storm water management too.’
13. Interior decor outdoors
Making an outdoor space an extension of the indoors with grassless garden ideas is a huge garden trend. As we see sofas, rugs and cushions dressing our patios in the same way they would our living rooms. Garden expert Joe Perkins MSGD is seeing this trend emerging particularly amongst younger generations. These budding garden enthusiasts are looking to style their outside space as they would their interiors. As a result of this new trend he predicts a stark rise in bright coloured accessories and furniture outdoors.
With less of us moving home as often as we once did, we are looking for ways to adapt our homes to meet our changing needs. ‘Taking the ‘don’t move, improve’ approach’ explains Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director at Dobbies Garden Centres. ‘Gardens are being thought of more as an extension of our indoor space, the fifth room some may say.’
14. Garden zoning
Zoning, both indoors and out, makes the best use of an open space. Make more of any garden space available by following the popular garden trend for zoning. CreatE dedicated zones, suitable for each outdoor activity.
Christopher Ray, Category Manager for Outdoor at B&Q shares his tips on how best to zone the modern garden.
- Create a storage zone: ‘It’s important to have the right tools and accessories to cultivate and tend to your garden, and a safe place to store them at the end of the day. Try discreet and secure storage solutions such as garden boxes, that come in a range of materials so that they can easily blend into your space. Look for currently unused spaces, such as alongside your garden shed, and turn it into a storage area to keep the mess at bay!’
- Provide an outdoor playroom: ‘If you’ve got children, building a zone for some outside fun will serve hours of entertainment throughout the Summer. Providing an area that the kids can call their own, gives children a space they can learn to keep tidy after a day of outdoor fun. Playful favourites such as slides, swings and sandpits are all family friendly.’
- Find your zen with a chill out space: ‘Nature has a way of relaxing us, so carve out a space in your garden for quality ‘me time’ where you can unwind. To keep chill-out vibes to a maximum, stick to comfy outdoor furniture such as big padded chairs and hammocks.’
- Zone your own: ‘Having a patch to grow your own can be extremely satisfying.
- Garden party: ‘In the Spring and Summer months, there’s nothing better than an outdoor soiree, so having a dedicated outdoor entertaining area is a must. Position this within easy access of the barbecue or kitchen – you’ll spend less time heading in and out of the house and more time enjoying the Summer sun.’
15. Creating fun for all
‘It’s a case of ‘your garden, your rules’!’ says Christopher Ray at B&Q. ‘This year’s outdoor season will see outdoor family fun ramping up as grown ups get creative with exciting new ways to engage their little ones with the great outdoors.’ From mud gardens to sandpits it’s about creating outdoor fun for little ones.
Children’s gardening ranges offer everything you need to introduce kids to the world of ‘grow-your-own’.
16. Wild and perennial meadow gardens
There’s a surge to take gardens back to a more natural state. This is a continuing trend, after lots of garden designers experimented with wildflower and perennial meadows last year. The good news is you don’t need a large plot to incorporate one into your garden.
As a result Louise Harrison-Holland MSGD tells us she expects planting to have a looser, less clipped feel. She says, ‘This wilder style has been helped along by the increasing use of instant wildflower meadows. I see designers trying to recreate this look with a mix of herbaceous perennials and grasses that have a more permanent structure, helped by the increasing use of shrubs in planting borders.’
Louise also predicts designers will be working with a greater number of varieties creating a much looser style of planting. This is in place of mass block planting of a small number of plant types.
17. Outdoor entertaining
Despite the unpredictable British weather, the nation is embracing the Mediterranean lifestyle as a key garden trend. With sales of garden furniture, barbecues and accessories expected to grow substantially in 2022.
Outdoor entertaining and kitchen areas will be a key trend for modern gardens. Perfect for those of us who lack space in our kitchens or dining rooms. This allows us to move entertaining friends and family outside.
Create a dedicated area with comfy furniture and mood lighting, like this outdoor fairy light idea, complete with a sunken fire pit, BBQ or pizza oven, and don’t forget to include garden shade ideas to keep everyone cool on sunny days.
Continuing garden trends from last year
18. Escape to the country
Blame lockdown, but the trend for moving to the country has never been greater. While the dream is to move out of the city, into the green parishes beyond there’s a lot to be said for creating the country feel in an urban setting. And homeowners are adopting an ‘improve before you move’ mentality. Fill gardens and balconies with rustic potted plants and accessories to create the sense of country living.
Being in the garden can feel like escaping to the country. Helping us to slow down, reduce stress levels and connect with the natural world. Your garden can be a full sensory experience, from the sound of running water, the smell of flowers to the taste of homegrown produce.
19. Multi-sensory spaces
This year’s garden trends for planting schemes continues to focus on innovative displays of colour, fragrance and texture to create fully immersive spaces.
‘Beautiful beds and blossoms form the backdrop to your outdoor space,’ explains Christopher Ray, Category Manager for Outdoor at B&Q. ‘Plants and flowers add depth and texture to your garden. Select a mix of flowering plants such as busy lizzies and pollinators, like lavender, as they can also benefit the wildlife in your garden.’
‘Lavender, a beautifully fragrant pollinator, attracts bees and butterflies, breathing life into your garden. Make sure your growing space has a plentiful supply of sunlight. South-facing plots are always a good sun spot for blooming buds. If your garden is shaded, perennials such as hydrangeas, can add subtle colour to darker spaces.’
20. Freshening up front of house
Garden trends are not just for the back garden! This year it’s as much about the front garden as it is the back garden. In a bid to stand out on the street and boost property value, house-proud Brits are making stylish front garden ideas more of a priority. More than merely a ‘welcome mat’ to our homes, it’s a great space to show a touch of personality.
21. Health and wellbeing
From air purifying plants to plant protein, Wyevale has seen a sharp rise for all things wellness related. For 2022 this garden trend will largely extended to our outdoor living spaces. This trend is spurred by a desire to garden for both physical and mental health benefits.
Which of these garden trends will you be incorporating into your outdoor space?
The Society of Garden Designers has been championing excellence in garden design for over 35 years. It’s the only professional association for garden designers in the UK. Counting some of the UK’s leading garden and landscape designers among its growing members.