Make the most of your garden, whether you want to dine al fresco, grow your own veg or enjoy the many health-giving benefits of the great outdoors
As we head into the new year with thoughts of warmer weather and time spent outdoors, some of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) leading designers give their predictions on the hot new garden trends for 2018, including the planting, materials and design styles we can expect to see in our gardens this year.
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Want more garden trends? READ: Small garden ideas to make the most of a tiny space
1. Outdoor living
According to award-winning garden designer John Wyer FSGD outdoor structures are set to be big in 2018, and not just your average summerhouse. ‘Plug and Play’ pergolas – with integrated drainage, lighting and heating will be the must-have garden feature, while outdoor kitchens will also continue to grow in popularity, with dedicated spaces for cooking, eating and entertaining becoming a central focus.
2. Asymmetrical schemes
While polygonal paving was big at RHS Chelsea last year, it’s all about asymmetry in 2018 believes the Society of Garden Designers. Prepare to see a contemporary update on the classic crazy paving with large-scale natural indigenous stone says Cassandra Crouch MSGD. Gardens will also feel less structured, as geometric lines and hard surfaces are softened by planting, and edges are broken down to create the feeling of a garden that has been there for years.
3. Ecological gardens
Designer James Scott MSGD believes that gardens designed to benefit the environment and encourage wildlife will also be big in 2018 with native plants and locally sourced materials becoming increasingly popular. Similarly, as interest in producing our own food continues to grow, we will see a trend towards edible planting with greenhouses making a comeback
4. Copper accents
Copper, both as a material and colour will make a big impact in 2018, according to Paul Hensey FSGD. Weathering to a beautiful bluish-green patina, hard landscaping in copper can provide a wonderful sense of warmth to planting and a contrast to surrounding gravel, stone or wood.
Where a perpetual copper colour is preferred, copper-effect stainless steels will be a popular alternative while, more generally, we will see a move away from shiny stainless steel finishes says Cassandra Crouch MSGD, with a natural weathered patina becoming popular instead.
5. Wood-effect tiles
We’ve already seen them becoming increasingly popular in interior design, and now wood-effect porcelain tiles look set to become a trend in garden design suggests designer John Wyer FSGD who first used them two years ago on his award-winning garden at the RHS Chelsea flower show. Hard-wearing, scratch, stain and heat-resistant, in 2018 we’ll see them used for both flooring and cladding in a variety of patterns.
After taking centre stage in James Basson’s award-winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year, Limestone is set to make a return to the domestic garden this year, with the introduction of harder-wearing mid-toned stones rather than the bright white varieties of a few years ago, reflecting the natural, warm colour palettes popular in interior design. Adolfo Harrison MSGD also predicts a trend towards mixing different stones together to reflect the various colours and tones within the garden itself.
7. Textured paving
Hand-made bricks and textured paving blocks will be big in 2018 believes designer Jane Finlay, their irregularities and imperfections bringing a natural element to small urban gardens; while end-grain oak blocks, replicating original wooden cobbles, still seen in historic settings such as Blenheim Palace, are also predicted to be popular.
8. Plant shrubs
It’s all about shrubs this year say designers from the Society of Garden Designers. We’ll be moving away from naturalistic perennials and grasses to provide accent and structure to the garden according to Cassandra Crouch MSGD, while interest in exotic and unusual specimens will be particularly prevalent, says John Wyer FSGD. Euonymus oxyphyllus, an elegant, slow growing shrub from Korea is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its rich, emerald green leaves which turn to shades of yellow, bronze and red in the autumn, and produce a spectacular show of colour in the summer from its cherry-like fruits.
Want more garden trends inspiration? READ: 7 ways to make your garden cosy in winter
9. Low level woodland plants
A trend seen at the new NEO Bankside development opposite London’s Tate Modern, low level woodland-style planting mixing ferns, mosses, anemones and tufted grasses is something we can expect to see more of in 2018 says designer Adolfo Harrison MSGD, working particularly well in tricky shaded city gardens.
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10. Architectural plants
Sharp architectural planting contrasting with softer organic hard finishes will also be popular says Jane Finlay, sometimes mixed with country-style planting to blend sharper elements together. Plants such as the Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) or Chamaerops humilis (dwarf fan palm) will be popular alongside Tetrapanax papyrifera ‘Rex’ which, with it’s height and 2ft palmate leaves, can transform even the most humble planting around it in to something far more exotic says Adolfo Harrison MSGD.
Want more garden trend ideas? Whether you’re in need of a complete garden re-design or simply want to upgrade what you already have, the gardening enthusiasts at The Greenhouse People have done the legwork for you and provided their list of the top 2018 trends you need to know about.
11. Japanese themed
There’s an inspiring new way of looking at your garden which is good news for the more hands-off amongst us. Wabi-sabi – an acceptance of the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death – is nothing new for the Japanese who have been practicing this art since the 15th Century, but for the Western world it couldn’t be further away from the never-ending quest for perfection.
The key here is balancing nature and nurture, so sit back, relax and reflect on the beauty of your garden’s natural imperfections. Overgrown perennials, moss-covered stones, rusty iron gates and weathered pots are suddenly bang on-trend.
12. Alfresco living
Despite the unpredictable British weather, the nation is embracing the Mediterranean lifestyle, with sales of garden furniture, barbecues and accessories expected to grow by 3 to 4 percent annually up to 2021.
Outdoor entertaining and kitchen areas will be a key trend for Spring/Summer 2018 – perfect for those of us who lack space in our kitchens or dining rooms, as we can move entertaining friends and family outside. Create a dedicated area with comfy furniture and mood lighting, complete with a sunken fire pit, BBQ or pizza oven.
For more garden trends READ: Brilliant budget garden ideas that will boost your outdoor space without breaking the bank!
13. Purple planting
All hail the trend-setters at Pantone who have created the perfect 2018 colour palette to experiment with in the garden. The ‘Verdure’ palette features colours naturally found in lush vegetation and woodland – think berry-infused purple, red wood, eggshell blue and foliage green.
Introduce accents of colour with clay pots, holding pops of purple-coloured flowering herbs like Lavender, Rosemary and Thai Basil. If you have wooden fencing or furniture, give them a new lease of life by sanding them down before splashing on a coat of eggshell blue paint to complement the shades of your new plants.
14. Grow your own
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 and a growing appreciation of organic produce, in 2018 the grow your own movement will really see a resurgence.
If you’re serious about becoming more self-sufficient, a greenhouse can increase your yield of beautifully 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 as they make use of vertical space. Salad leaves, herbs and tomatoes grow well in boxes on balconies and patios and cost a fraction of the supermarket price too.
Garden trends for beginners READ: Allotment ideas for beginners – tips for grow-your-own newbies
15. Healing houseplants
Indoor plants are coming back into fashion in a big way and not purely for aesthetic reasons. As well as purifying the air we breathe of harmful toxins according to NASA, indoor plants can also reduce stress, control humidity and lower sound pollution.
To promote better sleep, place snake plants in your bedroom which give out bursts of oxygen at night to support better breathing. Aloe Vera works well in kitchens to neutralise benzene found in detergents and plastics.
Not seen since the Seventies, indoor hanging planters are making a comeback as a quirky way of displaying houseplants. (We have them in our office, too). Group different colours, shapes and textures together for maximum impact.
What about indoor garden trends? READ: 5 houseplants that are (near) impossible to kill
16. Make in mindful
Mindfulness – the ancient Buddhist tradition of immersing yourself in the present moment – has become a huge buzzword in well-being over the past few years and it’s set to have a strong influence over how we design and appreciate our gardens in 2018.
Focus on incorporating elements which stimulate the senses – like accents of calming blues and energising yellows, pots of strongly-scented therapeutic Lavender and a water feature to create a relaxing ambience.
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Will you be incorporating any of these garden trends into your outdoor space?