While every garden is different there are key garden trends each year that can help to reshape how we curate an outdoor haven for entertaining and relaxing.
In recent years, gardens and outdoor spaces have proved invaluable, with many people benefiting not only from the enjoyment of being outside and in their gardens but have found these spaces beneficial from a wellbeing and sustainable living perspective too. This has had an influence on both interior design trends and garden trends for 2022 and will continue to shape how we value our outdoor spaces for years to come.
From popular planting color schemes and ornamental edibles, to creating outdoor living rooms, this year's garden trends offer all manner of great ideas to update any outdoor space. We spoke to leading landscape gardeners, members of the Society of Garden Designers and planting experts to gain an insight into the most coveted gardening trends to enjoy this summer...
Key garden trends for 2022
Whether you're updating an intimate balcony, perking up a patio ready for entertaining or sprucing up a sprawling lawn, the newest trends are here to help your gardening journey...
1. Creating an outdoor living room
Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living is most definitely one of the biggest garden trends happening right now, where homeowners are looking to expand their lifestyles to incorporate outdoor space.
Outdoor living is no longer seen as a wellbeing trend, and instead is becoming a new way of life for many. So, in the spirit of living outdoors, the trend for mirroring our interior decor choices outside perfectly sets the scene for entertaining and spending downtime in style. Think of it as picking up your living room furniture and quite literally placing it outside, from comfy corner sofas to recline in the sun to practical coffee tables for setting down refreshments and outdoor rugs for dressing floors.
Sabina Miller, buying director at Heal’s comments: “Outdoor spaces, both large and small, are increasingly being used as an extension to the home, and we’re continuing to see customers make the most of this extra space, due to the shift towards flexible working from home, rising property prices and the proven benefits of spending more time outside."
“Whether used to relax, work or entertain, the key to creating a functioning alfresco space is ensuring you have suitable outdoor furniture that will offer the same comfort and durability that you would expect from indoor designs" advises Sabrina.
"Cushioned seating provides a sumptuous spot to relax in the summer sunshine, whilst a robust woven backrest will offer plenty of ergonomic support. Look for weather-resistant materials, such as powder-coated aluminium, teak wood and natural ceramic, which carry durable qualities to ensure your pieces are protected from the ever-changing, often unpredictable climate.No matter how much space you have available, it’s worth investing in a robust outdoor table" she adds.
2. Imperfect landscaping
Joy to the ears of those less green-fingered outdoor fans, who enjoy the garden itself as opposed to the hobby of gardening and the maintenance that comes with it. "The future aesthetic of garden design will be a more relaxed one," says Andrew Duff MSGD, Vice Chair of the Society of Garden Designers.
"We will become more accepting of the imperfections in our world which make it even more beautiful. The romantic and overgrown look which I enjoy creating will give you the time to actually sit back and enjoy your garden whilst establishing a robust and adaptable space flourishing in the unpredictable weather'.
In agreement with the imperfect landscaping trend is garden designer Ann-Marie Powell MSGD who predicts ’nature-scaping’ and ‘curated wildling’ are set to be the biggest buzz words in the world of gardening throughout 2022. "I’d say the trend for this year is the immersive, natural, wildlife garden."
Ann-Marie shares how her studio is receiving increasing enquiries from clients wanting their finished gardens to look effortlessly pulled together. "People want gardens that look like they are ‘of nature’ rather than the more obviously designed spaces." So planting is loose, with long grasses taking centre stage, and hard landscaping and garden paths are rustic and less structured.
3. Grow your own
Any outdoor plot, big or small, has the potential to supply a household with fresh produce all year round. Growing your own is not a new idea but 2022 sees its popularity grow exponentially as a key gardening trend.
Marshalls Garden believes the tough economic climate is driving demand for grow-your-own even more than in recent years, with homeowners potentially saving hundreds of pounds by growing produce in their own gardens.
The gardening powerhouse has witnessed a significant uplift in demand for seeds and plants to channel the grow your own trend. Last year the company’s seed sales rose by 130 per cent; young veg plants soared by 118 per cent and fruit sales rose by 55 per cent.
Inspired by this, Marshalls Garden Managing Director, Mark Sage tells us how he believes "flowers, fruit and vegetables can sit happily side-by-side, resulting in an abundance of sustainable and beautiful produce that cuts supermarket bills and reduces food miles to footsteps.”
The key to growing your own produce is finding the right area in your garden to cultivate delicious, edible goods. The misconception is that this requires masses of space, you don't, but you do need a level area with a good amount of sunlight exposure to build growing beds.
4. Cultivating low maintenance lawns
In a bid to encourage homeowners to stay loyal to natural turf, rather than be lured to the appeal of no-mow artificial grass options which have become popular, the greats in the world of gardening are championing low maintenance lawns. Monty Don has been an advocate of this laidback approach for some time, where he encourages fellow gardeners to let the lawn grow a little longer.
Keen to introduce a ‘tapestry lawn’, as an alternative to the normal grass lawn’ is garden designer Ana Sanchez-Martin MSGD, 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."
5. Fashionable grasses
With the movement for wilder looking gardening schemes, it's no surprise that grasses are having a real trend moment. Grasses in borders and pots dotted around the garden are a brilliant way to add texture and layers to planting and you can usually find these types of grasses alongside the usual shrubs and bulbs when shopping for plants online.
"Grasses are always popular and none more so than this year," explains professional gardener Rachel Morgan,@Terra_Legra. "People are realising what good value plants grasses are - they add instant impact, provide height and movement, can easily and affordably be repeated throughout borders to give an effortlessly beautiful effect. My favourites are Stipa Pony Tails and Panicum Virgatum Heavy Metal."
6. Planting a canvas of color
Just as interior paint color trends for 2022 and fashion trends this year have seen a burst of color, so are garden trends leaning towards bold and sunny shades. Think rainbow brights for borders and bedding plants to create a canvas of color to accentuate the luscious greenery of surrounding evergreen shrubs and grass.
Pick shades that complement one another and group complementary colours together: reds, yellows and oranges, whites and blues, and purples and pinks.
Experimenting with color is one of the most exciting things about designing a garden for many gardeners. Professional gardener 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."
To embrace the vibrancy without overpowering the whole plot, consider keeping the color to dedicated areas. Outdoor pots are always a great way to add accents of colour around any outdoor space, to elevate a color scheme with minimal effort.
7. Installing natural pools
After spending more time at home, combined with missing out on holidays, people are looking to add a little bit of luxury to their gardens this year. While an amazing swimming pool feels like a luxury hotel, there's something about a natural swimming pond that feels more at home with nature.
Gardener Fi Boyle MSGD has found clients wanting to incorporating luxuries that you might ordinarily go away to enjoy, in their own backyards instead: "Pools, particularly natural swimming ponds, are definitely one of these luxuries," she explains.
Ana Sanchez-Martin MSGD is also 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.
8. Dividing and zoning
An ideal way to make more of any garden is to dedicate allotted zones to each outdoor activity, whether that be with thoughtful structured planting or decorative garden screening.
Separate a chill-out sanctuary from a busy decked area dedicated to entertaining, or a play area, to ensure each area has its own space within the same plot. By breaking the flow with decorative screening you are signalling a different use for each space, without enclosing any valuable ground coverage to make the garden feel smaller.
9. Introducing splashes of bold color
Outdoor paints have come a long way over the years, it's no longer just masonry paints for the front of house. This year's trend sees the celebration of paints being more expressive for garden spaces – with inspirational feature walls doing the job of wallpapers, painted patterned floors in place of the indoor decorative tiles and boldly hued fence panels becoming the outdoor equivalent of wood paneling.
"No longer is garden paint just being used on the fence and summerhouse, all your outdoor spaces can enjoy creative color using exterior paint," says Becky Rackstraw at Protek. "Walls, masonry and metal as well as wood can be painted in the latest colours from the same pot to create an stunning and uplifting scheme."
10. Displaying ornamental edibles
It's not all about flowers when it comes to making borders and beds burst with colour and visual delight. The latest trend sweeping the gardening world is that of ornamental edibles.
"With gardens at new-build properties becoming smaller and allotments in short supply nationwide, we’re witnessing an increase in demand for high-yielding edibles that can be grown alongside flowers in tiny spaces" explains Mark Sage, Managing Director at Marshalls Garden.
"The trend for planting flowers and edibles side-by-side is blurring the lines between traditional flower borders and vegetable patches, with both becoming intertwined to maximise every available inch of space."
11. Outdoor kitchens
It's not just living rooms that are migrating outside, it's kitchens too. It seems that we can't get enough of entertaining friends in the garden and traipsing back through the house to cook and prep food just isn't the most practical of set-ups. A big kitchen trend for 2022, outdoor kitchens create a more immersive experience for all, with guests present while the food is being prepared which means no chef is left out of the talk around the table.
Catering for all budgets, this garden trend can be adapted to please any garden. If you're looking for a cheaper option a simple freestanding island unit on wheels can be placed next to the BBQ or pizza oven to act as a preparation for the chef and create a kitchen area, without the need for installing electrics and plumbing for a full outdoor kitchen experience.
12. Sustainable choices
Like all industries in 2022, gardens and those who cultivate them are looking for ways to make their business more sustainable and support the ecosystem.
“I think gardens in the future will be a bit more rustic, more practical, but really focused on immersing people into their little bit of micro-nature," says Mark Laurence MSGD. "I hope gardens become less pretentious, and an eco-status symbol, if we really need such things.”
“I feel there is a big movement towards good environmental schemes, supporting wildlife and reducing our carbon footprint.” says Jilayne Rickards MSGD. She says the move has been driven by a greater awareness of the terrible climate situation mankind has created.
Garden designer Ben Chandler MSGD believes the combination of increased awareness of the carbon footprint and rising costs of importing goods will lead to an emphasis on locally sourced materials, plants and products: “I hope that means more support for smaller specialist plant nurseries and brings opportunities to local makers and craftspeople when it comes to sourcing furniture and accessories for the garden,” he says.
13. Living walls
Vertical planting aka 'living walls' is one of the hottest gardening trends to emerge in recent years, and it seems the only way is up from here (quite literally). Originally only seen at high-design showrooms and retail spaces the trend has crept into residential gardens.
A wall of greenery welcomes a unique touch to your space, and best of all this planting style suits any outdoor plot. From small courtyards to sprawling backyards, living walls will make the most of your space. Whether used for covering up plain exterior walls or to make best use of a limited balcony garden, vertical planting is a winning way to elevate any tricky gardening space.
Vertical planting systems can range from something as simple as plant pots hung on vertical frames attached to an exterior wall, to highly sophisticated modular, hydroponic panels from which water and nutrients are delivered and electronically monitored.
What you choose will very much depend on the look you wish to achieve and of course your budget. This trend is highly adaptable to suit the space it's catering for. You could even go artificial if you really want an easy life, the choice is totally up to you – the only rule for this trend is to plant upwards to utilize garden walls.
14. Sowing wildflowers
In harmony with the garden trends for wilder landscapes and the plight of aiding the bees, meadow flowers are proving hugely popular. Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles explains, "Wildflowers are high on gardeners’ priority lists with more than a third of those surveyed (38%) keen to bring more wildflowers to their garden space.”
“The best time to sow annual wildflower seeds is March to May, to flower this year, or perennial varieties in September to October for flowering the following year. Scatter packs can be sown directly from the box to your garden soil as an easy solution."
“Anyone can plant wildflowers, even if you don’t have a garden space as they can thrive in window boxes or plant pots on balconies. The more wildflowers you plant the better it will be for your local wildlife, so planting across your whole lawn will give the greatest benefit. Wildflowers are hugely attractive for bees and other pollinators alike and do remember to plant in an open sunny position for greatest success.”
15. Welcoming wildlife
Welcoming wildlife into our green spaces continues to go from strength to strength, with all creatures great and small welcome. Speaking of this growing trend gardener Rachel Bailey, MSGD, says, "I think our gardens will be much wilder and offer a greater refuge for wildlife and greater connection for people to nature".
Water is the easiest way to encourage wildlife into the garden, from water baths to ponds the draw of water attracts all manner of wildlife. While it's important to cater for wildlife it's also important to ensure their safety. A top tip for ponds - or any other sources of water deeper than a few centimetres - is to ensure there's a way out should any small animals fall in. For example, with a pond try stacking rocks or bricks inside the pool at the edge, this will create a staircase of sorts for the wildlife to escape if need be.
16. Hanging flower baskets
Hanging baskets have always been a firm favourite for many a gardener, but this year suspended baskets of blooms are proving hugely popular according to Dobbies' Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyes:
“Hanging baskets are incredibly on trend this year. They’re a perfect way to add your favourite plants, flowers and herbs to any size of garden, and even work well for balcony areas.”
17. Shifting focus to the front of the house
Front gardens are often overlooked when it comes to the consideration of gardening tasks, but this year is set to see that change as homeowners look to make a good first impression from their front yard.
"I'm getting a lot of interest from people selling houses, wanting a quick gardening fix so the garden, particularly around the front door, looks good for the photos" explains Rachel Morgan garden stylist from Terra Legra. "Pots, window boxes and hanging baskets do the trick here, but for baskets I like to use longer lasting plants such as hebes, trailing ivy and small ferns for something a bit different from the usual brightly coloured styles."
Rachel adds, "Doing this 'spruce to sell' service is a hugely satisfying task because it really is an instant garden. Perennials and evergreens in containers mean it looks instantly cheery, and they can take the containers with them when they move."
18. Glasshouse living
An emerging trend within the world of out buildings is the evolution of the greenhouse, that is fast becoming a garden room for downtime as well as a functioning gardening den.
"With customers still looking for ways to enhance their home life, Glasshouses are becoming increasingly unique and inspired," explains Tom Barry, CEO of Hartley Botanic. "Customers are adding internal partitions to separate growing and relaxing areas, are using architects to incorporate Glasshouses into their properties in interesting ways and adding individual elements like tiled floors, chandeliers and abutting sheds."
Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.
With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.
A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.
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