Gardens A La Mode
by Lisa De Silva
If you are looking to update your garden, with time and imagination your plot can be transformed into your dream green space.
If you want to make the most of your garden this year and keep abreast with blossoming trends, here’s our guide to what’s hot for summer 2017.
Grow Your Own Garden
As concern about the use of harsh pesticides continues to soar, there is a surging trend for growing our own fruit and veg. This interest in our health will see more of us growing antioxidant rich 100% organic veg, such as asparagus, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. What’s more, the popularity of spiralising will encourage courgette and carrot growing to bloom.
While herbal tea gardens and cooking herbs have become a mainstay of edible gardening, medicinal gardening will also become more popular, reflecting our interest in more natural forms of herbal medicine.
Growing things you can use has also influenced home production of natural dyes for knitting and weaving. Natural dye plants offer a pop of bright colour in the garden and favourites include marigolds, blue cornflowers and purple basil.
The Naturalism Trend
Creating an environmentally friendly plot is also top of many gardeners wish list. This includes developing chemical free pest control by encouraging birds and bats to feast on unwanted insects.
There is also a growing trend to use authentic materials throughout our gardens, with many of us embracing a more rustic kind of charm. The use of stone, wood, trees and shrubs, creates a seamless look to our plots and softer more free flowing designs are the order of the day.
An example of this is the trend in children’s play areas. The once popular plastic and metal climbing frames are being replaced by requests for more natural ‘play spaces’ using wooden structures and old tyres.
The Scandinavian notion of hygge has also influenced this desire to create a more traditional and authentic style of garden. Hygge is all about cosiness, comfort and wellbeing and has encouraged the trend for blankets, hanging chairs, outdoor fireplaces, lanterns, solar lighting and small outside cooking appliances.
While living walls have been around for a while, this year the notion of vertical gardening has really taken off. Many plants can be grown vertically, including herbs, grasses and ferns. A green wall offers many benefits including a reduction in noise pollution, an improvement in air quality and extra insulation for a building. They also look stunning and are perfect for small urban gardens and balconies.
The Smart Garden
As the world becomes increasingly digitalised, the request for a smart garden is another growing trend. With climate change an important consideration, low water landscaping and hi-tech irrigation systems have made it easy to control how much water is delivered to our plants. Smart controllers use weather data to accurately determine how much water our gardens need and advances in technology means that these controllers can now be operated and monitored by a smart phone. With the ability to water your plants from the office or the beach, there’s no need to ever ask your neighbours to water your plants again.
One of the biggest trends in recent years is to bring the inside out, with gardens now being used as extra living space. To make the most of this trend it’s a great idea to recycle, upcycle or repurpose things you already own. For example, an indoor mirror could become an outdoor mirror, unwanted cushions could be recovered for outdoor living and even old sofas and armchairs could be given a new lease of life in the garden.
This fashion for outside living has given rise to the outdoor kitchen, with strong growth in the sales of fire pits, built-in BBQs and wood burning ovens. If you have the room, outdoor sinks and fridges can complete the look. These areas are great for entertaining and this trend is expected to really take hold in the foreseeable future.
The trend for hyperlocalism has not only benefited small artisan producers, but has also been seen in the desire to grow locally sourced plants that will thrive in the soil and conditions in which they first started life. So, expect to see more home grown plants in nurseries and garden centres over the coming years.
Traditional heritage and cottage flowers like foxgloves, peonies, poppies and dahlias are also trending, maybe influenced by the Scandi style for softer and more romantic planting.
Strong robust plants will also feature more prominently, especially hardy perennials and evergreens. This will help to encourage both novice gardeners and those looking for low maintenance plants.
For those with an eye on environmental factors, a wilder style-planting scheme will encourage the birds and bees. It also seems that people want more out of their plants, not only do they need to look lovely but they also need to help purify the air, or provide something edible.
As the size of the average garden continues to shrink, container gardening shows no signs of waning and there is also a trend away from high maintenance lawns. It seems that we want more interest from our plots than simply an expanse of lawn which requires regular mowing and upkeep. In fact, the trend for artificial lawn is still flourishing, particularly owing to improvements in how natural it now looks and feels.