Monday 22 May 2023

The 10 Big Garden Trends for 2023

We're used to seeing trends in fashion and interiors, but there are some big themes taking centre stage in the gardening world this year - so with Chelsea Flower Show happening this week I thought it would be an ideal time to do some research for you to unearth the latest directions and key looks I'm seeing in the gardening world... (hint: gravel is going to be huge!)

Click to view my Garden Design Trends 2023 Pinterest Board

1: Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Gardening

Climate change is forcing gardeners to carefully consider their planting choices, with rising temperatures, harsher weather, and often summer water shortages. Gardeners are in touch with sustainability by nature, so shopping locally, choosing plants that are able to cope with climate changes, and adapting your plans to suit the new conditions are all at the forefront of garden design this year. Drought tolerant plants, the use of mulches to retain moisture in the soil, and Mediterranean style planting is all bang on trend this year. Also plants that flower later into the season as summers go beyond August. Finding tough plants that can tolerate weather extremes, from droughts to floods, is important - the RHS have created a useful list of plants suitable for awkward conditions - click here

2: Colour Trends

Designers are predicting a move towards dark planting colours, intermingled with bright bursts of colour. Combine plants with deep purple, bronze, brown and darkest green stems and foliage, with bright meadow style flowers. For a softer combination, think about mixing smoky purples and soft grey foliage. Mix dark blue, grey and purple hues with small flashes of colour such as vivid pinks or bright yellow. Also terracotta is becoming huge: not just in planters and landscaping, but in plant colours too. Sun baked soft terracotta, and slightly more punchy paprika shades, are popular for interiors right now and are making a move into the garden too. Dahlias are going to be a popular plant for 2023, as they're perfect for small spaces and come in an abundance of colours.

3: Greenhouses & Propogation

The cost of living crisis is driving more gardeners to grow their own - and while having a lovely big greenhouse would be lovely, we don't all have the space. Utilise a windowsill, or create a simple mini greenhouse by cutting down an old plastic drink bottle. If you can afford a greenhouse though, the trending styles will be romantic, intricate Victorian designs, creating a beautiful feature in the garden rather than simply a practical growing space.

4: Mulches, Patios and Pathway Trends

Water retention in flower beds is becoming more and more important, so the use of mulches will be growing hugely in 2023. Not just restricted to the flower bed though, these useful materials can also be used to create gentle pathways through the garden. Think gravel, crushed concrete, and natural materials such as nut shells, bark and fruit pits. Using gravel instead of pointing between paving slabs on the patio will give a softer look and also allow for drainage too. The use of dark natural stones for paving and landscaping will be big this year, and is the perfect off-set to dramatic greenery. Think dark greys, warm buffs and browns. The rise of patterned flooring in the home in kitchens and bathrooms is spilling out into the garden, with patterned patios in small urban spaces becoming popular and creating a bold modern statement. 

5: Consider wildlife - and your life

Whether it's encouraging insects with a bug hotel, or keeping your garden hedgehog friendly, we can all see the importance of finding innovative ways to include wildlife habitats into the garden. Encourage those all important bees into your garden by planting pretty cottage garden and native wildflowers in large drifts to provide nectar during the growing season. The WWF have some great tips on encouraging bees on their website - click here for details. Water features and ponds are still going to be hugely popular, and a lovely way to while away a few hours watching visiting insect life. 'Biophilia’ is a buzzword this year, which means the theory of humans wanting to interact or commune with nature - find ways to share your garden with wildlife to improve your own sense of wellbeing, take a moment to walk barefoot or lay down and gaze at the birds flying overhead, meditate and contemplate as the bees buzz... 2023 is all about encouraging wildlife, but also about using your outdoor space as an escape from life and a way of helping your own mental wellbeing.

6: Houseplant Trends

Expect to see lots of exotic plants in the home this year: orchids in particular. As we dial down the temperature of our homes thanks to rising fuel bills, we are actually creating great climates for growing unusual exotics which prefer cooler environments.

7: Wildflower Lawns

While the perfectly manicured lawn is a thing of beauty, 2023 will be seeing more of the trend towards letting parts of our lawns have a wild meadow-like feel. Lawns will also be getting smaller as we make way for more planting. The rewilding approach will be coupled with a structured design though, keeping gardens tidy and also productive, but allowing us to feel more in touch with a less groomed naturalistic feel. Tapestry lawns will be big, dividing larger lawns into designated patchwork areas: giving up parts of their lawn to pollinators, parts to low-lying flowering plants and mini wildflower meadows, embracing dandelions and clover in other parts.

8: Decorative Garden Screens and Panels

Using screens and garden panelling either in wood or intricate metal designs is a great way of creating privacy, but also creating individual zones or areas in your garden - and they are going to be a popular trend in 2023. We want to use our gardens for all sorts of activities, from relaxing with a book, to eating alfresco, to giving the children a play space, and the use of screens allows you to create rooms in your garden in a contemporary way and at the same time provide an area to train plants against. Vertical gardening is also going to be big for 2023, and is a great way of combining planting and screening with the use of climbers or adding small planters and troughs to an existing screen or boundary fence or wall.

9: Cottage Garden Style

The cottagecore trend is still as popular as ever, and it is encouraging gardeners to opt for an old fashioned cottage style in their garden plans, combining functionality and practicality, with aesthetics. Mix native colourful flowers with vegetables and herbs planted in the same bed, encourage insect life, start making your own compost, add a water butt, and let the edges of your plot soften and run a little wild (in a nurtured way)!

10: Mediterranean Garden Style

The popularity of gravel and drought loving plants all adds up to this classic garden style. Greece is having a big impact too, with artfully placed statues, archways, natural stone, a shaded bench in white under some bougainvillia, evergreen box and agapanthus. Think blues and whites, mixed with natural stone and terracotta, and pops of vivid pink. It's a holiday destination in your own back garden!

Take a look at my Garden Trends for 2023 board on Pinterest for some more inspiration. 

I also have a board dedicated to Boho Garden Styles which you might find interesting!

Sarah :)

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