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 trends in garden design for 2018, including the planting, materials and design styles we can expect to see in our gardens this year.
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.
While polygonal paving was big at RHS Chelsea last year, it’s all about asymmetry in 2018 believes the SGD. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Image: Garden by Adolfo Harrison MSGD