Top garden trends for 2019 from The Society of Garden Designers

To gauge the hot new garden trends for the coming year, The Society of Garden Designers asked some of its top designers what they predict for our gardens in 2019, including planting, materials, design and styles. Here’s what they said.

Climate change gardening

Gardening for a changing climate is set to be a key trend for 2019. Designer Sue Townsend, Member of the Society of Garden Designers (MSGD), says she is creating more ecological gardens to cope with the extreme weather conditions experienced in the UK in recent years.  Her advice is to plant the right plants for the conditions of each garden, to store water and to allow excess water to be collected, then dissipated through the soil.  Joe Perkins MSGD  agrees, saying he frequently designs planting schemes that are drought-resistant and has noticed that his clients are less inclined to pamper plants with state-of-the- art irrigation systems because they feel it is more environmentally responsible to use plants which can fend for themselves.

House plants and hanging plants

Sculptural and architectural plants will dominate in 2019. Joe Perkins MSGD says “the continuing rise in popularity of houseplants is being translated outside with exotic-style plants with architectural leaves and stems making bold statements inside and out.” Joe also predicts that we will be seeing more hanging plants in our gardens.  Not traditional hanging baskets, but plants with foliage, colour and texture which can be used as accessories as an addition to pots and planters.

Interior meets exterior

Both Darren Hawkes and  Barbara Samitier MSGD  think the colourful approach to interiors will be creeping into the garden in 2019.  Darren Hawkes predicts the arrival of bold print, clashing colours and the inclusion of large leaved plants in our gardens. He thinks we should be “taking kitsch in to the garden” by introducing bedding plants in bright coloured planters or letting Pompon Dahlias take centre stage.  While Barbara Samitier MSGD expects industrial and reclaimed materials and encaustic tiles to be used more and more in urban gardens to complement the growing interior trends.

Teenage hang-outs

Karen Rogers thinks the growing demand for teenage hang-outs in gardens will gain momentum in 2019. Karen designs these gardens with secluded garden buildings or separate seating areas featuring outdoor fire pits or fireplaces.  She says: “these spaces require clever screening from neighbours as well as good lighting and planting that absorbs as much noise as possible.” Joe Perkins MSGD expects the trend for fire pits, outdoor kitchens and other lifestyle accessories will continue way into  2019 as we still want our gardens to be a setting for shared experiences with friends and family.

Wild and loose

Nature is coming to the fore in 2019, says  Louise Harrison-Holland MSGD of Blue Tulip Garden Design and we will see on-going support for wildlife corridors in the wider landscape, especially around the survival of our native hedgehog, whose numbers have plummeted in the past years. Louise says: “the move toward a slightly looser, wilder style of garden design will help support this initiative.”  She predicts hedging will become the number one choice for garden boundaries next year.  Jon Sims MSGD of Alladio Sims echoes this saying: “we will see a move towards more natural, less manicured gardens, which we create mixing strong architectural styles with an abundance of naturalistic planting”.

Vibrant hot colour

According to Sue Townsend MSGD sizzling jewel colours are set to make a return to our gardens in 2019.  Sue predicts vibrant, hot colours combined with sultry purples and blues, while Barbara Samitier MSGD expects to see a move away from the blue and pink colour palette that has become so familiar in our gardens in recent years. She says: ”Don’t be surprised to see a shift towards orange and even yellow which has taken a back seat in many gardens of late”.

Designer Jon Sims MSGD expects the rise of porcelain in garden design means it won’t be long before the demand for indoor colour creeps outdoors. He envisages a move away from using replica stone in the garden and an increase in colour choice and pattern in hard landscape materials.

For a garden that suggests luxury, Joe Perkins MSGD recommends combining red and purple alongside greys and blue-greys in plant foliage. He too is seeing a trend in younger garden enthusiasts looking to style their outdoor space as they would an indoor room, using bright coloured accessories or furniture. Joe cautions that simplicity and repetition are the key for success here.

Crazy paving

Crazy paving, charred timbers and gabion walls are all expected to dominate in 2019. Sue Townsend MSGD says ‘“I never thought I would say this, but crazy paving and stepping stones using large irregular slabs – the bigger the better – are making a come-back.”  Sue also foresees the continued popularity of porcelain paving, which she says looks like real stone but due to its low moisture absorption has a non-slip quality which is really useful in shady areas and around swimming pools.

Log walls and multiple metals

Barbara Samitier confesses to being obsessed with log walls, saying “They can act as a feature wall, a boundary or a screen while providing a necessary habitat for insects and a wide range of wildlife” She also expects we will be seeing more metal in the gardenas “it is such a versatile material that lends itself to so many applications.”  Barbara is designing metal arches and pergolas for many of her current projects.  She has incorporated metal walkways, mirrored stainless steel and perforated Corten steel in her gardensfor walls and pergola roofs.

Gabion Walls

Both Louise Harrison-Holland MSGD and Barbara Samitier MSGD are introducing more gabion-style walls and structures into their garden design.  Louise predicts that stone work will be used in a less structured way in 2019 and when used vertically will be more like a ‘rubble’ stone, but softened with planting. She says: “I have noticed a move away from stark modernism towards a style that still retains a strong geometry but is tempered with a choice of materials in softer tones.”

External MDF

Prepare to see more charred timber cladding in gardens this year. Jon Sims MSGD has been experimenting with Shou-Sugi-Ban and is also introducing rough shutter-faced concrete into his projects.  He foresees more designers using external MDF in garden designs as it offers numerous options in terms of colour and unusual shapes…. and durability too.

Wild and perennial meadows

Lots of designers have experimented with wildflower and perennial meadows in 2018 and this trend is set to continue throughout 2019.  The good news is you don’t need a large plot to incorporate them into your garden as Sue Townsend MSGD explains: “I’ve really enjoyed creating small-medium sized meadows in many of the gardens I have designed this year.  The most exciting venture was sowing my first perennial meadow.  It will take a few years to establish properly but my clients are loving watching it develop.  In a few years, it will provide interest from April to late November with relatively little maintenance.”

The sentiment is echoed by Louise Harrison-Holland, MSGD, who expects planting to have a looser, less clipped feel to it and gardens to appear slightly wilder in 2019. She says: “This wilder style has been helped along by the increasing use of instant wildflower meadows. I see designers trying to recreate this look with a mix of herbaceous perennials and grasses that have a more permanent structure, helped by the increasing use of shrubs in planting borders.”  Louise also predicts that rather than en-masse block planting of a small number of plant types, designers will be working with a greater number of varieties creating a much looser style of planting.

For help bringing your garden bang up to date in 2019, the Society of Garden Designers provides access to garden designers right across the UK, offering a complete garden design service, including planting plans, hard landscape design, construction drawings and specialist design elements. For more information about the Society of Garden Designers and its members, take a look at the SGD.

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