It pays to avoid these garden trends to keep in mind while renovating or completely revamping your outdoor space this year.
Sure, when it comes to garden, pool or backyard ideas, trends come and go, but some styles and practices quickly become obsolete. This can leave you with a garden that looks less than fresh, and the re-design can be expensive.
You may have an idea of some of the latest gardening trends, but which ones should you avoid? We asked the experts to give us their point of view, which will ensure you don’t waste time and money on a garden without staying power.
Before you begin your garden makeover, take a look at their thoughts on everything from which patio furniture is a bad investment to materials that don’t last long and bad planting picks.
Which garden trends should you avoid?
1. Purchase of garden specific furniture
With a growing indoor-outdoor lifestyle, the need for more fluid furniture has arisen that can be used both in a modern garden and around the house. “2021 was all about connecting with nature and spending quality time outdoors with friends and family,” says Juliette Thomas, chief designer at Juliettes Interiors. “Although spending time outdoors still plays an important role in our mental well-being, we found that our customers want more adaptable pieces of furniture that can be used both in the garden and indoors.”
‘With the trend towards natural textures forecast to be big this year, the desire for indoor furniture mixed with outdoor pieces is rising in popularity. Accessorize spaces with sofas, rugs, cushions and of course plants – by including these soft and cozy touches, it helps to create a seamless indoor-outdoor feel, creating a welcoming environment.’
2. Themed garden planting
A simple garden with a flower bed, trees and shrubs is all well and good. But a themed garden is a thing of the past. The latest garden trends are looking for style, but also a story.
“The trend now is to give your garden an exotic look that reminds you of places around the world,” says Juliette. “A Miami style garden is a great way to create a holiday feel at home. Perhaps to compensate for the holidays, according to which we have longed for the last two years, the growing desire for white furniture, lounge by the pool and olive trees is this summer an essential addition to luxurious garden space.
3. Tropical hardwood decks
Wood decking ideas have become very popular for adding warmth and character to outdoor spaces. However, there are a few things to think about before you hop on this garden design bandwagon.
“I don’t recommend tropical hardwoods for environmental reasons,” says Steve Ritchey of seedstudio.design. Although beautiful, tropical hardwoods like Ipe, a particular favorite with designers, can have a large carbon footprint and may not be sustainably forested if not responsibly sourced.
Wood decking can be slippery even when wet, and wood can weather over time, driving up maintenance costs. If you choose wood, it must be cared for so that it does not rot, dry out, warp, crack or splinter. But if you’re willing to take care of it, wooden decking is beautiful, especially up close.
‘No matter how great some natural materials look, it’s better to be safe than sorry,’ says Kate Anne Gross, interior designer and founder of Kate Anne Designs. “Also avoid installing materials that are of poor quality and may need to be replaced shortly thereafter. It’s better to save a little longer and consider materials that are durable and built to last.”
“With the availability of thermally and acetylated treated woods such as Thermory, Kebony and Accoya, I see no reason for inferior pressure treated wood for decking, other than cost considerations,” Steve reiterates.
4. Overpruned shrubs
Everyone loves to look for their garden neat, tidy and beautiful, especially during the summer months. But while a beautifully landscaped yard can increase a home’s curb appeal, a little restraint should be exercised.
Decorated topiary is a trend that is not only divisive but also requires a lot of maintenance. Excessive pruning by cutting off the top and sides of a shrub can also weaken the plant and make it vulnerable to pests. An over-pruned shrub also contains a dead, branching center.
They also bring an unnatural aesthetic to a garden where a more natural planting aesthetic is currently trending. With shrubs, it’s best to cut gently and more selectively, opening up some areas to facilitate airflow. If you still like very neat shrubs, maybe choose a dwarf shrub variety that would stay natural and grow low.
5. Quartz for outdoor countertops
When it comes to outdoor kitchen countertop ideas, a number of new, composite materials have been added for use outside in recent years. Weatherproofing materials are of course essential and these new finishes are designed to be waterproof and UV resistant. The same can’t be said for non-specialized quartz surfaces, which while aa big kitchen trend shouldn’t be used outdoors.
This leaves you with a very limited range to choose from when the answer is a stone material that already exists.
“The key to outdoor durability when it comes to material and finish choices, especially for outdoor kitchens, is something that is UV resistant,” says Oliver Webb, director of natural stone retailer Cullifords. ‘A good majority of granites are suitable for this and all stones that are not heavily resined like Black Granites. In general, resined quartzite materials, slate and soft dark granite surfaces will fade in color over time in strong UV light.’
Tile, too, is a good alternative if your budget is tight, although it needs to be outdoors, durable and the grout cleaning will be a pain
6. Brightly painted garden fences
Bright yellow, deep orange and flashy blue garden fences were big in the US in the 70’s and 80’s. Conversations with the neighbors about the fence were perhaps less about the chattering and more about whose fence was prettier. But garden design has evolved over the decades.
Today’s garden fence ideas require a little restraint and natural elegance. While painted wood fences can still be something, there is a definite shift towards natural tones and other materials.
Corten steel in its natural hue lends a sculptural quality to a fence. A mixed-material fence made of glass, steel and wood is also trendy. Interestingly, a fence doesn’t have to be an artificial structure at all. A tall hedge can be a great way to add privacy to a garden.
Recycled materials such as birch wood can also be used as fencing material, as can metal panels. The latter works particularly well in gardens where you need more privacy.
7. Animal Statues
Fake animal and bird statues of flamingos, horses, deer to small garden accessories such as gnomes can really date if the trends continue, even if this particular motif can be seen everywhere even a garden.
Garden ornament trends are now dictating more classic objects such as stone plinths for garden alcoves, wooden pergolas, modern birdhouses to stone water features.
To add a touch of natural beauty, a small patch of pampas grass looks whimsical and adds to the wilderness of the garden.
8. Colorful garden lighting
The garden is already a naturally colorful space if you plant it with the right flowers, so there’s no real need for colored lights. Avoid a set of bulbs that cast a blue, red, or green glow and instead choose specialized garden lighting with warm white or yellow bulbs.
Additionally, if you use garden lighting ideas, make sure they have a higher IP rating, are weatherproof, waterproof and suitable for humid locations. Similarly, if you use an extension cord for your yard, only use outdoor-rated cords for the temporary lighting that you connect outside your home. Be careful to keep lightbulbs away from other materials that can easily ignite and burn.
What should you avoid in the garden?
With changing lifestyles, priorities and even trends, the right garden look also has its ups and downs. Things that were fashionable a few years ago may not work well now.
Overly decorated gardens with statues, colors, sculpted bushes and poor quality materials are a thing of the past. A low-maintenance garden that is as stylish as it is practical is the order of the day.
While it’s true that most gardens are essentially the heart of the home, there are endless ways to create a unique design without overdoing it.
When it comes to adding character to the green space, a themed garden might work, and currently, a tropical beach-style look is in; one that reminds people of places not visiting during the last two years. Small intimate spaces with the right IP rated lighting can help create wonderful moments in the garden.
When it comes to plants, a combination of structural planting mixed with soft perennial/herb plants is the new go-to. Grass mixed with perennials and bulbs can give the garden a beautiful landscaped look.