A Scandi-style trend for soft colours and pared-back flowers has prevailed in many of our gardens over the past few years, but in 2017, big, bright and bold blooms and plants are set to take a starring role instead.
Look out for large, soft and blowsy flowers, such as Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ and bright tulips in blocks of colour. Swathes of large hydrangeas, such as ‘Annabelle’, will replace the naturalistic minimalist style.
Colour on patio walls and framing specific plants has been seen already in the US and is set to move across the pond. ‘Colour blocking’, as it’s called outdoors just as it is in interiors or fashion, will encourage planting in bold, vivid drifts, as well as more organic greens, browns and reds.
Kick-start your small garden revamp with these ideas
Hygge is the Nordic lifestyle trend that became ubiquitous in 2016. The term originates from a Norwegian word meaning ‘wellbeing’, and has been adopted by the Danish to sum up comfort, cosiness and happiness.
This trend, which has been seen for a while in interior decoration, is likely to expand into the outdoors, with blankets, all-weather rugs, sheepskins, hanging chairs and benches, as well as more outdoor fireplaces and candles, and small cooking appliances for making hot chocolate.
The focus could also be on building little cabins, in which we can gather with friends to enjoy nature. Cosiness for the soul is the order of the day for the year ahead.
There’s a new trend all about getting in touch with nature through the inner self. It originates from Japan, where it’s called shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’. The healing energy from being in the woods is used to restore and rejuvenate the body.
With this in mind, 2017 is likely to see more people get outside and enjoy nature. A government enquiry this year will look into the link between health budgets and park budgets to study the role of parks in our health.
How will this affect our approach to our outside spaces? As gardening is reported to reduce stress levels, we could see designers looking at how people lead their lives and tailoring designs to suit lifestyles much more, as well as introducing more trees. Not only do trees filter pollution, it’s said that simply by looking at them, we feel more relaxed.
‘Fewer weeds in no dig’ is the mantra of this trend, which is championed by, among others, Charles Dowding who is considered the no dig guru, and has produced a books on the topic and runs courses from his home in Somerset.
Organic gardening methods have long used the no-dig method and, in 2017, this is set to become more popular. Digging the soil is said to disrupt its structure and ecosystem, while the theory is that leaving the soil uncultivated means it grows fewer weeds.
To start a no-dig bed, you can cover grass with horse manure, then cardboard, then coffee grounds, repeating this process until you have layers of organic material. As you don’t dig, any weeds are controlled by shallow hoeing and mulching and, as there’s little soil disturbance, no weed seeds are brought up, meaning they’ll decline. This method of gardening is especially beneficial for those with heavier soils.
Hyperlocalism is a trend that’s seen business boom for artisan producers and resulted in small, specialist companies popping up all over the country. The trend also stretches to locally sourced plants – ones that will flourish in conditions close to those in which they started life.
You can expect to see more homegrown plants featuring in UK nurseries and garden centres this year, and possibly more so in the wake of Brexit.
Good, strong plants might also feature, with evergreens and hardy perennials to encourage novice gardeners. Robust plants – those able to stand up to extreme weather – should also gain popularity in garden centres, as well as longer-flowering plant varieties.
Last year, the number of vegans was reported to have risen by 360% in 10 years, while various global trend reports predict a growing focus on plant-based rather than animal-derived proteins for 2017. In short, signs strongly point to a rising interest in vegetables, which includes growing them.
With the popularity of spiralizing vegetables, expect to see more of us growing our own, easy-to-spiralize courgettes and squashes. Health food retailer, Wholefoods, meanwhile, predicts that antioxidant-rich purple veg, such as asparagus, cauliflower and sweet potato varieties, will see a popularity spike.
Older-style vegetable varieties, such as chard and turnips, could also prove more popular as you see them being sold in supermarkets and garden centres.
Last year saw a huge revival in the popularity of houseplants, especially easy-to-maintain cacti, whether for sale in high street shops and supermarkets or featuring in fashion window displays.
With more people renting their homes, plants in general have been more popular, as has a return to hanging indoor plants in 1970s-style macramé hangers. This year, ferns could be seen more indoors, as will terrariums, plant hangers, air plants and even olive trees, which people will start to grow inside the home.
Houseplants aren’t just home accessories, either. It’s been proved by NASA scientists that they improve air quality and protect against pollution, as well as boosting productivity in the work environment. So expect this trend to grow and grow.
Living walls have been around for a while, but 2017 will likely see a lot more vertical gardening, especially where space is limited. Green walls help to deflect water from walls in heavy rain, provide extra insulation to a building, create habitats for insects, reduce noise pollution and improve urban air quality.
There are so many plants that can be grown vertically, from herbs to fruit, grasses, ferns and many perennials, both in sun and shade. Good, solid plants for walls include heuchera, ajuga, sedum, carex and thyme.
See how steps could transform your garden
With living space increasingly at a premium, especially in urban environments, any outdoor space has become even more valuable.
The trend for making the most of such ‘pocket gardens’ has become part of many architectural practices’ way of thinking, too, and micro gardens are being designed into buildings as unlikely as high-rise blocks.
Those with small plots or urban gardens will likely find more and more outlets for advice and inspiration, and education in this area will range from water optimisation to home composting, and to which plants are best for balconies, pots, roof terraces and small outdoor spaces.
Looking after bees has become so popular in the last few years that a compact bee house was the top wedding list gift at John Lewis in 2016!
With awareness about the continued loss of pollinators in the UK and around the world, more and more people could be introducing hives into their gardens, too. The best way to start is to contact your local association and take part in a beekeeping course.
What plans do you have for your garden in 2017 – and how do trends like this influence your design decisions? Tell all in the Comments below.