Top 5 Garden Design Trends for 2020
It won’t be long until the nights get lighter and the days get warmer and whether you’ve got a tiny courtyard or a couple acres, you’ll be dying to spend your evenings and weekends unwinding in your garden. At this time of year there’s still plenty to be done to get your garden ready but where should you start? The good news is, you’ve still got a couple of months to plan your dream garden! From towering trellises to inside-out planting schemes, we’ve scoured the internet to bring you the top garden design trends for 2020. So, if your outdoor space is compact and bijou or sprawling and unruly, our blog will help you to choose the best garden trends to suit your plot.
If you’re more of a visual person, take a look at our Pinterest board of 2020’s Top Garden Design Trends!
This is a garden trend which is an absolute must for avid gardeners with small outside spaces. Whether you live in an apartment, small terraced house or caravan, make the most of the space you do have and try vertical gardening!
Vertical gardening makes your traditional trellis look antiquated. There’s no set way to create a vertical garden, just look up! If you have any outside walls at all, use them. Instead of scattered containers, stack them. We’ve seen simply mounted wooden crates, recycled guttering mounted at different levels, buckets with holes cut in them.
The beauty of vertical gardening is that it adds colour where you wouldn’t expect to see it, even if it’s just foliage. Some of the best green, or living walls we’ve seen are created from simple and cheap herbaceous perennials which, after summer is a distant memory, leave behind lush foliage for added colour in darkest winter. You can then add a bit of winter colour in the form of cyclamen or chionodoxa or any other low-lying winter blooming plant. Here’s a great blog from the BBC to help you create your own living wall.
Vertical gardens aren’t just limited to shrubs and flowers, you can also grow many vegetables in the same way. Start with one container and plant dwarf French beans at the front and runner beans at the back with a decorative trellis for support. Or choose a trailing tomato variety such as ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ and plant in pots to be attached to a wall – the flowers and fruits look lovely and if picked regularly you can look forward to a couple of months of fresh produce for very little effort.
Biophilic design is not a new concept. Think the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and you’ll see where this garden trend found its roots. It’s great for people who don’t have a large garden or apartment dwellers who have no outdoor space at all. This garden design trend is defined by Wikipedia as:
“a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.”
Biophilic design turns gardening inside-out and combines traditional horticulture skills with interior design – something we’re especially passionate about! Living walls, indoor trees, hanging plants used as room dividers, you can let your imagination run riot with this indoor gardening trend.
Many outdoor plants will thrive indoors. Begonias, fuchsias and one of our favourites, coleus make it easy to bring the outdoors in. This great blog from The Spruce has some tips for getting shrubs and perennials to thrive indoors. Common houseplants can also be used but they need to be big! Which takes us onto our next garden design trend for 2020 –
This garden trend began indoors with the surging popularity of huge houseplants. From single containers filled with buxus, yew or bay, to huge yuccas or acers planted as a feature, there’s nothing understated here. This is a trend better suited to those with large spaces to fill or if you are limited on space, choose tall, thin plants such as Italian cypress.
Back to the Future
This gardening trend is one of our favourites! A throwback to the long summers of the 1980s – when hair was big and the Good Life was one of the most watched shows on TV. But who did you identify with? Jerry and Margot or Tom and Barbara? This will dictate which elements of 80’s gardening trends you might want to incorporate in 2020.
In the 1980’s low maintenance evergreens were incredibly popular. If you’re more like the Leadbetters’ and prefer to do as little in the garden as possible, there are some fantastic evergreen shrubs to add colour all year round. Intersperse with retro annuals (wax begonias scream the 1980s to us!) throughout the spring and summer and you have a low maintenance garden scheme which just requires watering and pruning once a year.
If you’re more hands-on and like getting your hands dirty some of the best throwback 80’s gardening trends included rockeries, throwing as many random colours and plants together as you can to create a crazy cottage garden feel and of course, sustainable gardening.
Sustainable Gardening: Reuse and Recycle
It may feel as if Tom and Barbara Good were well ahead of their time, but sustainable gardening has been around forever. Books such as John Seymour’s Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency led to a huge upsurge in those wanting to live off the land in the late 1970’s and early 80s and it’s only mass consumerism that got in the way of us making the most of what we had.
Creating a sustainable garden can be great fun. There are some completely bonkers ideas out there, it all depends on how wild your imagination is. Inspiration can be found everywhere. We’ve seen old cars used as cold frames, water dispenser bottle cloches, a chest of drawers planter – pretty much anything can be reused and recycled in your garden.
Plastic bottles are one of the most adaptable props for your garden. This great video has 80 ideas for reusing plastic bottles
Make Your Garden the Bees Knees!
Encouraging wildlife into your garden is great way to get kids involved in gardening. Creating an insect hotel from recycled bits and bobs is a great way to spend some family time doing something fun and rewarding. The RSPB have created a step-by-step guide to building an insect hotel from scratch. It forms part of their initiative to give nature a home in your garden. Children (and big kids!) can earn badges as they carry out tasks to encourage birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife into your garden.
Encouraging wildlife isn’t just good for your kids, it’s also good for your plants and especially important if you’re growing vegetables. It’s also good for the economy. According to the Wildlife Trust:
“Many species of bee, moth, butterfly, hoverfly, fly and beetle provide an essential service in the UK (and globally) for free, pollinating £690 million worth of crops annually. Taking over this job ourselves would be difficult and time-consuming and would cost us an estimated £1.8 billion every year!”
“Wildflower meadows are prime pollinator habitat, but we’ve lost 97% of them since the 1930s”
The RHS have created a list of plants to buy to encourage pollinators but we suggest starting at this time of year with hellebores, fruit trees, flowering currants and primroses.
Have these Garden Design Trends Inspired You?
If you’d like to learn more about garden design or need help putting your ideas into practice, we offer two different ways to study. Our In-Studio Professional Garden Design course helps you to fast-track your studies. Spend a week with our experienced tutors who will help you learn the practicalities and skills such as presentation sketches and choosing plants. You’ll then learn from home for a further 5 weeks (part-time), returning to the studio for a further week.
If you would rather learn online, our world-leading virtual learning studio brings you all of the resources you need to work from your own home. Find out more about our Professional Garden Design accredited Diploma here
or find out why Garden Design Diploma Student Ruth was named Student of the Month for her stunning garden visuals.