Garden Design Trends 2022
Garden above by Ann-Marie Powell MSGD
One of the things I look forward to each January is the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) outline of trends for the coming year. With the continued drive for sustainability as the overriding theme, below you will find the plants, materials and design styles that the SGD expect to see in our gardens this year. Enjoy.
Ann-Marie Powell MSGD, sees the trend for this year as being the immersive, natural, wildlife garden, which she admits “thrills her to the core!” She points out that her studio is receiving lots more enquiries from clients wanting natural, loose gardens: “People want gardens that look like they are ‘of nature’ rather than the more obviously designed spaces,” says Ann-Marie. She predicts that ‘nature-scaping’ and ‘curated wilding’ will be buzz words for 2022.
This theory is echoed by Ana Sanchez-Martin MSGD of The Garden Company, who confirms that she hopes more and more people will be jumping on the rewilding bandwagon. She feels that people want to create a sense of sanctuary in their gardens, surrounded by plants, and enveloped by nature.
THE WABI SABI GARDEN
Filippo Dester MSGD from Garden Club London, thinks we will begin to see many gardens designed following a wabi-sabi philosophy, meaning people will embrace a less perfect aesthetic: “I think the deeper meaning to wabi-sabi will be seen in the approach to garden design,” he says. “We will begin to accept the beauty of the imperfect and the ever-changing nature of materials such as stone and wood and the plants themselves, veering away from the sleek, immaculate look that often characterises urban gardens.”
Covid has seen more people holidaying at home in the UK and Fi Boyle MSGD has found that the focus has turned to having the luxuries you might ordinarily go away to enjoy: “Pools, particularly natural swimming ponds, are definitely one of these luxuries,” she says. This trend is echoed by Ben Chandler MSGD of Farlam & Chandler who feels that with possible further travel restrictions, our gardens will continue to be personal sanctuaries.
Interior elements will also be seen incorporated into more designs. Oliver Bond MSGD, points out that fireplaces and built-in outdoor kitchens will feature as well as the continuing experimentation with entertainment features such as TV and sound systems.
Anna Sanchez-Martin has seen a growing trend for what she calls ‘the boutique hotel syndrome’: “We are finding that more of our clients are asking for elements they would usually enjoy on holidays,” she says. “We have seen a marked increase of people requesting swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, firepits and outdoor heaters and lighting,” she adds. However, Anna does caution that some of these can have a detrimental effect on the environment, which people don’t always realise, so discussing this with your garden designer is very important.
Ana Sanchez-Martin also explains that she would love to design and plant a ‘tapestry lawn’ as an alternative to normal grass. Ana says that they are created using a combination of many different mowing-tolerant plant species: “Like meadow lawns, they are low in maintenance and of higher ornamental and environmental value. The need to mow a tapestry lawn can be reduced by up to two thirds compared to a regular grass lawn and, as a consequence, a greater number of both plant and insect species are able to inhabit the lawn. In small urban gardens, meadow lawns are not usually very practical, but a tapestry lawn could be a great solution for city gardens,” says Ana.
Filippo Dester is looking forward to trying out new ideas and materials for permeable surfacing: “I’m planning on using Oak setts more, as an alternative to clay pavers, and experimenting with different ways of recycling existing stone paving combined with aggregates and low planting to create sustainable and ecological surfaces,” he says.
Ana is on the same track here and points out that she will be adding texture and interest in the garden by planting low mat-forming species in-between stepping-stones.
LOW CARBON GARDENING
There can be no doubting that there is a big movement to good environmental schemes, supporting wildlife and reducing our carbon footprint and Jilayne Rickards is one designer who says the move has been driven by garden designers and their clients from “a greater awareness of the terrible climate situation mankind has created.”
Ben Chandler believes the rising cost of importing goods and the increased awareness of carbon footprint will mean there is an emphasis on locally sourced materials: “I hope that means more support for smaller specialist plant nurseries and brings opportunities to local makers and craftspeople when it comes to sourcing furniture and accessories for the garden,” he says.
Designers such as Oliver Bond are looking for more efficient ecologically-friendly and less impactful ways to create hard landscape elements, whether through sustainable materials, greener logistics or less intrusive methods of installation: “We have been looking into a universal pedestal system to replace mortar beds beneath garden patios,” he says.
Using even more plants to lock carbon into the soil is a top priority for Ann-Marie Powell who points out that it negates the requirement for extra imported hard landscaping, looks beautiful and attracts beneficial insects. She would also like to see more suppliers who grow their plants peat-free.
RE-USE, RE-CYCLE, RE-PURPOSE
“Recycling and up-cycling is a trend that is set to continue into 2022. Sustainability, whilst not new, is increasingly important not only to us, but to our clients too,” says Ann-Marie Powell who is escalating the use of repurposed materials by crushing them, for paths, terraces or driveways while also using less cement in the garden, and selecting materials that have the lowest carbon footprint.
As Jilayne Rickards points out using pre-owned furniture or ornamentation gives a garden automatic character and, even within a contemporary setting, something aged acting as a counterbalance is wonderful to see. Jilayne says her approach to garden design is to do as little as possible with the site rather than remove everything and replace with new: “Try and work with existing soil rather than replacing it, use existing plants that are healthy and useful and plant to support the existing wildlife whilst trying to increase biodiversity,” she advises. “All this can make it beautiful too!” Ben Chandler agrees saying: “Using reclaimed materials sourced from the local area can create a truly sustainable, vernacular as well as a bespoke and unique garden.”
JEWEL COLOUR GARDENS
Finally, something that will no doubt please a lot of us is the trend in experimenting with colour and creating a planting palette for a new garden is one of the most exciting challenges in gardening. Ann-Marie says that its always about bold, exciting colour: “I have a penchant for acid yellow mixed with warm oranges and deep blue-purples right now.”
The purple/yellow colour combination is something that designer Oliver Bond is excited about too. “It is a fantastic colour scheme to bring bees into gardens,” he says, “and it creates a vibrant blend that stands proud against a cascade of green foliage.”
However, Jilayne thinks that colour schemes could be on their way out to be replaced with planting schemes that support pollinators. Certainly, however, we can strike a balance, so maybe that’s part of the challenge too.
Society of Garden Designers Vice Chair Andrew Duff MSGD sums up by saying: “The overarching trend for 2022 is that good design does not have to cost the earth both in terms of budget and the environment. For me the line on the piece of paper is very important and how this translates into a garden can be quite flexible. It can be the difference between recycled York stone or permeable gravel, yet the line remains. Upcycling and rewilding can be misleading in terms of aesthetics and for most clients a garden’s aesthetic is a priority.
“In 2022 we will see gardens with a strong underlying structure which allows for a wilder planting scheme. Although native planting will be at the forefront next year, the actual layout of the planting will follow those large drifts of contrasting colours and textures, we have seen coming through at the garden shows recently. We will be looking more to nature for inspiration, learning to embrace the seasons and celebrate them more. Winter gardens will be particularly dominant next year with designers embracing the simplicity of the skeletal shape of deciduous trees and the bareness of soil awaiting the wonders of spring.”
For help bringing your garden bank up to date for 2022, the Society of Garden Designers provides access to designers right across the UK, offering a complete garden design service. For more information and to find a designer in your area visit: www.sgd.org.uk