10 garden trends for 2017

From creating a naturalistic garden to lighting your outdoor space, we reveal 10 of the hottest gardening trends for 2017. Whether you have a cottage garden or prefer a more contemporary style, take a look at our advice and tips to help you decide on your next project.

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1. Naturalistic garden style

The minimalist look with pristine edges and clear geometry has been around for a while and there’s a movement towards a garden that looks more authentic and real - an ‘always been there’ style. Try plants that will spread out and self-seed, such as hollyhock for a cottage garden look, or our native bluebell for a wildlife friendly garden. If topiary’s your thing, for example box, yew or bay, try clipping it into a looser shape. Natural materials like timber, stone or gravel will feel more in keeping if you’re considering steps, decking or a new path. A boundary could be a timber fence or a native hedge of hawthorn. The natural materials will help blur the edges of your garden and add to its sense of timelessness.

Featured product: Timber
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2. Vertical planting

With technological developments in vertical planting systems, many of us now have the confidence to try different styles of ‘green wall’. Perfect for small spaces or if you’re running out of room at ground level, you can achieve a living wall to suit you. Whether you like the lush greenery of ferns and grasses, a more colourful version with flowering varieties including erysimum, oregano and geranium or even a vertical edible garden with lettuces, herbs and strawberries, it’s all possible as long as there’s an adequate irrigation system is in place.

Featured product: Ferns
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3. Taking the inside outside

As more of us take mindfulness to our hearts, the garden is the perfect place to stop and reflect. Outdoor seating is becoming less upright and more horizontal. Think of comfy loungers and swing seats with opulent cushions – a spot to genuinely relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour. The trend is to make the outside as comfortable as the inside of your home, so try lanterns, a rug and some floor cushions for extra lounging. A fire pit or chimenea - or even a small outdoor kitchen - will add the finishing touches to your outdoor room. If you want to be outside come rain or shine, consider a sail canopy or gazebo to combat the great British weather!

Featured product: Fire pits
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4. Weather-proof plants

The changing climate is demanding that any planting we put in our gardens is adapted to the stresses of drought or flood, depending on the particular climate threats of your local region. Expect to see more, hardier species and some new ‘bomb-proof’ varieties of old favourites. These will prove especially helpful for those new to gardening or with little time to spare for looking after tender plants. For drought tolerant planting, consider those from Mediterranean regions where they thrive with low water levels, for example, Cistus, Perovskia, the globe thistle, Echinops or Lavender. For areas prone to flooding, consider those adapted to cope with winter wet and the odd summer deluge, like Iris sibirica and Astrantia major.

Featured product: Lavender seeds
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5. Alternative lawns

The effort and environmental impact of trying to keep a pristine, green lawn is a huge drain on scarce resources. Why not go for a smaller area of short, mown grass and allow the rest to grow longer naturally, adding some wildflower plants like cowslip? Meadow seed mix doesn’t work in this instance because the existing soil will be too rich and the existing grasses are too strong. Try sowing the entire area with a grass mix that can flourish without any mollycoddling and mow a sinuous path, following a natural route around any trees or garden features. Edge any flowerbeds you have with a slow creeping plant like thyme or chamomile that can be kept under control without the need for a regimented edging routine.

Featured product: Thyme seeds
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6. Lighting

Garden lighting is getting better and cheaper with many more solar or battery operated options available for the current soft lighting effect. Solar-powered spike lights work well within planting to gently highlight particular plants. A string of solar-powered lights draped from tree branches can create a magical atmosphere or a large jar with battery operated LED fairy lights can look very authentic. The key is to keep outdoor lighting soft, subtle and selective - avoid trying to light everything or making the space too bright.

Featured product: 10 Nautical Beach Hut Solar String Lights
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7. Colour blocking

Colour blocking is a trend that’s making its way from the fashion industry into gardens. It uses an area of the same colour to make a bold impact and is an easy yet effective way to create and define different zones in your garden or highlight particular plants or features. Try painting a wall or fence in a bold, bright colour to frame a seating area, or a potted olive tree. The idea of colour blocking can also be achieved with plants. Try planting a large quantity of plants of the same colour together in blocks. The colours could even change throughout the season with a little clever planning.

Featured product: Flower seeds
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8. Gardening for health

The health and stress-busting benefits of gardening are taken much more seriously now, with research proving what gardeners have known for years – that gardening is good for you! It’s viewed as a respite from the increasingly technology-driven lifestyle we all lead. We’re also embracing the ‘Grow your own’ movement and harvesting our own home grown produce. There’s a much broader selection of fruit and vegetables to sow from seed or grow on from young plants, particularly older or heritage varieties, like cauliflower or Savoy cabbage. Why not have a go if you haven’t already?

Featured product: Fruit & vegetable seeds
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9. Houseplants/micro gardening

Houseplants are booming as home accessories. They offer fantastic flexibility and you can move them around easily or style them with a different pot to fit with your indoor scheme. They’re a valuable antidote to air pollution, especially in the colder months when windows are rarely opened. Add some oxygenating greenery to your home with a Japanese-style Bonsai or, if you want more impact, try a Butterfly Palm – it’s one of the best air purifiers. If space is limited, a miniature pot with cacti or a stone bowl filled with succulents like Aloe or Echeveria will be on trend. Or why not create your own perfect tiny garden in a beautiful glass terrarium?

Featured product: Indoor plants & pots
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10. Container gardening

No matter how small your space, you can always squeeze a container or planter on to a windowsill or front step. You can change, move or replant it as often as you like, giving you endless possibilities. You can choose soil to suit each plant’s requirements – acid-loving, free-draining, potting mix or just regular compost. In fact, plant pots allow you to grow a much larger variety of plants within the same area. You can water them individually, making the watering can a feature too, or put them on a drip irrigation system if you have an outside tap. Finding somewhere to store the equipment or tools can be tricky but the nifty Keter Capri Rattan box fits the bill perfectly and doubles up as a seat.

Featured product: Pots & planters
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