Posted 4th January by Peter Byrne
Have you got any plans for your garden in the year to come?
To give you a helping hand, the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) have composed their predictions on the hot new trends in garden design for 2018, which include planting, materials and design styles which can be expected throughout the year.
Award-winning garden designer John Wyer FSGD has said outdoor structures are set to play a big part in 2018 - and this goes beyond your average summerhouse. 'Plug and Play' pergolas, with integrated drainage, lighting and heating, will be the must-have garden feature, while there are outdoor kitchens which will continue to grow in popularity, with dedicated spaces for cooking, eating and entertaining becoming a central focus.
Polygonal paving proved to be a big hit at RHS Chelsea last year - yet in 2018 it's all about asymmetry, the Society of Garden Designers have said. You can expect to see a contemporary update on the classic crazy paving with large-scale natural indigenous stone. Gardens are also set to feel less structured, with geometric lines and hard surfaces being softened by planting. Edges will also be broken down, creating the feeling of a garden that's been there for years.
Designer James Scott MSGD has predicted that gardens which are designed to benefit the environment and encourage wildlife will be big in 2018, with native plants and locally sourced materials expected to be increasingly popular.
There will also be a trend towards edible planting, with greenhouses making something of a comeback.
Copper, as a material and a colour, will both make a big impact in 2018, it has been predicted. Weathering to a beautiful bluish-green patina and hard landscaping in copper can offer a wonderful feeling of warmth to planting, in contrast to the surrounding gravel, stone or wood. Where perpetual copper is preferred, copper-effect stainless steels are a popular alternative, while, more generally, we will see a move away from shiny stainless steel finishes, with a natural weathered patina becoming popular instead.
We've already seem they are becoming increasingly popular in interior design, and now, wood-effect porcelain tiles look set to become a trend in garden design, designer John Wyer FSGD has suggested. Hard-wearing, scratch, stain and heat-resistant, in 2018 it's expected we'll see them used for both flooring and cladding in a number of patterns.
Limestone took central stage in James Basson's award-winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year, and it's now expected to return to the domestic garden, following the introduction of harder-wearing mid-toned stones as opposed to the bright white varieties of a few years ago. Adolfo Harrison MSGD also predicts there will be a trend towards mixing different stones together, reflecting the various colours and tones within the garden itself.
Hand-made bricks and textured paving blocks are anticipated to play a big part in 2018, designer Jane Finlay believes, with their irregularities and imperfections offering a natural element to small urban gardens. End-grain oak blocks which replicate original wooden cobbles, still seen in historic setting such a s Blenheim Palace, are also expected to be popular.
It's all about shrubs this year, designers have said. We're moving away from naturalistic perennials and grasses to provide accent and structire to the garden according to Cassandra Crouch MSGD, while interest in exotic and unusual specimens are particularly prevalent. Euonymus oxyphyllus, an elegant slow growing shrub from Korea, is becoming increasingly popular due to its rich, emerald green leaves which turn to shades of yellow, bronze and red in the autumn, and produce a spectacular show of colour from its cherry-like fruits.
Low level woodland plants
A trend which has been seen at the new NEO Bankside development opposite London's Tate Modern, there are low level woodland-style planting which mixes ferns, mosses, anemones and tufted grasses which is something we can expect to see more of in 2018, as they work especially well in tricky shaded city gardens.
Sharp architectural planting which contrast with softer organic hard finishes will also be popular, Jane Finlay says, sometimes mixed with country-style planting to blend sharper elements together. Plants such as the Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) or Chamaerops humilis (dwarf fan palm) will be popular alongside Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex' which, due to its height and 2ft palmate leaves, can transform even the humblest planting around it into something far more exotic.