New gardening trend for 2018

Fuss-free, low-maintenance and easy to introduce, the latest gardening trend is all about texture. Linking into the interior trend of natural materials, heritage and personalising your space, the trend for texture outside is growing in popularity. The Society of Garden Designers has tipped asymmetry as a big 2018 trend, alongside less structured schemes with their geometric lines and hard surfaces softened by planting and broken-down edges – creating the feeling of a garden that has been there for years. Here are some ways to add texture and a relaxed natural feel into your outdoor areas.

Surface thinking

While a contemporary garden used to mean crisp, clean lines of uniform paving, now the latest look draws on organic textures as its inspiration. Rather than plain slabs, wood-effect porcelain tiles are making their way from the inside to the outside, with their faux grained and knotted surfaces creating an impact on inviting patios and eye-catching cladding. For those who want to take the look further, hand-made bricks and wooden blocks are ideal, their natural blemishes and burrs working well in urban gardens.

There’s also been a return to cobbled paths and driveways, with granite setts and smooth pebbles lending themselves to sinuous curves and edging. Unless you’re a keen DIY-er, it’s a good idea to call in an expert for laying new surfaces as they can be prone to sinking if not laid properly. Find a gardener who can take care of all the prep for you.

charcoal carpet stones

Image source: Bradstone

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Materials matter

This year sees a clear move away from shiny stainless steel and chrome finishes towards textured metals. Weathered copper, with its distinctive blue-green patina, rusty red cast iron or steel and aged brass take centre stage, their visual warmth contrasting against gravel, stone and lush swathes of planting. As well as doting these around in the form of planters, fire bowls, plant support frames and arches, an étagère (furniture with open shelves) or lighting, upcycling is an easy way to tap into the trend. Rather than throwing away old gates or tools that are past their best, try repurposing them as part of a textured garden scheme, allowing them to rust over time and weather with the seasons.

two rusty sphere garden decorations

Image source: Cox & Cox

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Bring in wildlife

Watching birds, bees and butterflies enjoy your garden as much as you do is one of life’s small pleasures. So, it’s no surprise that there’s been a real return to making wildlife feel welcome by incorporating bug hotels, bird feeders and shallow water features with a sloped edge for drinking and bathing. However, there’s also been a shift towards planting to help encourage wildlife, with ‘eco gardens’ becoming more popular. These feature native perennials, wildflowers (think lavender, honeysuckle and foxgloves) and plants to provide food for pollinators and birds, tall grasses, and untreated lawns lightly strewn with clover and dandelions.

copper bird feeders

Image source: Boxwild

Rough-luxe planting

Rather than rely on neat beds and manicured lawns, the trend for ‘Wabi-Sabi’ – the Japanese practice of appreciating imperfection and natural ageing – has extended itself to our gardens. As well as choosing native plants over more exotic varieties, this means plants that are easy to care for or will look after themselves, for example, instead of deadheading, allowing seed pods to remain in autumn and winter. There’s also a wider definition of what’s considered beautiful, with low-level woodland-style schemes of ferns, mosses and tufted grasses, perfect for brightening up a shady spot, and edible planting as the desire to ‘grow your own’ resurges in popularity. If you’re not sure about how to start with a new planting scheme, a gardener can advise you on what will work for your soil type and garden position.

garden sleeper

Image source: Wickes

Read more: garden design ideas for non-gardeners



  1. This looks really interesting I love gardening and would welcome any advice you can give but also info on how to take the garden into the next season

  2. Love this artical. Can’t wait for more info. I love the bit about wildlife. I’ve just ordered a waterfall for the poor birds in this heat. I have an oak tree in my garden and struggle to grow anything near it.

  3. Gardening really is a fantastic way to relieve any pent up stress. Using your hands to get into the soil and taking care of living plants and flowers soothes the soul. Making your garden even more lovely by complimenting the beauty of mother nature with contemporary art is a brilliant idea. Thank you so much for this post!

  4. I love nice gardens unfortunately I have no idea how to make it look good. I wouldn’t mind paying for a gardener to help.

    1. Hi Sarah, well we can certainly help with that. If you head to our homepage at, you can describe what you want doing and what you’re looking to achieve and up to three gardeners who work in your area will get in touch to offer you a quote for the job. They can help with ideas too, if you give them a good starting point to work from and include as much info as possible e.g. give them an idea of the size of your garden.

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