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.
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.
Image source: Bradstone
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.
Image source: Cox & Cox
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.
Image source: Boxwild
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.
Image source: Wickes