Gardens

Garden trends 2022 – 25 of the latest looks and new ways to garden

Drawing on this year's winners of the Society of Garden Designers Awards, we showcase our predictions for outdoor spaces in 2022

Garden trends 2022
(Image credit: Marianne Majerus / Abigail Rex)

As spring is just around the corner, garden trends – from the new design styles and ideas for our outdoor spaces to how we approach gardening itself – begin to bloom. And, with the likelihood that we will be using our gardens more in 2022 than we ever have before, we're ready to turn our back yards into stylish extensions of our homes – another 'room' we can enjoy and relax in. 

These are the top garden ideas and garden trends for 2022 to steer you in the right direction. From the best small garden ideas and sustainable gardens to garden color schemes and garden decorating ideas, we have you covered. 

1. Introduce a Mediterranean flavor to your backyard

Garden trends for 2022 Med garden

(Image credit: Abigail Rex)

Kristina Clode believes that all gardens, present and future, need to be designed to cope with increasingly wet winters and hot, dry summers. ‘We need to think of climate change and whether your tree will still thrive in 50 years’ time,’ she says. Her Mediterranean garden idea is to look to other climates for her plant choices. 

‘I am interested in using hardier trees from the Mediterranean region that are close relatives of our native trees.’ She also expects to use more Mediterranean shrubs together with succulents, grasses and perennials. Kristina won a double award in the Design for the Environment and the Judges’ Award categories for her entry, Sedlescombe School Sensory Garden.

2. The garden lawn will be a thing of the past

Garden trends with multi level garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Looking to the future, Sara Jane Rothwell MSGD feels that lawn edging ideas will soon be giving way to a more naturalistic style of planting. 

‘Planting wise, clients are veering towards more naturalist styles, and are starting to understand that a large lawn is higher maintenance than large planting and garden edging ideas, and isn’t so good for the environment, providing very little wildlife habitat and requiring pesticides and weekly mowing to keep it looking smart.’ 

As well as winning the Medium Residential Landscapes & Gardens and Planting Design categories, Cholmeley Crescent – designed by Sara Jane – was also voted by the judges as the Grand Award Winner of this year’s SGD Awards.

3. Plant an abundance of fragrant herbs

Garden trends with herb garden

(Image credit: Mark Lord)

 Joe Swift MSGD uses a wide range of plants that reflect and highlight each season across the year (eg spring bulbs, range of perennials and grasses for summer, good fall color, a degree of evergreens and tree bark for winter interest) as well as many scented, aromatic and tactile herb garden ideas to engage with so people can enjoy the outdoors and recuperate. 

With his designs like Stoke Mandeville (winner of the Healing, Learning or Community Landscapes & Gardens award) as living proof of the healing power of gardens, could we be utilising these types of plants more in our own spaces by harnessing them as an aid to our health and wellbeing?

4. Look to geometric forms

Garden trends with firepit

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Looking forward to new and emerging trends, Tony Woods MSGD of the Garden Club London reflects: ‘One of the biggest trends that I have seen is the use of geometric form used in paving, furniture and layouts. I think this stems from more natural forms and materials being used in both interior and exterior design and the trend is translating into off-the-shelf products including furniture and planters.’ 

Tony and his team at the Garden Club London topped the Small Residential Landscapes & Gardens category with their Borough City Sanctuary.

5. Engage the sense with elemental features

Garden trends with outdoor furniture and privacy trees

(Image credit: Lisa Linder)

New kid on the block Sheila Jack believes that next year we’ll be going beyond aesthetics and functionality in outdoor living areas. 

‘Our outdoor living experience should be one that truly engages all our senses. I’ll be looking to add elemental features that will stimulate all the senses – sound and reflective qualities of water; warmth, aroma and flickering light of beautiful outdoor fireplace ideas; textural materials and aromatic planting.’ 

The Meadow Garden, an urban courtyard garden idea, won her the Fresh Designer award at the SGD Awards. It shows how a diminutive, rather neglected plot with both privacy and boundary issues could be transformed into an elegant retreat with precision-cut concrete and meadow chic planting.

6. Oak will be a key material

Garden trend with oak deck and structure

(Image credit: Ann-Marie Powell)

Ann-Marie Powell MSGD tips oak as being the material du jour. ‘From sustainably managed woodlands, oak is a warm, naturally durable material that can be used for such a huge range of garden applications – deck ideas, furniture, pergola ideas, planters – while also providing a link to materials used inside a client’s home.’ 

Ann-Marie and her team at Ann-Marie Powell Gardens took home the International or UK Commercial Landscapes & Gardens award for their work on Sopwell House Cottonmill Spa Gardens. ‘I wanted to create a commercial contemporary, classic garden which was detail- and experience-driven, where our natural inspirations still shone through to exude character, warmth and soul

7. Stay true to your surroundings

Garden trends with local materials

(Image credit: Chloe Humphreys )

Chloe Humphreys MSGD told us, ‘Our advice in design would be to fully research and understand the materials from the local area and allow these to form the basis of your design response. We tend to feel these limitations result in better, more considered designs and it is a challenge we always find exciting.’ 

This also usually ensures a reduced carbon footprint for your projects, as well as making gardens feel well-rooted to the conditions of the surrounding environment. Chloe was the winner of the International Residential Landscapes & Gardens award with her design The House in the Wild – Falkenberg. Due to the remote location of the site, her ethos sought to solve problems with local solutions.

8. Explore flood prevention options

Garden trends with flood prevention

(Image credit: Mickey Lee)

‘It is imperative that every garden designer should consider the adoption of nature-based solutions as a minimum baseline to address future climate change,’ says Edward Freeman MSGD. 

‘While color and material trends come and go, the must-haves we really need are flourishing ecosystems, healthy people and a resilient planet.’ Flood prevention was particularly prevalent in the scheme of Edward’s design Christchurch Gardens, the winner of the International or UK Communal Landscapes & Gardens award. 

‘The design employs a SuDS (sustainable drainage system) that aims to retain 100% of water runoff on site. Permeable resin bound gravel was used for new paths adjacent to trees to allow percolation of water and allow air to the roots, while bespoke natural stone paving patterns direct surface water to flow into subterranean drainage diffusion units to capture rainwater and release it slowly into the ground below.’ 

9. Enhance nature 

garden trends

(Image credit: The garden at Blue Door designed by Acres Wild)

Our gardens have long been our havens, but without a doubt 2021 placed greater emphasis than ever before on the restorative effect of nature and outdoor space. 

Looking forward to 2022, high on designers’ wish lists are plants that create a haven for birds and bees. This plays to the trend called ‘rewilding’, in which land is returned in varying scales to natural habitats that can provide water, food and shelter to all creatures great and small. 

Debbie Roberts of Acres Wild suspects that green structure rather than hard landscaping is becoming more important, together with a softer, more natural look. 

This is demonstrated here in the garden at Blue Doors Lodge in West Sussex, which she created with her partner Ian Smith, its relaxed style blending beautifully with the surrounding landscape.

10. Create a blank canvas 

Garden trends

A backdrop of natural tones enhances the plants in this design by Eve Hacking

(Image credit: Eve Hacking / Belderbos Landscape works)

Bold brights and statement shades are out. The outdoor materials palette for 2022 is, in essence, neutral. These tones soothe the senses and are the ideal canvas on which to build your planting, allowing your chosen flowers and foliage to sing out. 

Garden designer Eve Hacking of Belderbos Landscapes says that neutral tones for hard landscaping are useful in an urban setting where gardens are often shaded by other buildings, as they help to lighten the space. 

Neutrals are also a preference for garden designer Charlotte Rowe. She is not keen on any color apart from that of the plants themselves, so tends to use a limited palette of greys, taupes and creams for hard landscaping.

11. Build a split level backyard 

Garden trends

This pared-back garden design by Henrietta Murray-Wicks creates a tranquil mood

(Image credit: HMW Studio)

Having a garden set over more than one level can give so much more than a single plane. 

‘Urban gardens almost inevitably have a change in level,’ says London-based garden designer Butter Wakefield and there’s hardly a garden she designs which doesn’t include a set of steps. Different levels help to zone areas and present a wonderful opportunity to play around with materials. 

Meanwhile, Francesca Langlea of Langlea Design explains that terracing is the optimum way to deal with a change in level. ‘With terracing, we can make usable, level spaces as opposed to impractical sloping ground. 

12. Devise a multi-functional space

Garden trends 2021

This garden, designed by Stimson, has an elegant swimming pool complete with pavilion

(Image credit: Stimson)

 Just as today’s homes now have to have multi functions, so are our gardens being pushed to the limit. 

‘With people relying on their homes as an office, then an outdoor space for connecting with nature and entertaining friends and family safely is essential,’ says Isabelle Palmer of The Balcony Gardener. 

Homeowners now want to invest time and money into cultivating their outdoor spaces  – large or small – into a functional and beautiful enhancement of their homes. For those that have the space, swimming pool ideas are high on the agenda for next summer, as are fully equipped garden buildings. 

13. Plant flowers for pollinators 

Garden trends 2021

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny )

Creating sensory garden ideas are important for plantswoman Sarah Raven, and she’s tipped salvias to continue in their popularity. ‘

They need minimal TLC, they flower for a long time and are an absolute haven for pollinators, protecting declining bee species.’ Garden designer Butter Wakefield always considers nature when selecting plants. 

‘It’s all about the pollinators. I concentrate on what the bees will benefit from: early-flowering, nectar-rich bulbs and perennials, such as crocus, Geranium phaeum and Helleborus niger; there’s often a shortage of food for pollinators early in the year,’ she says. 

‘I carry this through to late-flowering Aster novae-angliae ‘Helen Picton’ and Dahlia ‘Blue Bayou’, which bloom to the end of November or the first hard frost.’

14. Use bricks and mortar 

Garden trends 2021

This small, low-maintenance urban garden, designed by Belsize Gardens, uses bricks instead of paving

(Image credit: Future / Colin Poole)

Designer Henrietta Murray-Wicks is a fan of brick in the garden, in particular a herringbone pattern. 

‘I tend to use bricks with a stone border so it gives the effect of a rug on a floor, anchoring the space and any furniture placed on it. The bricks can also help accent certain features and give a real sense of movement within a garden while still using the same material palette overall.’ 

Butter Wakefield finds it dull to have rows upon rows of paving and prefers to introduce smaller units. She loves Vande Moortel Belgian bricks, which are particularly slender and create beautiful designs. ‘They have a charming way about them and lend themselves to lots of different patterns,’ says Butter. 

‘Recently, we completed a project in north London where we ran these bricks from the garden into the house. Not having some form of pattern at ground level is a missed opportunity to create interest, particularly in a small space.’

15. Grow your own 

Garden trend greenhouse

Producing our own food taps into our basic human needs

(Image credit: Hartley Botanic)

No longer the preserve of larger gardens, vegetable plots are now appearing in nearly every style of outdoor space. Whether this is a cottage walled kitchen garden idea or simple herbs growing  in pots on an urban balcony garden idea, the grow-your-own trend is on a strong upward trajectory. 

With people wanting to find more reasons to spend time outdoors and in their garden, it’s not only about easy fixes – which is why growing plants from seed has taken an upsurge this year and is set to continue into 2022, too. The pandemic has clearly changed our way of thinking, our approach and priorities.  

For Tom Barry of Hartley Botanic, which sells a range of greenhouses and gardening accessories,  it has been decades since he has seen such an interest in people becoming more self-sufficient. Being able to produce food taps into the most  basic of human needs and ultimately, for many  of us, ‘growing our own’ is the right choice for  our health and well-being.

16. Think big

Garden trends 2021

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton Photography)

'I always encourage people to think big in their garden,' says award-winning landscape and garden design consultant Michael John McGarr. 'Or even to think tall.'

All garden design needs some larger scale trees or shrubs to create grandeur and visual impact – even in a small backyard. As long as you choose the appropriate species and variety of a tree, do not be scared to think big! While grand topiary is an art of our garden history – a move away from the traditional plants used to achieve this is a necessity in a changing climate.   

In a recent scheme we have exchanged Italian cypress for fastigiate beech trees to create a grand avenue of trees. By doing this we can create grandeur and scale, but with the added benefits for wildlife of native plants and trees.

17. Take a less is more approach to garden design

When to plant grass seed Neat lawn surrounded by flower beds with bench

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny)

James Smith MSGD, Design Director at Bowles & Wyer, thinks the philosophy of ‘less is more’ will become more prominent, saying: 'I really want to focus on creating more pared back design schemes, but with high attention to detail and finishing.'

Tracy McQue MSGD of Tracy McQue Gardens shares this philosophy, saying: 'I’m looking forward to planting multiple grasses and a simple palette of perennials to make the lightest of design touches to a very rural project I am working on in Scotland. It’s important that my design ties in with the extended and wild landscape.'

18. Beautify with a romantic plot

Vertical garden ideas with climbing roses

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

With more people using foraged food for cooking, Mia Witham thinks that edible forests could become the new vegetable garden. She says: 'I’m currently designing an edible forest for a chef in Suffolk. It is carefully designed, semi-wild ecosystem of plants organized in layers with trees making up the canopy layer, shrubs providing a middle layer and perennial plants covering the ground. It’s an exciting concept and unlike a traditional vegetable plot where annual plants are mainly grown, edible forests require minimum input for maximum output.'

Libby Russell MSGD of Mazzullo + Russell agrees, saying: ‘Productive gardens are still very much on trend’. Libby, with her design partner Emma Mazzullo MSGD, mixes fruit and vegetables together with cut flowers to give a romantic flavor to their productive gardens. ‘As long as there is a very clear underlying design in the garden you can overlay so many layers, provided they create beauty and romance’ says Libby, who sees romantic garden ideas having a revival in 2022.

19. Put wildlife at the forefront

Garden trends

(Image credit: Alamy)

Creating sustainable, wildlife garden ideas and beautiful spaces needs to be at the forefront of everything we do no matter what size or location of the gardens we are designing, says Tracy McQue. She believes that the materials and plants we include, where we source them from and how we re-use elements already in the garden are becoming more vital considerations.

Jane Brockbank MSGD of Jane Brockbank Gardens shares this ideal, saying: 'People are much more interested in making gardens that are good for wildlife. Awareness of the climate crisis and the loss of bio-diversity has grown enormously, even over the last year, and we are all taking our gardens far more seriously in regards to the important part they can play.'

Libby Russell of Mazzullo + Russell echoes this, saying: 'Our planting is evolving to use many more ‘wild’ plants that are great for bees, birds, pollinators and invertebrates but without losing glamor or impact. Single roses, species plants, seed heads and grasses are all valuable.'

Mandy Buckland MSGD of Greencube says she is incorporating ‘meadow areas, native hedging, gaps in fences for hedgehog movement and of course nectar rich planting’. While Tracy McQue advises that water features are integral to the wildlife-friendly spaces, and ideas such as bee-friendly boundary hedges are simple to incorporate into any garden.

20. Let pattern and texture take center stage 

Garden edging ideas

(Image credit: Future / Allan Pollok-Morris)

Pattern and texture will be creeping back into our gardens in 2022. 'Cold minimalism is beginning to look pretty tired now,' says Jane Brockbank 'and it also begs the question – "how does this contribute to the wildlife locally and in the garden?"' Jane brings pattern and texture into her designs by creating faceted planting zones and by blurring the line between the hard landscaped and soft planting areas in the garden, using gravel planting to create the transition between the two.

Mandy Buckland of Greencube Landscapes thinks the trend for creating an outdoor room will live on and we will move away from regular formatted paving. She says: 'There are lots of outdoor ceramic tiles on the market now. We are installing them as garden ‘rugs’ or design features within landscaped areas to create pattern, contrast and textural changes. It is much the same decorating a dining and living room in the house.'

21. Incorporate curvilinear forms

Concrete boarder edging with grass and evergreen tree

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After almost a decade of symmetrically ordered urban gardens, Mark Laurence thinks we’ll see ‘a turning away from the linear, contemporary town garden to something wilder and more curvilinear.’ Mark says: 'Curvilinear forms appear more natural in a garden environment and they connect us back to the flow of natural forms in the landscape.' It's a distinctive move away from the style of crisp, linear raised beds set against horizontal timber trellis that we have become so familiar with.

Following a similar path, James Smith of Bowles & Wyer has been experimenting with sculptural wall claddings in wood, metals and stone in organic, naturalistic patterns. He says: 'I think wall claddings will gain momentum in 2022. They are perfect for maximizing vertical surfaces in tight city gardens.'

22. Embrace the render revival

mediterranean garden with pergola covered in climbing plants

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

'Look out for Monocouche renders in 2022,' says Mark Laurence. These renders are a rare application in garden design, having been used predominantly by the housebuilding industry. 

Mark says: 'Monocouche renders are low maintenance, weather resistant and hard wearing plus they have great texture but they need professional application. A different look can be achieved with conventional render using mineral pigments (which are applied whilst the render is still green) and layered on in color washes and absorbed into the surface, keeping the render breathable. I think the red or yellow ochres tones work very well in a garden setting.'

23. Cherish outdoor play with family and friends 

A wooden chest of drawers with food and drink on it in front of a Welcome sign in a garden

Photography/Simon Scarboro

(Image credit: Future)

'Young families want to encourage their children to get outdoors, prizing them away from laptops, tablets and TV’s,' say Mandy Buckland of Greencube. 'We have been asked to integrate outdoor play in many of our gardens in recent months and have been incorporating blackboards, sand pits, hammocks, balance beams, climbing frames and even mini wildlife garden pond ideas. We design them so that they are integral to the garden layout, repeating the material and use or color.'

James Smith of Bowles & Wyer agrees, adding: 'Gardens will increasingly become important for families, to connect at social gatherings and for mental health – a welcome antidote to technology and screens.'

24. Work wood into your outdoor space 

Garden room with shed and garden furniture

(Image credit: Future / Jody Stewart)

'It’s not a new material but I think there will be a focus back on using timber next year,' says Tracy McQue. 'In the past it has been viewed as a material to use at ground level or for basic fences, but there are many elements in the garden that clever design can incorporate timber into. We use a local Scottish wood supplier when we can and I love the possibilities it gives us when we’re creating a new garden.'

Mandy Buckland of Greencube agrees, adding: 'There appears to be a continuing rise in popularity of charred timber for decking and the use of Shou Sugi Ban – the ancient Japanese wood burning technique.'

25. Go for greenhouse living 

Garden room ideas with country style decor

(Image credit: Future / Emme Lee)

A trend for larger greenhouse ideas and glasshouses has been influenced by the fact that we are increasingly using our greenhouses for both horticultural requirements and other ‘lifestyle’ uses.

'The vast majority of our customers are using their greenhouses for horticultural reasons, as you would expect – for growing edibles, raising seedlings, etc,' says Tom Barry, managing director of Hartley Botanic.

'However, many customers, who are still serious gardeners, are using their greenhouses in a more multifaceted way. We do see customers introducing living, relaxation, dining and lifestyle elements into their greenhouse use. Most commonly however, we are seeing a trend for greenhouses to be used for al fresco dining and as a space for morning and evening relaxation.'

The burgeoning greenhouse market amongst families with young children will continue to grow, driven by concerns around air miles, food provenance and organic production – along with the educational benefit of teaching kids about food. 

Spending more time at home over the last 18 months means the search for style inspiration for outdoor living has never been greater. Chelsea Gold Medal winning design duo Harris Bugg says: ‘Making spaces work harder for longer seasonal use is the current garden trend and that goes hand in hand with the planting and how we keep visual interest going through the seasons.

The garden now needs to be multipurpose, with a space for entertaining and relaxing. And it has to look good too. The 2022 garden will see a surge in ceramics, colored glass, local materials and granite. It’s all about materials that can be natural, artisan and practical at the same time. The planting spotlight is on successional designs that provide color and interest all year round. 

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.


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