It’s that time of year again! Yes, you read that right—it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to be doing in the garden this year. Much like last year, some of this year’s garden trends have come about because of the pandemic. Other trends place emphasis on environmental friendliness and reducing our carbon footprints. Read below for a roundup of the things that will be hot this year.
Indoors? Outdoors? Why Not Both?
Last year’s garden trends included both bringing plants indoors and taking elements of the indoors outside. This year? The pandemic is ongoing, and that means people are still staying home more than usual. It also means that these two trends are not only continuing, but evolving into even bigger and better things.
Let’s start by bringing the outdoors inside. Have you seen #PlantMom trending on Instagram? So have we—and this year, it’s about a whole lot more than planting a windowsill herb garden. Now, we’re looking at something more robust. That means grow lights, hanging planters, and even bringing small trellises indoors for vining plants. Some hobbyists are creating entire jungle room—although most people looking to get in on the trend are collecting a few choice houseplants with a focus on beautiful foliage or flowers. In particular, tropical plants featuring colorful or unusual foliage are growing in popularity.
Now let’s take the inside outdoors. Last year saw the beginnings of this trend as people created comfortable backyard havens with cozy seating and extras like firepits or outdoor projectors. This year, the trend marches forward. People are now creating outdoor “garden rooms.”
What do you need to create a garden room? Something for privacy, be it a fence, screens, or trellises. Shade is also a must, either via shade trees, an arbor lush with foliage, an awning, or a roof. Lighting is getting an upgrade, too. You can still have your firepit, but people are also adding string lights, lanterns and lamps to their outdoor living rooms.
Gardening as Stress Relief
Over the years, we’ve seen different types of gardening rise to fit different needs. Edible gardening grew big as the demand for locally grown produce grew, and native gardening became popular as people became more conscious of native plants and the animals who frequent them.
The big need this year? After a couple of years of uncertainty, people are looking for ways to relieve stress. In the garden, that means—well, it could mean anything, depending on what helps you to relax! Mostly, it’s about creating your own little oasis of life, color, scent, and sound.
If you find floral scents soothing, then you might want to include plants with perfumed flowers and foliage. Some people find a particular color more soothing than all the rest—and it will benefit them to plant flowers of that color. To relax to the sounds of trickling water, create a water feature by tucking a small, inexpensive fountain among the greens.
Bringing Back the Birdbath
Here’s another amalgamation of garden trends—and this one is for the birds. With the rise of native gardening to support local wildlife, birds included, and the need to create stress-relieving green spaces, the birdbath is coming back to backyards near you. In keeping with this trend, look for items that can safely be repurposed as a birdbath, or shop for something unique that serves as a focal point.
the Outdoor Office
If you’ve been following all the trends above, then you’ve put in a lot of work to create a beautiful, stress-relieving place full of interesting sights, scents, and sounds. Are you only going to use it when you’ve got time off on the weekends? Many people are saying absolutely not to that idea! With more people than ever before working from home, outdoor offices are starting to trend.
What does it take to build an outdoor office? If you’ve built an outdoor living room, then you likely already have most of what you need. The key elements are a workspace, which will consist of a table and chair within Wi-Fi range and near to power outlets, shade to keep the glare off your laptop, and privacy in the form of hedges, fences, or lush trellises so that your neighbors don’t accidentally interrupt your Zoom meetings.
Gardening for Climate Change
As the effects of climate change become more extreme, people have started to respond with the way that they garden—though this means different things in different areas. Areas that are experiencing record-breaking wildfires are doing what’s known as “firescaping.” Firescaping means fireproofing the landscape as much as possible by doing things like:
- Planting water-retaining plants, which are slower to catch fire.
- Creating defensible spaces around the home, which often means moving wood-mulched beds away and creating fire-resistant beds immediately around the house instead.
- Using stone, brick, or concrete paths or walls to create firebreaks within the landscape.
Elsewhere, where people are experiencing record rainfall, popular gardening trends include planting water-loving plants in lower areas where water collects or protecting against erosion with groundcovers and other things that have root systems to keep soil in place.
One part of this trend defies regional conditions, and that is the rise of low carbon gardening. Low carbon gardening places an emphasis on purchasing locally produced plants, materials and products for the garden, thereby reducing the carbon emissions created via long-distance shipping. Many also choose to reduce their environmental impact even further by not only purchasing local goods, but also by purchasing renewable or easily recyclable things such as wood or metal patio furniture instead of plastic.
Ready to get growing? Use these trends as your roadmap to create a gorgeous outdoor space for the summer! And be sure to check out our Gardening By The Moon Calendar. Many people swear they get the best results when they follow our tips.
Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental, and green living topics.