When I look across my weather beaten garden that has endured weeks of relentless bullet-like rain and pummeling from gale-force winds it’s hard to imagine I’ll ever enjoy being out in my garden again. Luckily though with a little trendspotting, imagination and a new book from BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World favourite, Joe Swift, I’m now planning how I’m going to get my garden ready for the year.
So, what’s hot?
Well according to the Garden Media Group’s 2014 Garden Trend Report, the main trend of the year will be homeowners spending more leisure time outdoors, decorating their garden rooms as much as their home interiors. Think scatter cushions on outdoor furniture, all-weather chandeliers, garden art and funky planters.
Another big trend for 2014 will be using more sustainable materials in the garden, indeed a quick search on Pinterest for ‘eco-friendly gardens’ and you’ll see a phenomenal range of creative, green, fair trade solutions for the garden. Upcycling, of course, is hugely popular, check out this upcycled birdcage planter, and using recycled materials will also feature heavily. Keep your eyes posted for my forthcoming review of recycled plastic posts, perfect for small retaining walls in the garden.
Other green trends for the garden which continue to grow (pardon the pun) are:
• grow your own, but now with added super-foods, such as kale,
• bee-friendly gardens, planting native, pollen-rich flowers, trees and vegetables to provide safe shelter,
• recycling food scraps and making your own eco-friendly compost (check out my Hotbin compost review)
• and a new one, Drink Your Own Garden. With the benefits of juicing becoming more main stream, using soft fruits from the garden, such as raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and juicing them, making smoothies and cocktails will be all the rage this year.
• Not only that, Fermentation Gardens will be a new craze. From growing hops for making your own beer to grapes for home-made wine – move over Tom and Barbara from The Good Life!
All the above may sound wonderful if you’ve got a huge garden, but what if like many urban dwellers garden space is at a premium, how can all or indeed any of the above be achieved with minimal space and a reasonable budget? This is where Joe Swift comes to the rescue.
In his fabulous new book, Joe’s Small Garden Handbook, Joe shows how we can create a fabulous outdoor area in even the smallest spaces.
From family gardens with comfortable, practical seating and creative, flexible areas for kids to play, to stress-busting roof top gardens with atmospheric lighting Joe shows how to make a mini paradise that ticks all of your functional and style requirements, is cost conscious and makes the best use of every inch of available space.
Leading you through each stage, from initial assessment, planning, choosing the best plants, quick makeovers and all-year round maintenance with Joe’s practical approach, insider professional advice and stunning colour photographs you have everything at your finger tips to inspire and help you create your very own garden oasis.
My favourite design, the Family Garden, combines a low maintenance family seating area, raised pond and a shaded, raised deck quiet area at the end of the garden, this garden is functional and fun. Bang on trend, it is an extension of the home to be used for socialising, it has space for a spot of GYO, the generous planting areas encourage wildlife into the garden and the garden design could easily incorporate sustainable materials into the build.
So what your waiting for, pull up a chair, make yourself a cup of tea and get planning your perfect garden well before the garden centre Easter madness begins.
Joe’s Small Garden Handbook, published by Quadrille, £9.99, available at Amazon