A number of factors influence home design trends – awareness of social issues, availability of materials and simply what the zeitgeist deems to be fashionable at the time. At Ecopots, we are enamoured with the design world, and admire functional design with a focus on durability and quality. The word trend itself carries temporary and often problematic connotations; fast-paced passing fads are hardly ideal in a world that is running low on natural resources.
But, without further ado, here are some of the outdoor design and gardening trends we are getting behind for the coming year - trends that we believe will last…
Make way for Materials from Mother Nature
This year will see synthetic and artificial-looking materials being shunned in favour of those that satiate the innate human need to connect with mother nature. Natural stone and timber will dominate over metal and non-recyclable plastics, with the use of man-mixed cement and concrete being radically reduced too. Where possible, durable outdoor furniture made from hardwoods, such as teak, eucalyptus and iroko, are a worthy investment; whilst more expensive, they should age gracefully and not become weather-warped and sun-damaged over time. For outdoor countertops, non-porous weather-resisting granite, soapstone, or quartzite (not to be confused with synthetic quartz) are all popular choices - aesthetically beautiful and easily preserved with low maintenance care.
Get On Board with Open-air Cookery
On that note, a steep rise in outdoor cooking is the delicious trend of 2022 we can all get behind - be it with chic pizza ovens, smokers, BBQ grills, or multi-functional marvels that can do it all. Depending on your budget and how often you think you’ll be cooking up a storm out there, you could go the whole hog; think outdoor preparation areas, a sink, storage or even a refrigerated drinks cooler! Consider your garden an extension of your indoor living space and let your culinary creative juices flow.
Blur the Lines between Indoors and Outdoors
Make it almost impossible to know where the garden begins and your interior space end, with cosy and homely additions such as weather-resistant rugs and comfy cushions really coming into their own this year. Consider furniture that will suit your space and layout, as well as your functional needs; a Lavish L-shaped seating area framing a table, for example, will creates a sociable focal point on your patio or decking. Intersperse statement pots and planters filled with vibrant foliage alongside furniture.
Whatever the Weather
Say goodbye to the days of neglecting your garden or terrace for 6 months of the year - what a waste! There are plenty of innovative options for keeping yourself and any outdoor kit safe and dry over the winter months - such as incorporating a permanent gazebo, pergola, or retractable canopy, to shield your socialising space from the elements. Boost the potential of your plot with smart heating options too, such as a firepit or gas patio heater, to get the most out of every season.
The Reign of the Garden Room
In the same vein, garden rooms will continue their reign this year. From basic build-your-own kits to the most sophisticated unique scandi-inspired cabins, there is a style and size to suit everyone’s needs and taste. With the right set up and a reliable connection to an existing power source, these versatile self-contained spaces could become the perfect office or ultimate entertaining venue for your guests all year round – not to mention drastically increasing the value of your property.
Maximise Miniature Urban Spaces
Having access to a large garden is a luxury many of us living in urban areas do not have the pleasure of - a modest balcony or porch may be the only outdoor space available to play with. Work with what you’ve got! Employ hanging and wall pots to create vertical veg patches and flowerbeds; invest in space-saving furniture that can easily be tucked away or can provide handy under-seat storage. 2022 will hopefully see a rise in inclusive design that enables and encourages everyone to get the most out of their space and surround themselves with green, no matter their circumstances or budget.
For more small-space-specific ideas, check out our previous blog PLANTS + DESIGN: Spruce up your outdoor urban space for spring (part 1 / part 2).
Lead with Low Impact Design
Work with what you’ve got. Where possible, leave behind massive upheavals of outside areas, opting instead for working within the existing features and framework of the space. This minimal impact ideology also lends itself to how you treat the soil laying beneath your garden; categorised as no dig gardening (the term originally coined by gardener Charles Dowding) this method involves leaving original soil beds - and the carbon locked within them - untouched, instead placing new nutrient-dense compost on the surface. Fear not green-fingered folk - you can still grow your organic veggies successfully. In fact, this minimal disturbance method also gives soil-dwelling organisms such as earthworms space to do what they do best - facilitate the circle of life, by decomposing dead organic matter and allowing vital nutrients to be recycled – ultimately benefiting the plants you are trying to grow on the surface. Win win.
Embrace your Wild Side
Set aside your visions of neat striped lawns and uniform flower beds! 2022 will see a concerted effort to encourage insects, birds, and the like back into our gardens by providing diverse nutrients and shelter in the form of long unkempt grasses, wild flowers and trees. Heightened worry about climate change brings new awareness of the planet’s need for biodiversity, and consequently the movement towards wildlife-friendly, plant-led gardens. Appreciate the individual character and charm this more rustic and natural aesthetic brings. Tapestry and meadow lawns are very on trend, providing an alternative to your average monochrome and mono-texture standard grass. Combine a variety of different mow-tolerant plant species for a low-maintenance, high-reward lawn!
Whilst neutral earthy tones, such as beige and grey, are still predicted to dominate interiors and outdoor furnishings - your plant life needn’t follow suit. 2022 will see the celebration of flowering plants of jewel-like shades, such as deep fuchsia and garish gold. The more variety the better, with random unformulaic planting schemes encouraged to attract our precious pollinators.
The uncertainty of rising temperatures and the prospect of longer periods without rain means that Mediterranean-type planting will become more commonplace in the usually wet average European climate. Drought-thriving plants such as lavender, perovskia and verbena are great hardy options, and will also provide that welcome pop of colour.