Like any form of art, garden design moves in trends. We also often see unfashionable trends re-emerging years or decades later to become popular again. And certainly in this country, most trends start to emerge towards the end of summer once the big-hitters in the garden show calendar have finished. The Royal Chelsea Flower Show is the biggest of those particular hitters, and there are some very interesting designs that came out of this year’s edition that we expect to see taking off in autumn.
Here are 3 of the biggest:
Demonised as one of the most environmentally-harmful building materials, concrete was shunned across the spectrum for a long time in recent history. But over the past few years, concrete has enjoyed a hipster-like revival inside and outside of the home. Kitchen surfaces, barbecues and ornaments are starting to reappear in concrete – with elevated price tags.
In garden design particularly; polished, patterned and textured concrete is coming back big. The Linklaters Garden, Darren Hawkes’ garden at Chelsea, made award-winning use of concrete; along with the Jo Whiley Scent Garden and Kate Gould’s City Living Garden. Concrete’s utter antithesis to natural materials and organics creates a stark contrast and, used sparingly, can create strikingly beautiful spaces.
Paving is Crazy (…again)
Geometry has always enjoyed populism in garden design. Sure, it was all the rage a few decades ago, but it was never widely discarded in the way that concrete was. Chelsea’s winners have been dominated by strictly straight paving in recent times, but not this year. The Morgan Stanley Garden was fractal to the extreme, whilst the main show’s gardens plumped for the very traditional and outdated 1990s crazy paving.
Geometrics jigsaws featured heavily in the Breaking Ground Garden, the Royal Bank of Canada Garden and the Texture Garden. Interestingly enough, all three of these gardens also utilised concrete shapes to some effect.
The increasing population, and housing shortage, in the UK seemed to rear its head this year at Chelsea. Individuals with low exterior square footage available to them can look to the Greening Grey Britain Garden from this year for some urban creativity. There was a rain garden designed to show how to positively use flooding and drought-tolerant plants. Mini rooftop gardens were built around and above the unfashionable outdoor accessories (like bins and bikes) – and the message was not to try and hide the real-world components of a residential garden.
Eden Restored is a team of passionate garden designers working throughout London, Kent and Surrey.
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