Top Garden Trends



Gone are the misty and cool shades: bold, vibrant and hot is happening. Orange-red and fuchsia set an exciting tone with yellows and bronzes as highlights. White will never be out of fashion, so if you must do classical, stick to whites and creams.


Bring the garden in and take the house out. Blur the boundaries – install glass walls, windows in the roof, balconies, terraces, bridges, towers and conservatories. Plant right up to the windows and create places in your home that provide light and air so you can have plants living inside with you.

Creepers draped across a garden wall.

Creepers are essential

They deliver a whole lot of plant for water delivered to a very small area and they add dimension in terms of vertical gardening. Once you have them trained they are easy to look after, too.

Variegated Plants

Don’t be afraid of variegated leaves – although for decades now we have shunned them. Look for stripes, blotches, spots – these plants will light up your garden without flowers, and add character throughout the year.

Bold shapes form a pretty contrast in a succulent garden.

Bold shapes

We used to call them ‘architectural plants’ and used them sparingly. Now they are everywhere, massed and marching across our gardens, clearing all those soft, sweet plantings away. I’m thinking swathes of Phormiums, forests of aloes and mounds of Mesembryanthemums.

Crazy paving

Slate is one of the most practical materials – think large random-sized pieces, either grouted or planted with very flat ground covers in between…gorgeously retro.

An organic rockery in a Jo’burg garden.

Rockeries with a difference

Not the humpy, random mounds your aunt had, but natural-looking shelves of rock slanting across the garden, walls of rock with plants in the crevices and steps looking like a mountain path. Keep in mind that rock placement requires skill and understanding in order to look like nature put it there.

Living in your garden

Use your garden. Create spaces to eat, sleep, play, wash, watch a movie and work. Add music, lights, warmth and comfort. We have one of the best climates in the world, after all.

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Photography: Elsa Young