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The gardening trends to look out for in 2022

House & Garden UK Garden editor Clare Foster outlines the trends in the world of garden design and gardening this year

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By House & Garden South Africa | January 26, 2022 | Gardens

The new year is upon us in earnest, and with it comes the time to consider what 2022 might have in store for our gardens. Here, House & Garden UK Garden Editor Clare Foster considers the most salient questions surrounding garden design, planting, materials and aesthetics – and predicts that climate change will be the biggest single influencer in how we garden in 2022.

Nature rules

The over-arching trend this year will be the movement towards wildlife-friendly, plant-led gardens that enable everyone to do their bit for the environment. The heightened worry about climate change brings more understanding of the need for biodiversity, so gardens will be fizzing with plant and insect life. People will retune their eye to an aesthetic that is natural and perhaps a little rough around the edges, appreciating the character this brings.

Gardens and wellbeing

Another reason for surrounding ourselves with plants is for their therapeutic value. The pandemic has made us much more aware of our own mental health and we have learnt firsthand how our gardens have helped us through this difficult time. Biophilia – the basic human need to interact with nature – is the word on everyone’s lips, and our gardens can be used to give us the nature-hit we need.

Strong colour

After the stresses and strains of the pandemic, we all need colour in our lives, and planting schemes are moving away from the tasteful pastels and muted colours that have been in vogue for the past decade towards something much more bold. Lustrous, jewel-like colours will be all the rage – but not necessarily in harmonious sweeps or blocks. Planting schemes will be random and natural, like a stylized meadow, designed more for pollinators than human beings.

Drought-tolerant planting

The uncertainty of climate change and the likelihood of longer periods without rain means that Mediterranean-type planting will become a more popular choice. Drought-tolerant flowering plants such as lavender, perovskia and verbena will attract the bees, while shrubs such as Teucrium fruticans, Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ and Santolina chamaecyparissus will be planted as alternatives to traditional box and yew.

Patchwork terraces

Large expanses of paving or terracing are less fashionable these days as plants start to win over. As well as being harder on the eye, large areas of stone or brick provide an impermeable surface that causes excess water run-off. Pockets of low planting in between paving softens the outlook and increases your plant count, or you can just leave large, gravel-filled gaps in between pavers and let nature do the rest with self-seeding plants.

Photo by Éva Németh

Natural materials

With our eyes tuned to a more natural look, artificial-looking materials are beginning to look out of place. Metal and plastic are being cast aside in favour of natural stone and well-worn timber, and the use of cement and concrete is being reduced. New methods of laying stone and brick reduce the need for traditional mortar and create more permeable substrates to better manage storm water.

Low impact design

Out go radical garden makeovers and in come low-impact schemes that work with the existing features and framework, lessening the need for large machinery, soil replacement and new structures, and upcycling materials in the garden to reduce the carbon footprint.

No-dig gardening

Growing your own organic fruit and vegetables is still a strong trend – but more of us will turn to the much-vaunted ‘no-dig’ method pioneered by gardener Charles Dowding. Even as gardeners we release small amounts of carbon into the atmosphere when we dig over our soil, so piling nutrient- and carbon-rich compost on the surface and leaving the earthworms to do the rest means that more carbon can be sequestered in the soil. This method also means that the beneficial soil organisms are left undisturbed to proliferate, making nutrients directly available to the plants we grow: win win.

Reducing plastic

Reducing single-use or non-recyclable plastic in our gardening practices will become a priority for most of us. While we re-use existing pots and seed trays over and over again, we won’t be buying new ones, and will seek out alternative and more sustainable products made from biodegradable materials such as rubber, wood or cardboard.

Photo by Éva Németh

Cut flowers

Our desire for a more natural aesthetic in planting means that we also want a more natural look for our cut flowers. With more time at home, more of us have had the time and the confidence to try growing our own flowers from seed, and this trend will continue in 2022, with brightly-coloured cottage garden flowers such as poppies, hollyhocks and larkspur leading the way in terms of popularity.

Gardens for entertaining

With travel curtailed and office time cut, we are spending more time in our gardens and investing in smart outdoor kitchens and top-notch garden furniture, as well as swimming pools, hot tubs and garden buildings to entertain our friends in.

Gardens for work

Garden offices will continue to be big business this year, with the advantage that they can boost your house price. From the basic build-your-own kits offered by to the unique prefab cabins by Koto Design, there is a style and a size to suit everyone.

Written by Clare Foster.

This article originally appeared on House & Garden UK.