Friday, July 10, 2020

Inside Out: 2020 Garden Trends

A daybed hanging in the shade of a tree.A black and white patio with tile floors, geometric print rug and egg chairsGardens, gardening, yards, porches, balconies with all types of plants and plantings are beyond
popular now. People have been driven by a variety of factors (social distancing, food and economic security, renewed interest in nature) to nurture and enjoy the plants around them, and as the home-bound populace moves out into the sun, they bring these interests with them. So what does this mean trend-wise? What do 2020 gardeners want to see and do now that warm weather is here? Create the ideal outdoor space, of course. A few unexpected trends have developed in response to this but many are a natural extension of the spring gardening craze.

Two Adirondack chairs with a red lantern on table between them. They also have two beers on a tray between them.According to this article, which used Google Trends to get their results, the following terms have seen huge increases in searches in the last 6 months: Adirondack chairs (up 303%), patio daybeds (up 275%), outdoor small space furniture (up 243%), hammocks (up 216%), outdoor bars (up 192%), Egg chairs (up189%), outdoor tiles (up 174%), fire pits (up 148%) and outdoor kitchens (up106%). While it’s not noteworthy that people are planning their summer outdoor life in the first 6 months of any year, there is an argument to be made that these searches are indicative of a desire for comfort and livability in our in the summer of 2020.  With so many of the customary summer activities curtailed by Covid-19, people are spending not just time, but money, on enjoying being outside while staying home.

A wooden table with mismatched chairs in an arbor full of flowers and twinkly lights.There are two styles of outdoor design that seem to be coming to the forefront this summer and, while they have some similarities and contain some of the trends mentioned previously, they are fundamentally quite different. One is the Boho/Bohemian style and the other is a more minimalist and sleekly contemporary look. Let’s look at each one:

A grey-tone couch on a tile floor with multiple pillows and blankets.Boho:  This look brings in fabrics and pillows (often
mismatched artfully), woven rugs, wood, twinkling lighting. The colors are generally muted or earth tones, but can be more vibrant. The idea is to mix textures for visual and tactile stimulation while maintaining a relaxed vibe. This design style harkens back to a groovier time in the 60s and early 70s. This look is ideal for someone on a limited budget as you can repurpose items you already have inside your home and simply drag them outside. Repurposing in this way is a huge trend on its own and this style is perfectly suited for it. Just a couple of words of caution, however: Mismatched does not mean clashing and mixing items does not mean adding clutter. Style icon Coco Chanel famously said (in regard to accessories): “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” I believe that this is excellent advice when decorating a Boho garden: step away and take a good look, then remove one thing. Or not; you may have it just to your taste.

Long, low grey futon-like seating broken up with tall bushes.A narrow garden with white orbs and decorative trees in large urns.The seating area is to the rear past large white paving stones.Contemporary: This style is dominated by large objects and clean lines in white or muted tones relieved in places with pops of color. Think long, sleek bench or sofa-like furnishings surrounded by wow-factor trees or shrubs planted in dramatic urns. Concrete fits in well here – both the material and the color. It has become popular these days to mix this style with permeable pavers that allow you to add geometric shapes to your grass (see some cool driveways with this technique here). This makes a visually interesting contrast to the simple lines of the furnishings in the contemporary theme, but the effect can be appealing within many different design styles. Many people consider the premier example of this contemporary design aesthetic to be Belgian Design, which is described is as the ultimate in luxurious simplicity. While many aspects of these contemporary designs are clearly high-end, people are still embracing (those that can, anyway) it as a way to add high-quality and enduring design to their homes. Those without the designer budget can look to the concrete angle as a way to build pieces that fit into the scheme and find inexpensive or old pieces to rehab and update to get the look.

There are other trends that weave through all the design styles. These include:

A lounge chair with green cushions on a patio surrounded by vegetation.
Garden Nooks: After being locked down with the family for so long, having a nearby and comfy place to escape them is high on many people’s wish list. Even if you live alone, having a spot to sit and read, meditate, or just doze can be incredibly rejuvenating to body and spirit. There are lots of ways to create a place for alone-ness without a lot of space or money. The internet is full of ways to DIY privacy walls. In addition to, or instead of, walls there are plenty of plants that grow into beautiful barriers. You could try bamboo, it is a prolific grower and would look good in almost any garden. Or go for a time-honored perennial like a rhododendron, which will give you low-maintenance and year-round privacy for many years to come. So be comfy amongst your pillows or stripped-down and zen on a platform, just get out there.
An outdoor kitchen made of concrete with a green barbecue grill.
Outdoor Kitchens: Whether you have $50,000 or $50 to spend, an outdoor kitchen is just the ticket after being stuck in your inside kitchen for so long. Every outdoor space can contain an eating/preparing food space. Your challenge is to find a way to make it fit your needs and budget. Here are some DIY projects that may give you some ideas.

A soft-focus close-up of  a purple flower with bees around it.Wildlife, Pollinators and Native Plants:  It is one thing to have beautifully wonderful plants around you, but your garden goes to another level when you can use native plants and give sustenance and succor to pollinators and other wild creatures. Happily, this idea is now mainstream and on-trend. For more on how you can make your garden pollinator-friendly, read my blog on it here.

Outdoor Tiles: Decking and concrete are perennial favorites for gardens and patios, but tiling has emerged as a trend that is a stylish and easy-care alternative. And it fits any look that you are going for from homey to stark to vividly patterned to a natural-looking neutral. This site has more on this beautiful option.

Betty Boop relaxing in a hammock. The words "Self Care" and "Self Quarantine" are pooping up in a yellow heart. What about those people who do not have a yard to create a garden in? What are the trends there? The answer is that there is a lot going on there and next week I will delve into that large group of garden-space lovers.

Submitted by Pam

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