New year, new ideas. Here are the top garden design trends for 2016:
1. Monochrome Palettes
A one-color palette creates a serene backdrop for outdoor living—and plays up textures in the garden. A dash of black may be all you need to call attention to the green contours of a landscape. Photograph courtesy of Harrison Green. For more of this garden, see Garden Designer Visit: A Manhattan Rooftop Terrace with Panoramic Central Park Views.
2. Raked Gardens
Above: Environmentally friendly Gravel Gardens (one of last year’s best garden design trends) are looking more manicured this year. Raking is a kind of meditation. Photograph by and courtesy of Don Freeman.
For more of this garden, see Designer Visit: A Garden Inspired by Japan, in Westchester County, New York.
3. See-Through Fences
Increase air flow if you live in a mosquito-prone zone such as Brooklyn with spaced fence slats (the Venetian blind look also lets in light and makes a small backyard feel less like a box).
4. Pallet-Style Furniture
Recycle, reclaim, and reuse are the tenets of environmentally friendly garden (and outdoor furniture) design. Upcycled pallets (or slatted furniture built to evoke the look) provide a geometric focal point in teh garden.
5. Portable Gardens
Planters on wheels, portable pots in vacant lots, and Community Gardens That Move Indoors during cold weather are turning temporary gardens into permanent friends. (For another of our favorite traveling gardens, see 66 Square Feet Plus on a Harlem Terrace).
6. Rollaway Walls
The ultimate luxury is a house that completely erases the barriers between outdoors and in. In the spirit of their predecessor the rollaway bed, rollaway walls disappear into the background when they’re not needed.
Above: A mown path cuts through an orchard in England. For more, see Garden Visit: The Unique Charms of Glyndbourne in Sussex. Photograph byHoward Sooley.
Call it the ultimate low-impact hardscaping element. A mown grass path puts travelers in the midst of a meadow—temporarily. If you don’t like the layout, let it grow back and start over.
8. Blue Hydrangeas
Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams.
Nothing is more old-fashioned—or more modern—than electric blue hydrangeas. The hue is polarizing—and mesmerizing, when paired with the turquoise blue surface of a swimming pool as at the Hamptons home of Finnish stylist Tiina Laakonen. See more at Rhapsody in Blue: At Home in the Hamptons.
9. Decorative Drains
The French drain comes out of the basement to claim its rightful place in the garden. As beautiful as it is useful, the decorative French drain adds an element of texture to your hardscape design. See more on Thursday in this week’s new Hardscaping 101 post.
10. Instant Gardens
Above: Photograph via Seedsheets.
Roll out pre-planted sheets impregnated with seeds to sprout an instant crop in a garden bed. Just add water to prompt pre-measured herb and vegetable seeds to grow. The trend is a natural outgrowth (pardon the pun) of last year’s practice of Sprouting Microgreens with Growing Paper. (Come back next week when we take a closer look at one company that makes seed sheets.)
11. Grass Gardens
Above: Swaths of perennial grasses create painterly landscapes that serve as habitats for wildlife, need little water, and look good year-round. For more of our favorites, see 9 Ways to Create Curb Appeal with Perennial Grasses.
12. The Grottage
Garage-to-cottage conversions are on the rise. The garden grottage is the new guest room.
13. The Untamed Look
Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Above: It’s hard not to see the perfection in imperfection in the garden: flowers gone to seed, sprawled clumps of unruly perennials, volunteer wildflowers, or a jerry-rigged hardscape plan that makes the most of what you have (instead of bulldozing everything to start from scratch). The untamed look was popular at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show, and we’re expecting to see even more of it this year.
14. Turf to Order
Above: Photograph via Wildflower Turf.
Above: Also seen at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show, large mats planted with turf or wildflowers can roll out “like Persian carpets,” noted our UK editor, Kendra Wilson.
15. Eggshell Fertilizer
Above: Eggshells make an attractive garden mulch, with benefits. Justine, our East Coast editor who started saving eggshells last year to use in the garden, says, “Though nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are most vital for healthy growth, calcium is also essential for building healthy ‘bones’—the cell walls of a plant. Composed of calcium carbonate, eggshells are an excellent way to introduce this mineral into the soil.”
She preps eggshells by grinding them with a mortar and pestle before tilling them into the soil. (It takes several months for eggshells to break down and be absorbed by roots, add them to soil in both fall and spring.)
See more in Gardening 101: How to Use Eggshells in the Garden.
16. Artisanal Marijuana
Above: As more states legalize marijuana, backyard growers are trying to hybridize perfect blends and grow a bush that blends in with the rest of the garden. See more in Growing Guide: 11 Essential Tips to Grow Your Own Marijuana. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.
Looking back on the year that was? See Top 10 Garden Designs of 2015.