Garden design trends 2017

We ask the experts for their gardening insights for 2017. 


With sustainability, wildlife and climate variations coming to the fore in the news, what will be the garden trends be for 2017? We ask the experts for their insights.


Inchbald School of Design

Annie Guilfoyle
Garden designer and lecturer

2016 was the year of shock results. Never has the garden been more important as a place of solace, refuge, comfort and somewhere to come together. The role of the garden designer is more important than ever.



Rosemary Alexander
English Gardening School

Designers are using shrubs and multi-stemmed trees to break up existing perennial borders, setting them out between other plants like furniture in a room, singly or in groups. Experiment with pruning to shape, and keep up with improved cultivars on offer, such as Choisya x dewitteana White Dazzler (=’Londaz’) or try Phillyrea instead of fungus-prone Buxus.


Andrew Fisher Tomlin
London College of Garden Design

It’s now almost impossible to predict seasonal weather patterns. Rather than being disorientated by this, plant specialists are embracing the opportunity being offered one year to the next by this variation and trying more unusual species, such as the evergreens Acacia pravissima and Westringia fruticosa, and using restios such as Baloskion tetraphyllum alongside traditional grasses.


Hilary Thomas

Very small gardens and roof terraces have become the norm in new developments in towns and cities. Residents require privacy and an instant garden, so pleached hedges and fastigiate trees along with an interesting range of evergreen forms and textures are being used to furnish these smaller spaces.


Nigel Dunnett
Planting designer

We are finally moving out of the New Perennial groove that planting design has been in for the past two or three decades. Increasingly we will welcome, embrace and integrate shrubs into exciting mixed plantings, with more year-round solidity and structure than grasses and perennials alone can provide.


Tim Richardson
Garden critic

The naturalistic appeal of the New Perennial movement continues its influence, now morphed into the idea of the replication of specific ‘plant communities’ (what we used to call ‘gardens’). But the pendulum is swinging back towards more complexity in the planting regimen – not exactly a return to the pictorial and narrative preoccupations of Arts and Crafts, but a delight in creative plant combination plus the abiding passion for novelty among British gardeners.


Juliet Sargeant
Doctor-turned garden designer

Designers want to create beautiful gardens that people enjoy, but how about aspiring to create effective designs? Gardens that we know will make you healthier because they are based on scientific research and evidence for what promotes well-being. The information is accumulating, policy-makers are watching and design is improving.


Marcus Barnett
Garden designer

Our clients are seeking greater sustainability in their gardens with a desire to embrace greater ecology. The planting palettes are becoming more naturalistic with half an eye on catering for wildlife. If this direction continues, I think we’ll see less of a dramatic transition from one season to the next with plants straddling more than one season as they are left to die well – and clients becoming tolerant of this.


Marie-Louise Agius
Garden designer

I believe there is an ever-increasing necessity for a thorough understanding of the process of design and implementation. From client to planner, design team to sub-contractors, communication and collaboration is critical. Projects are often complex inter-disciplinary schemes, requiring experience of procurement and site management, as well as a detailed knowledge of a much wider range of plants.



This article was taken from a feature in the January issue of Gardens Illustrated (243). 









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