Last week I travelled to the Ideal Home Show at Kensington Olympia, hoping to see what the future of gardens and planting might look like and get an idea of the trends we are likely to see in the coming years.
Gardens Become Outside Rooms
For the last few years the trend has been towards the use of the garden as an additional room in your property, and I think this is even more prevalent in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, with all of us spending more time at home and wanting to make the best use of the space we have.
It was clear from the Ideal Home Show that this trend is here to stay, with a real focus in the show gardens on the space being maximised to entertain, cook and dine, with accessories allowing use of the garden as the evening gets both cooler and darker.
Garden suites are having more of an “indoor style” to them, and there was a real lean towards outdoor lighting to allow the space to be enjoyed well into the long summer evenings. The innovation in the lighting again leant towards a much less industrial, softer indoor approach.
Pergolas for Protection
Many of the show gardens focussed on the use of pergolas to provide shade and also protection from wind and rain by nature of protective curtains and a louvre roof. This one, like the one we have in our range this year, was a popular hit with the visitors who could see the advantage of being able to both let the sun in, but keep any breeze of light rain out.
Outdoor Cooking and Dining
This show garden really caught my eye. I loved the use of the space to combine a cooking and dining area, beautifully lit and planted up to give the whole garden a serene feel. The water feature inserted into a planter to allow close up surrounding planting I thought was a great use of space and would work well in a small garden, and the combination plating in the large, square planters that accommodated both herbs and floral planting was great. Herb beds can be a little uninspiring to look at, but adding some flowering plants makes a utilitarian bed have some beauty whilst also providing a lovely scent.
As well as the inside moving out, there was plenty of examples of adding foliage to the inside in the form of houseplants. The popularity of houseplants has been rising for some time and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Hanging plants and large statement foliage pieces can soften a room, as well as bring all the health benefits associated with having houseplants in your inside space.
As for the future, I was really taken with this solar power system that will be on the market by the end of the year. Easy to install and portable, the manufacturers claim it could provide up to a third of the average three bedroom house’s electricity in a given year.
Futuristic Garden Spaces
Perhaps a little more futuristic were these conker pods that had multiple uses including a home office, a space for teenagers to chill out or even maybe a granny annexe!
All in all it was great to see so much enthusiasm around the garden and outdoor living. If one of the few positives of us all spending more time at home over the last couple of years is that we have fallen in love with our outside space and are looking at ways to get the best out of it, there is plenty out there to help us achieve it.