The festive period is now behind us and there’s only a few short weeks of winter to go! It’s time to get excited about the hottest 2021 garden trends for your outdoor space.
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a big gardening year. So many more of us got outside to boost our wellbeing, create space for socialising, and grow flowers, fruit, and veg. Looking forward, 2021 is full of promise for stunning garden design ideas – from wild gardens and monochrome tones to pizza ovens and hot tubs.
We’ve done our research to share our top trends with you, backed up by some top-notch industry experts. So, whether you want to freshen up a slightly neglected corner, undergo a major overhaul, inject a new dose of colour or try out something new, these stylish ideas are sure to get you inspired. It doesn’t matter if you have acres of land, a small patio, or simply a windowsill to play with either. There’s something to suit everyone!
1. Wild gardens
Chris Packham has inspired us to ditch the lawn mover, encouraging a more relaxed, and certainly more straightforward approach: just let it grow! This method is very much in tune with the latest trend of wild gardens – where nature is permitted to take charge.
Emma Bond, founder of Bath Garden Design, says, 'As we have been limited in our travels and even visiting the countryside, we crave a connection with birds, insects, wild flowers and nature.'
'There has been a huge uptick in sales of bird feeders, bee hotels, wild flower turf and seeds as well as natural perennial planting. This is easily achieved in any size of garden and has huge stress-busting benefits. Watching nature unfold around us is an antidote to the difficult times we find ourselves living in.'
2. Instagram-friendly veg
Growing your own veg is perhaps one of life’s greatest, yet simplest pleasures, so it’s no surprise that the trend to do so will continue in force. Last year, Suttons, one of the UK’s leading seed companies, sold over 2,000% more seeds during the spring. 95% of which were for edible plants!
Don’t forget that vegetables can be lovely to look at too – think ruffled cabbages, bright red tomatoes and flowering beans.
Check out the beautiful Swiss Chard called ‘Peppermint’ for starters! Don’t forget we have lots of grow your own guides here at Gardeningetc to help you on your way.
3. Raised beds everywhere
These types of beds make planting, maintaining and harvesting simple – and are much better for minimising back-ache when you’re busy with all-important weeding! Whether your planting style is neat and orderly or more wild, raised beds can be a wonderful feature in themselves. How about giving them a lick of outdoor-friendly paint in a jazzy colour?
4. Unusual herbs
Don’t have the space for raised beds? Don’t worry! You can still grow delicious herbs from a container, or even on a sunny windowsill, to make your meals extra special.
Most of us have heard of (or grown) the classic sorts like basil or parsley, but 2021 is the year to enter pastures new in the herby world and try out something different!
How about this mushroom plant from Suttons, which sports spinach-like foliage with a distinct umami taste, and pretty blue flowers in the warmer months? The ‘Hot & Spicy’ variety of oregano is one to try, too – to give dishes an extra kick. Head over to our guide on how to create a herb garden for more ideas.
5. Mediterranean styling
Many of us are unable to venture off on our usual summer holidays due to the global pandemic, so why not bring your holiday to you? According to the team at John Lewis, Mediterranean gardens are a big trend for 2021 across both homes and gardens, and it's been given a modern twist with colour palettes in terracotta, pistachio and pastels.
Add some rustic outdoor crockery, layers of scatter cushions and perhaps some soft garden lighting ideas to set the tone, and you’re ready for a five-star staycation!
6. Indoor/outdoor living
With the intermittent lockdowns, many of us are home more than usual. As a result, the trend to extend our indoor living into our outdoor space is staying strong for 2021.
Rosheen Forbes at Ikea highlights the importance of reconnecting with our gardens during these times, to create a sanctuary that feels 'unique to you'. Channelling your personality using colourful textiles, outdoor rugs, and ambient lighting are just some of Rosheen's suggestions for a quick and inexpensive lift. Perfect for a welcoming, zen-like zone.
Paul Bevington from Kettler, says, 'Gardens, patios and balconies will continue to be an important extension of the home in 2021, with many consumers looking to update or expand their existing furniture ranges,’ with 'stylish statement furniture which will stand the test of time.'
7. Monochrome gardens
One way to make a striking statement instantly is by colour-blocking, and in this year’s gardens, monochromatic gardens will be on the rise.
Particularly in vogue will be white gardens, and we’re talking everything, from the flowers to the shed! It’s a simple way to create a harmonious environment with an air of chic, and suits both formal and cottage-style planting.
There are hundreds of white flowers available to choose from – how about the giant blousy mop-heads of a hydrangea such as ‘Wudu’, the well-loved Cosmos ‘Purity’, or the delicate Scabiosa caucasica 'Perfecta Alba’ to start with? Don’t forget about jasmine too, with its beautiful scent.
8. Shades of grey
It’s time for grey tones to take the spotlight – another on-trend colour for the oncoming year. Paint fences or trellises in this sophisticated hue to add an understated, urban backdrop, or perhaps go for a more blue-y tone for a slightly softer feel.
'Pair mono and block-coloured plant pots with galvanised planters, which only get better with age,' says Dani Taylor from Cox & Cox. 'It's a timeless choice that suits any garden style – whether that be traditional or a more modern industrial look.'
9. Indulgent hot tubs
Gardens are a place to relax, and after a year like 2020, we all deserve it! Just being outdoors does wonders for our wellbeing, but why not go the extra mile this year? And by that, we mean to indulge in one of the best hot tubs, of course!
They come in all sizes and styles, but if space is limited, there are plenty of inflatable options available, too. Surround with leafy ferns and foliage for an extra spa-like experience, turn on the bubbles, jump in and unwind. Ahhh.
10. Alfresco dining
‘Cooking is a wonderful way to unwind, particularly in the sunshine and open air,’ says Rosheen Forbes from Ikea. And eating outside is just as good for the soul!
Check out our best BBQs, invest in some pretty tableware and garden furniture, and turn any meal into an outdoor occasion this year. Why not decorate the table with a handful of cut flowers or tea-lights in jam jars, too? It’s a simple, yet lovely way to add to the ambience. And don’t let the cooler months deter you – an addition of a fire-pit or an abundance of blankets can keep things cosy.
11. Rattan textures
Rattan is being celebrated this year, in keeping with the relaxed, ‘holiday feel’ trend for outdoor spaces. 'The rattan trend isn't going anywhere,' says Wil Law, Partner and Home Design Stylist from John Lewis. It's a great way to add interest, tactility, and timeless texture to your space. Rattan's versatility makes it complementary to both bohemian or classic themes, too.
Keep an eye out for ‘rattan-effect’ furniture, made from more weather-resistant materials, if durability is on your agenda.
12. Tiny gardens
Green-fingered, small-plot owning people, rejoice! Tiny gardens are a big thing for 2021, as it turns out there are all kinds of creative ways to bring even the smallest of space to life.
Add mirrors to bounce the light and create an illusion of openness, select your plants carefully, and think vertically – hanging baskets or wall-hanging planters are great space-saving options. Storage solutions which double-up as a bench or stool for sitting on make good additions, too.
13. Windowsill wonders
Perhaps you don’t have an outdoor patch, but you will likely have a window (hopefully with a windowsill attached). Well, as much as tiny gardens are a ‘thing’ for 2021, windowsill gardens are too!
There are so many styles of pots to choose from, or how about upcycling some old terracotta pots with paint, or rinsing out glass jars or vintage tins to use? In terms of what to plant in them, there are a ton of options, so pick what works for you.
Chillies and herbs, for example, are handy additions to the kitchen. Forced bulbs such as hyacinths or daffodils offer wonderful fragrance and springtime joy – a fantastic way to brighten up a home office.
14. Stunning succulents
Succulents in the home continue to be on trend this year, thanks to their easy-peasy maintenance and epic variety. Senecio rowleyanus, otherwise known as ‘String of Pearls’, is a beautiful type to consider – its fleshy, spherical leaves trail oh-so-elegantly when positioned up high, such as on a shelf of a bookcase.
The unusual Fishbone cactus is due to be popular too – as is Instagram’s favourite, pilea, with its bobbing, coin-shaped leaves.
15. Eye-catching containers
2021 will also see a boost in container gardening, which is great news for those with smaller plots, or less time on their hands. Jessica Smith, gardener and florist at Flower and Land, says that containers ‘are becoming more popular, as they can create an instant garden in a number of small spaces, such as a front garden or a balcony’.
‘You’re not the only one to benefit from these spaces,' continues Jess. 'Neighbours and passers-by will also take joy in them. So be sure to use as many containers as you can, and fill them with anything you like; bulbs, annuals, perennials. The more colour the better! They can be galvanised, terracotta or recycled plastic. Just have fun with it and create a space to enjoy at home.'
16. Free-form topiary
When it comes to topiary, 2021 will see a 'shift away from formal geometric shapes and animals, to more free-form cloud designs on a large scale', as predicted by Tim Green, gardener at Iford Manor.
'The quality of Buxus topiary work is sky high right now,' Tim says. So, we are bound to see lots more people sharpening their shears. Time to get creative with your hedge-cutting!
17. Pizza ovens replace barbecues
Who doesn’t love a pizza? With the boost in popularity for alfresco dining, and well, alfresco living, investing in the best pizza oven would be a welcome addition to pretty much any garden for 2021.
Sure to be loved by all the family, these worthwhile investments often become the centre of many outdoor celebrations and are available in all sorts of designs to complement your individual style.
'The garden has become an extension of the home like never before and provides a much-needed refuge away from our new hybrid living/work space,' says Darina Garland, Co-founder of Ooni. 'We’re humbled by the global success of our products and so inspired by the amazing pizzas Ooni customers are creating.'
18. Buying plants online
Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk says, 'In terms of the pandemic, it’s hard to know where we’ll be in six months' time. But, for the first few months of 2021 at least, we’re predicting that the demand for online plants will show no signs of slowing down. In fact, it will likely increase'.
'Last year we sold more plants online than ever before and with another national lockdown just being announced, people are going to be turning to web-based plant sellers to supply their gardens, ready for the spring'.
Some of us will always prefer a trip to the garden centre over a screen-based browse. However, Chris says, 'As there’s still so much uncertainty regarding what we’ll be allowed to do week to week, ordering plants online to be delivered straight to your door is a great, Covid-safe alternative.'
19. Luxe canopies and gazebos
Chic outdoor coverings will be all the rage for 2021, as another way to extend our living spaces. Dani Taylor from Cox & Cox predicts that 'gorgeous canopies and gazebos will be a big trend this year – not only for their practical uses against the elements, allowing us to use our gardens for longer periods of time, but also because they make the outside space work as an extra room.'
'Filling them with lots of pillows and rugs, and adding fairy lights and festoons give them a glamorous, luxe resort feel – or even create a great den for the kids to play in!' she says.
20. Romantic designs
Moving away from more formal structures, it seems romantic-style gardens are back on our radars again.
Sarah Raven's Senior Horticultural Buyer says, 'Whimsical, romanticised styles like traditional cottage gardens should be popular once again, their informality and abundance offer the desired rewards people are looking for. Traditional styles are key indicators that people want the security and stability of times gone by, as they think back to memories of good times and try to recreate them for comfort'.
Think hollyhocks, foxgloves and honeysuckle – just some of the best cottage-style flowers to consider. Why not check out our favourite cottage-garden ideas too, for even more inspiration?
21. Mindful watering
'The trend for sustainable living is becoming increasingly important as people become more conscious of their effect on the planet,' says Chris Wood, Horticulture Expert at Waitrose. 'People are becoming more aware of how much water they use in the garden, how they protect plants – reducing or removing the use of chemicals – and how they compost.'
Chris explains: 'One way to do this is to look for plants which don’t need as much water – looking for varieties that are more resistant to drying out. For example, grey foliage plants that you’d see by the seaside. People with flowerbeds can also apply mulch to flower beds and borders as it helps to retain the moisture in soil, leading to the use of less watering.'
What flowers are on trend for 2021?
Colourful cottage-garden favourites are on trend for 2021, including the likes of sweet peas and rudbeckias. The 'Amazing Grey' poppy will also be on everyone's radar, with its elegant stature and on-trend colour.
Delightful double-flowered varieties of cosmos, echinacea (such as 'Doubledecker' from Suttons), and even calendula are also set to be popular choices.
What garden furniture is in style in 2021?
For 2021, garden furniture made for stylish and easy outdoor living will be all the rage. Think heated patio lamps in copper tones, comfy daybeds, and outdoor kitchens.
Natural textiles such as wicker and stone will be celebrated too, as will neutral colour palettes – allowing your plants and flowers to take centre stage.
How can I make my garden more sustainable in 2021?
There's many ways to be more sustainable in the garden, but one of the most pressing is by choosing peat-free compost. 'Never buy peat in a potting compost. And don’t buy plants that are grown in peat,’ urges Monty Don, in his column for October 2020's edition of Gardeners' World.
Monty continues, ‘No garden centres should stock these things. If they do then they are actively choosing to do harm’.