2018 garden trends – what’s new for your garden

September 17th, 2017
Posted In: Garden style & living, Garden trends & design

I’ve been taking a sneak peek at the 2018 garden trends .

I spent two days at GLEE, the exhibition where the gardening industry displays or discovers next year’s garden plants, equipment and ideas.

We heard predictions from award-winning journalist Nick Bailey, Lisa White of WGSN global trends and David Denny, Marketing and Insights Manager for the Horticultural Trades Association.

Nick Bailey on garden trends

Gardening presenter Nick Bailey at GLEE 17 talking about what you’ll see more of next year in gardening. Find Nick on Twitter.

And I trooped round four NEC halls full of both the big names in gardening and the latest start-ups.

There are some affiliate links in this post, which means I may receive a small fee if you buy.

Why do trends matter?

Some people say they’re not interested in fashions or trends.

But ‘trends’ or ‘fashion’ is often just a word for ‘new ideas’. And most gardeners are interested in those, even if it’s just buying one newly developed plant variant.


Stripey lavender anyone? Spotted at GLEE and available from Wyevale Nurseries.

And talking about trends is also a way of highlighting important issues.

At GLEE 2017, for example, I detected a strong move towards using recycled or recyclable plastics in planters. More than half of the companies selling plastic planters made a point of using recycled plastic. The gardening industry has been heavily criticised for its use of plastics, so it’s good to see this.

2018 garden trends – the outdoor room comes inside

For years we’ve been hearing about the garden as an ‘outdoor room.’

The next trend is the home as an ‘indoor garden.’ House plants are making a big comeback.

The garden moves indoors

Colourful indoor pots by Elho.

‘A house plant is now one of the first things you buy with your partner when you move in together,’ said Lisa White of WGSN Global Trends. (I think the progression is houseplant, cat/dog, baby….)

Phalaenopsis orchids

Phalaenopsis orchids are one of the fastest growing houseplants. Find out more about orchids as houseplants here.

Mini food gardening/micro farming

And if your indoor growing ambitions go beyond the now compulsory cacti, you can grow food or start seeds indoors with LED lights that mimic daylight. I saw several mini greenhouse gardens with LED lighting.

They’re called  ‘grow lights’ or ‘grow kits’ and there are one or two available now, but look forward to seeing more in the shops and online next year, as the 2018 garden trends start to take effect.

Balcony living & vertical gardening

Container manufacturers Elho expect ‘balcony living’ to be big next year. Look out for a better choice in planters that slot onto balcony rails. New models will have cloches, too, so that you can grow seeds and veg on your balcony, too.

Elho balcony planter with cloche

Elho balcony planter with cloche. The cloche has UV protection.

Wall planter systems were everywhere, as were hanging everything. You can get self-watering wall planter systems now, but you’ll be able to get more next year.

I can safely say that 2018 will be the year of the dangling macrame plant holder. One of my most stylish friends has already been on a macrame course. So get weaving…

2018 garden trends include the macrame hanging planter

Expect to see macrame hanging planters in on-trend houses next year.

Solar lighting – more and better

We want solar lighting in our gardens. We don’t want to keep changing batteries, and getting the garden wired for electricity is expensive.

Solar lighting for the garden

More choice in solar lighting. And note the hanging theme.

So expect solar lights to keep getting better and better.

Re-wilding and the environment

Everyone was talking about ‘rewilding’.

Re-wilding and gardens

Working with nature in gardens…

‘Re-wilding’ is defined as ‘working with nature’. Think wildflowers and support for pollinating insects, then taking it forward to include everything about how you garden. Nick Bailey predicted that we’ll all be much more interested in how environmentally ‘green’ our gardening products will be.

SBM Life Sciences (formerly Bayer), agree with him. They’re seeing a big growth in their ‘green’ ranges, such as Solabiol, a ‘naturals’ range of bug killer and protection against slugs, containing naturally occurring ingredients and certified for organic use. They’re adding a weed controller, too.

Less peat!

The use of peat in gardening is another environmentally sensitive issue. Bord na Mona, originally a peat compost supplier, says that ‘never again will Bord na Mona open another peat bog.’ The company is focussing on its peat-free and peat reduced composts.

Bord Na Mona also spends millions of pounds re-habilitating the bogs it’s worked on in the past, by re-planting with appropriate flora and fauna. (Although a peat bog, once farmed, can never be replenished.)

You’ll be gardening for your health

For Lisa White, ‘re-wilding’ was also about ‘healing and spirituality’. Nick also mentioned ‘Mindfulness in gardening.’

There were, however, some fairly startling claims for gardening and health being made at GLEE.

I think we’re all agreed that gardening is good for you, that it can help counter depression, and that it’s good exercise. Plus exposure to sunlight gives you necessary Vitamin D. Gardening is also socially important: it can bring communities and families together.

Community gardening

Gardening brings communities together – Faversham Open Gardens 2016

But there were also claims made that plants in the home help people sleep better, help children concentrate in the classroom, reduce levels of ADHD , improve the health of patients in hospital and more.

I’ve ferreted about the internet. Some of these claims do seem supported by scientific studies. Others don’t quite replicate in domestic environments.

So I think the gardening industry needs to quote scientific research when it makes claims. Just one or two over-stated claims could make people feel cynical about all the health benefits of plants.

Winter Barbecues

The British, apparently, are somewhat behind the barbecueing trend. Elsewhere (the US, for example), people use their barbecues all year round. My daughter has just returned from a winter in Chile, which is just as cold as Britain. She confirms that ‘asados’ (barbecues) are part of regular weekend entertaining.

Built-in BBQ table

Table with a built-in barbecue at Glee – because we’re all going to be ‘winter-cuing’.

Lisa refers to it as ‘wintercuing.’ I have suggested wintercuing to my family, and they have agreed with polite smiles. Somehow, however, we haven’t quite got out there. And it’s only September!

And finally – Instagrammable

If I had £1 for every time someone said ‘Instagrammable’ with reference to the 2018 garden trends at GLEE, it would have paid my return train fare to Birmingham.

Screen With Envy garden screens

Screen With Envy’s weatherproof, waterproof, ‘Instagrammable’ garden screening.

Screen with Envy is a new start-up, which make patterned wood composite garden screens. They’re hard-wearing, low maintenance, stylish alternatives to slats or wicker. And, above all, they’re ‘Instagrammable.’

Garden trends – cheat sheet to pin

Garden trends - the cheat sheet

So which of these trends do you think you’ll be adopting? Let me know by commenting below, or on Twitter or Instagram. Thank you!

12 comments on "2018 garden trends – what’s new for your garden"

  1. So funny about the ‘Instagrammable’ trend! It’s such a buzzword isn’t it? On a serious note I love the point about houseplants making a comeback. It’s such a wonderful thing to see.

    I’ve been travelling around Asia recenly and I’ve seen so many urban plant trends amerging that are likely to travel across to the UK! If you’d like, you can read my post about the trends here: http://ourgreensanctuary.com/top-houseplant-trends-2018/

    Michael (Mr Plant Geek)

    1. Great, thank you! I love your Asia posts and Instagram pix.

  2. Jeanb says:

    Our garden is currently being landscaped, it’s taken months, and we’ve included a pizza oven, sourced from Portugal and patio heaters so we will be attempting some sort of outdoor eating. And the macrame pots
    have already been purchased. Love this post! Pretty sure once planted our garden will be instagramable :)

  3. BJZ says:

    I can see some great new ideas for next year. Phalaenopsis orchids looks really beautiful i think it’s going be famous next year. And also the solar lighting theme looks so cool. And I can guess some good trends coming garden are next year.

  4. I’ve had a few clients ask me for winter BBQs this year, I think it’s the idea of being around the cosy fire as you say. Personally, I’d rather cook everything inside and perhaps enjoy a hot jacket potato outside from the inside oven. But then, I can’t be bothered with summercue either! :D

    1. That’s interesting. I’m also interested in what people wear for ‘wintercuing’ – it does seem quite strange to be muffled up in coats when there’s a warm house just beside you. But for those of us who don’t work in the open air, being outside is a treat.

  5. I love the article, all of it. Just with the one exception. I really cant understand the British winter BBQ however. I certainly do not want to be the cook when its minus 3 in the middle of January. Strictly indoor cooking only for me from the end of September to the start of May!

    1. I feel a little puzzled about the ‘wintercueing’ too, but I gather that sitting round a firepit is part of it. It still seems quite odd to have a perfectly warm, dry house and to sit outside when the weather’s bad. But I expect we’ll all regard it as quite normal in a few years time…

  6. All these new trends sound interesting but a winter barbecue- Oh no!!! Surely that will never catch on!!
    How near are we to getting rid altogether of the black plastic plant pots that can’t be recycled and end up in land fill? My local garden centre won’t even take them back so they go in the bin. You mentioned pots being made of recycled plastic but can those pots again be recycled? Great article Alexandra and thankyou for doing all the walking and searching for us so we didn’t have to.

    1. Apparently Notcutts have a pot recycling scheme, or they did. The planters didn’t mention whether they were recyclable, but I think the gardening industry is (slowly) realising that people do care about this issue.

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