6 trending ideas for your garden from RHS Hampton Court 2023

July 3rd, 2023
Posted In: Garden trends & design

RHS Hampton Court 2023 is short for The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. But that sounds far too grand.

‘Hampton Court’ is the Chelsea Flower Show’s much loved younger sibling – more relatable, less crowded, not as tainted with the whiff of ‘being fashionable.’

Because we gardeners often declare that we’re not keen on ‘following fashion’. It is viewed with deep suspicion and firm denials.

But when you see a good idea, why not copy it? A new plant variety? Yes, please! A better tool? I’ll try it. And so on.

Fashion is often about innovation and invention. It can get people talking and thinking differently. So this is what I think we can take away from Hampton Court for our own gardens.

Rocks as natural sculpture, seating and  more

Several show gardens at RHS Hampton Court 2023 featured rocks as water features, sculpture, seating and more.

Americas Wild at RHS Hampton Court 2023

These rocks were set in a desert landscape show garden, part of the America’s Wild show garden. It was divided into different sections and designed by Emily Grayshow, Imogen Perreau and Jude Yeo. The stone ‘pond’ would look good in a town garden, especially if you use a gravel mulch around it.

Cancer Research Legacy garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes.

Cancer Research Legacy garden was one of many to feature rocks at RHS Hampton Court 2023. It was designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes. These rocks are used in a naturalistic way to mark out a stream.

The Hurtigruten Garden by Max Parker-Smith.

The Hurtigruten Garden by Max Parker-Smith – rocks are used both to define the pool edges and all over the bottom of the pool, as well as to add punctuation points to the planting.

Gabions for raised beds, wildlife habitats and seating

Gabions are large metal baskets, filled with rocks or stones. They were used for sea defences, but are now being used widely in garden design. The gaps between the rocks and stones are a good wildlife habitat. When Jane Beedle re-designed her small contemporary town garden, she re-used the paving that was originally in the garden by breaking it up and putting it in gabions. It doubles up as seating and wildlife habitat. It saved her money because she didn’t have to pay to have it taken away.

The Devils in the Detail Garden by the Association of Professional Landscapers

Gabions used as combined raised beds and seating in the Association of Professional Landscapers’ The Devil’s in the Detail Garden.

Nurturing Nature in the City Garden by Caroline and Peter Clayton

Gabions are used to create a boundary wall with seating in the Nurturing Nature in the City Garden by Peter and Caroline Clayton.

Raised beds for renters and to raise plantings in small spaces

Raised beds used to be for growing vegetables. Now you can find them in different materials and colours. They’re perfect for renters because they can be moved when you move.

And raised beds show off the planting by raising it up. You can grow plants that don’t suit your soil by using specialist composts. It is, however, worth remembering that raised beds often drain faster than soil in the earth. That makes them a good choice if you have heavy clay soil and lots of rain, but you may need to do more watering in dry places.

The Association of Professional Landscapers 'The Devils in the Detail garden

Wooden raised beds painted a soft blue to show off planting. Another detail from The Association of Professional Landscapers’ The Devils In the Detail Garden.

The Landform Mental Wealth garden at RHS Hampton 2023

Dark green raised beds in this Landform Mental Wealth Garden designed by Nicola Hale. It also has hazel and willow fencing – seen in several gardens at RHS Hampton Court 2023, because these are sustainable materials.

The Wildlife Trust's Renters Retreat designed by Zoe Claymore.

Galvanised metal raised beds in The Wildlife Trust’s Renters Retreat designed by Zoe Claymore.

Garden design ideas from RHS Hampton Court 2023 #middlesizedgarden

Renter’s Retreat garden designed by Zoe Claymore at the top and the picture above is from the APL the Devil is in the Detail garden.

Gravel is the most popular mulch at RHS Hampton Court 2023

In many ways, this is an extension of the growing popularity of rocks. But it’s also about dry gardening. Gravel and pebble mulches suppress weeds and help retain water. They look smart and show off plants well.

However, most garden designers advise you not to use weed-suppressant membranes beneath the gravel mulch. It used to be standard practice to lay these under gravel, but they always ruck up. Weeds wriggle out from under the membranes and land on top. And it stops perennial plants from spreading naturally.

Carol Klein's Iconic Horticultural Hero Garden was one of the prettiest gardens at RHS Hampton Court 2023.

Carol Klein did some exceptionally pretty planting on her RHS Iconic Horticultural Hero garden at RHS Hampton Court 2023. She used shingle and gravel as mulches around ‘tough drought-tolerant species.’ Carol also used plants grown entirely by UK nurseries, which is another growing trend to minimise ‘plant miles’ and the risk of transmitting plant diseases over long distances.

Gravel mulch in the Nurturing Nature in the City Garden by Caroline and Peter Clayton.

A gravel mulch in the the Nurturing Nature in the City Garden by Caroline and Peter Clayton.

Gravel mulch and rock pavers in the Lunar Garden designed by Queenie Chan.

Gravel mulch and rock pavers in the Lunar Garden designed by Queenie Chan. It’s interesting to note all the different shades of gravel used in the various show gardens – certainly worth considering if you’re choosing gravel for your garden.

Natural seating ideas

As well as combined raised bed/gabion seating, there was also some attractive natural seating.

Chunky logs and stone used as natural seating in the America's Wild garden at RHS Hampton 2023.

Chunky logs and stone used as natural seating in the America’s Wild garden at RHS Hampton 2023.

Log and stone bench seating in the Ingham's Working with Nature Garden designed by Joshua Parker and Matthew Butler.

Log and stone bench seating in the Ingham’s Working with Nature Garden designed by Joshua Parker and Matthew Butler. Note there is also gravel and willow fencing. Very RHS Hampton Court 2023!

Wildlife features as decoration or design

The RHS has already started using wildlife features as decoration as part of their gardening for biodiversity drive.

The RHS Wisley team designed this 'dead hedge' as a wildlife friendly garden screen.

The RHS Wisley team designed this ‘dead hedge’ as a wildlife friendly garden screen.

A bin store with a green roof and decorative bug hotel panels on Tom Massey's Resilience Garden.

A bin store with a green roof and decorative bug hotel panels on Tom Massey’s Resilience Garden.

Logs tied together to create an obelisk for a rose to grow on. In the RHS Wildlife Garden designed by Jo Thompson and Kate Bradbury.

Logs tied together to create an obelisk for a rose to grow on. In the RHS Wildlife Garden designed by Jo Thompson and Kate Bradbury.

More garden ideas from the shows

Not all show garden ideas translate well into real gardens, but I found 7 really good ideas from RHS Chelsea 2023 which are well worth checking out.

And BBC Gardeners World Live is always a popular show. There are several around the UK, but the biggest is at the NEC in Birmingham. I picked out 10 trends and ideas from BBC Gardeners World Live 2023 that I think would work well in your garden.

Pin to remember garden ideas to steal from RHS Hampton Court 2023

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Ideas for your garden from RHS Hampton Court 2023


8 comments on "6 trending ideas for your garden from RHS Hampton Court 2023"

  1. Nick Moore says:

    What is the product name of the Galvanised metal raised beds in the The Wildlife Trust’s Renters Retreat designed by Zoe Claymore. and where would you get them?

    Thanks

      1. Zoe says:

        HI both. I designed them for the show. They have now been turned into a ready to buy range called The Hampton Collection with Lux Unique

        1. Thank you for letting us know, that’s good to hear.

  2. We live next to the sea. Some excellent ideas using resilient, yet natural, materials which will stand up to our particular microclimate. But, very expensive to buy.

    1. Yes, you’re right, rocks can be expensive to buy and it isnt legal to take, for example, pebbles from the beach. But sometimes you can find people getting rid of rocks on Freecycle or Freegle and possibly cheaper on Facebook Marketplace if people are revamping their garden

  3. Jeannie Meagher says:

    I enjoyed seeing these photos, since I live in California and can’t go to the show. Thank you very much!

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