Top 7 Garden Trends That Made the Cut for 2019

For the past few years we have reported on the shifting consciousness of gardeners toward an embrace of nature, the impact of all things digital in our lives, transparency in how the things that we put into our gardens are made, and a recognition of the need for sustainability in a world of finite resources.

In 2019 the biggest trend in the gardening world is letting nature nurture us. We’re increasingly aware of how plants and gardening enhance our lives and connect us to something both ancient and modern–the rhythm of the natural world. And, this is only the beginning of sea of change in how we view ourselves in relation to the natural world and as gardeners, do our part to protect it.

Other trends speak to the growing pressures of too little space to garden and too little time in which to do it. On the brighter side, we see lots of exciting things happening at garden centers, and breeders producing more and more plants that thrive even as the climate is changing. Look for more interest in woodland gardens, bright colors, and the return of all-green gardens. More of us (74% of all households) are taking up trowels even as 68 percent of Americans have either quit or taken a break from social media this year, according to the Pew Research Center. Interesting times!

THE CONSIDERED GARDEN

“This is part of
the same“I care”
sustainability,
handcrafted,
experiential, and
authenticity vibe
that’s propelling
brands across
consumer
categories.”

This trend is part of the same “I care” sustainability, hand-crafted, experiential, and authenticity vibe that’s propelling brands across consumer categories from fashion to food. Materials, not “materialism” are the watchwords here as gardeners increasingly choose with great care what to introduce into their gardens based partly on the way plants are sourced and grown.

This is leading to gardens that are less about the uber-stylized “garden rooms” of the aughts, and more about personalized spaces that feel like a sanctuary in a busy and often difficult world. From small urban spaces to estate sized landscapes, this is garden style with a capital “S,” with lots of locally sourced, global-travel-found, and custom made elements that have meaning.

Studies confirm that consumers want to feel good about brands. Look for the garden trade to further connect with their customers with added transparency about their supply chain, production methods, and corporate values.

ARCHITECTURE RULES

 

“Designers are
using plants with
intriguing,
often formal,
shapes, forms,
textures, and
branching habits
in otherwise
naturalistic
gardens.”

After decades of informal billowing meadows and cottage borders that studies find are overwhelmingly considered to “have visual appeal and restorative potential”, we’re seeing designers use plants with plenty of intriguing, often formal, shapes, forms, textures, and branching habits in these otherwise naturalistic gardens. The result is a delightful yin-yang sort of effect.

This aesthetic appears to be one of the drivers for increased demand for swirling topiaries, weeping trees, cascading camellias, espaliered fruit trees, layered Japanese maples, and spiky perennials like lupines, salvia, and iris. And, with so many gardening in smaller spaces or often in containers, each and every plant needs ample oomph to make the cut.

DESPERATELY SEEKING SEASON

 

“With seasonal
change now less
distinct and
predictable,
gardens that
dramatically,
graphically
evolve over
the seasons
are becoming
even more
prized.”

With seasonal change now less distinct and predictable with longer summers and shorter winters, gardens that dramatically, graphically evolve over the seasons are becoming even more prized. For example, plants displaying a stark winter beauty (form, bark, or color) with high contrast to leafy spring have become highly sought after.

The second is a demand curve that’s off the charts for plants that do more for the longer duration of our warm weather (such as hydrangeas, roses, lilacs, and other flowering shrubs that rebloom). These trends may seem contradictory, but both are simply reflections of a changing climate that we addressed in our 2017 trends report.

DO IT FOR ME!

 

“Not everyone
is a “gardener,”
but trends show
that many are
finding that
a beautiful garden
installed and
managed by
someone else
is worth
every dime.”

While the top trend in gardening is, well, more gardening (building on last year’s big numbers), consumer research has identified a growing segment of “Do It for Me” homeowners who want the beauty and seasonal rhythm of a landscaped space, but don’t have the time or skills to make this happen. (Even “easy care” plants like Seaside Serenade® hydrangeas still need care!)

40% of Americans with a yard turned to pros in 2017, and the findings of at least one important study of 6,000 participants by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that spending about $100 to $200 per month outsourcing tasks such as garden care increased life satisfaction by more than 40%. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) forecasts a boom year in 2019.

Not everyone is a “gardener,” but apparently many are finding that a beautiful garden installed and managed by someone is worth every dime. And no matter how they get made, the world is a better place with more gardens.

WORKING OVERTIME

 

“With space
and time at
a premium,
consumers are
snapping up
plants that
do double
or even triple
duty in the
landscape.”

Used to be that a simple hedge would fit the bill, but now, with home lots getting smaller and with less time for gardening, consumers are snapping up “one and done” plants that do double or even triple duty in the landscape. Also in play here is mindfulness about plants for attracting wildlife, growing food, and creating more overall green space.

This translates to big demand for plants that flower + fruit + have great fall foliage, waterwise + feed birds + provide privacy, native + provide winter interest + fragrant, etc.  And then, of course, there are the bragging rights! As plant breeders continue to push the limits of what a plant can do, expect to see more of these multipliers.

ONE STOP GARDEN SHOP

 

“Coast-to-coast
we’re seeing
garden centers,
large and
small, upping
their game
to become
must-see
destinations.”

Could garden centers become the new Starbucks?

From coast-to-coast we’re seeing garden centers, large and small, upping their game to become destinations where you can not only shop for plants, but also buy groceries, attend onsite yoga classes, get a beauty treatment, dine at a farm to table cafe, bring a laptop and do some work, get a staff-led tour, pick up some home-brewed compost tea, drop off the kids for a workshop, and absorb the entire sensory experience of being surrounded by the beauty of nature.

The immediate sense of community and of improving customers’ quality of life through plants that’s being created at these cutting edge garden centers is being rewarded by consumers.

INTO THE WOODS

“Woodland gardens
bring a welcome
sense of organic zen
especially in
dense urban areas
where they can
help to mitigate
the effects
of pollution.”

Cool, mossy, and damp, small space woodland gardens bring a welcome sense of organic zen and a respite from digital overload, especially in dense urban areas where they can help to mitigate the effects of pollution. It’s like bringing “forest bathing” to the city with mixes of ferns, mosses, coral bells, Hostas, and Anemones in high contrast, almost unnatural, places for a garden style that’s gaining ground. We’ve tracked a marked increase in consumer demand for all types of woodland plants over the last three years with no signs of slowing down. (Look for new coral bells in 2019–they’re hot!)

4 MICRO TRENDS WE'RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

Colors are turning to brighter side—polarizing even (case in point is Pantone’s choice of the color coral for 2019).

Interest in online gardening videos has created a demand for the return of televised gardening programming. You heard it here first!

Sneak peek into our crystal ball? Look for all-green gardens (yes, they’re coming back) to take root over the next several years.

Even if it’s three plants in a pot or the no-man’s land in the sidewalk, an urban garden is as prized as any estate landscape.

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