Design trends 2018

From technology to ethical responsibility, shrubs to abstract topiary, ten experts highlight the design trends in 2018. 


Some of the industry's top designers and plants people give an insight into the garden trend forecast for the year ahead. 


Andrew Duff
Inchbald School of Design

2018 is all about making dynamic decisions. Whether to prune or leave it looking wild, the gardens of 2018 will be all about contrast: relaxed and loose planting juxtaposed with structural hedging and abstract topiary; mono colour pallets with backgrounds of textured greens. The garden will re emerge as a relaxing space rather than an intensity of manicured perfection.


Paul Hervey-Brookes
Garden designer

A wider understanding of the 'naturalised style' of garden design and border planting combined with more informed plant selections continues to make this style evolve and stay popular. There's a new emphasis on the narrative of the scheme over a simplistic, native first rationale.



Hugo Bugg
Garden designer, Harris Bugg Studio

Reflecting the sense of place by using vernacular materials and suitable planting has always been important to our design studio. We are now increasingly finding clients themselves place far more emphasis on the importance of using materials and planting with a greater degree of environmental and ethical responsibility.


Annie Guilfoyle
Garden Masterclass

We are now seeing some really good public landscaping with an emphasis on using plants in a more exciting and sustainable way. For example, Elephant Park in southeast London, where the designers have used different perennial mixes, each developed for a specific habitat.



Rosemary Alexander
English Gardening School

In the search for shrubs that can be used to punctuate borders and offer year round structure and interesting foliage, conifers such as Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis' are gaining favour. There's also a revived interest in the differences in shape, form and colour of ferns, loved by the Victorians and so easily grown in light shade.


Andrew Fisher Tomlin
London College of Garden Design

Young designers are approaching planting design in ways that are relevant to their lifestyles. There is huge interest in rain gardens, micro greens and vegetables, and interior planting that allows them to design and garden for the way they live today.


Anoushka Feiler
Garden designer, Landscape and Garden Design

There's an increasing demand to create havens 'away from it all'; gardens that are relaxing, entertaining, sustainable, wildlife magnets with year  round planting and beds to grow your own. With space at a premium, garden areas need to be clever and flexible, without forgoing beauty to significantly enhance their intrinsic value. Technology is king too with 21st-century garden needs, such as WiFi, speakers and artistic lighting.


Jaqueline van der Kloet
Planting designer

Today's plant schemes are definitely different from those of earlier days. Climate change, sustainability and respect for environment are now major guidelines for those among us who have specialised in plantings. We have also learned to appreciate the beauty of decay and, as a result, our present planting plans have far more textural interest.


Humaira Ikram
KLC School of Design

What's in: sustainable design; technology; conifers; richly textured plant combinations; collaboration; context-sensitive design
What's out: grey parking areas; duplication of work; disease-susceptible plants; Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'; working in isolation; formulaic design.


Ian Kitson
Garden designer

Clients are becoming more tuned in to design. They are choosing designers whowant to celebrate artistic intervention and individual expression.


This article was taken from a feature from the January 2018 issue of Gardens Illustrated (256).  


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