Garden trends for 2023 - Grand Designs magazine

10 garden and landscaping trends

The latest ideas for making the most of your outdoor space, whatever the size

By Hugh Metcalf |

The global pandemic made many people look at their gardens differently. The move towards practical outdoor living spaces dominated most of the garden trends post lockdown, as well as the desire for sanctuary spaces. Whether you choose to engage a landscape gardener or put in the work yourself, these inspiring garden ideas will help you make the most out of your outdoor space.

modern london garden with multi-levels - grand designs - home improvements

This elegant garden by designer Chris Harrington of Harrington Porter uses reclaimed antique gates

1. Outdoor living spaces

While the trend for creating comfortable outside seating areas is always on the list, this year it’s more important than ever to create zoned spaces. After the pandemic many people began to rethink their garden layouts, and it now seems more of a priority to ensure you have dedicated spaces for relaxing in the sunshine, doing outdoor activities, child-friendly spaces and outdoor kitchens amongst others.

Louise Golden, resident gardener at Dobbies Garden Centres, describes the trend as he Fifth Room: “Often more than not it needs to flex to meet several purposes – an oasis for quiet contemplation, a play area for children and an entertaining space for social get togethers,” she says.

exterior seating space outside of modern home - grand designs - home improvements

Photo: Juliettes Interiors

2. Low-maintenance planting

Some homeowners love to spend hours out in the garden, but many would prefer a planted space that tends to care for itself. There may not be such a thing as no maintenance, but evergreens need little care after the initial planting stage, and will look good all year around. Avoid fine lawns and lots of containers for a hassle-free design, as these will require more care.

garden trends low maintenance planting in barn

Photo: May Arnold Foster Architects

3. Container gardening

Container gardening is a trend in its own right. Flexible and easy to adapt when using your garden for different functions, choosing potted plants over traditional plant beds also offers a less rigid style.

‘Container gardening is not confined to small spaces, such as courtyards, balconies and roof gardens, or to urban areas either for that matter,’ Modern Container Garden author Isabelle Palmer says. ‘Admittedly, if you only have a small balcony, then a few containers allow you to indulge your horticultural passion and enjoy plants throughout the year, but larger gardens can also benefit from some well-chosen containers.’

container gardening outside a modern outbuilding home - grand designs


4. Outdoor kitchens

As mentioned earlier, zoned outdoor spaces is a huge garden trend for summer 2022 and beyond. To allow for al fresco entertaining alongside your outdoor living room, the garden kitchen has exploded in popularity in recent years. Elevating your barbecue area from a simple freestanding grill, you’ll now find a run of weather-proof countertop in many gardens, with built-in storage, cooking equipment and sometimes even an outdoor sink and fridge.

outdoor kitchen on scandinavian property - grand designs

Photo: Lundhs Real Stone, courtesy of Scenario Interior Architects

5. Corten steel

Corten steel has become a popular choice for exterior cladding on self-builds and renovations, so it’s no surprise that this has followed into the garden trends too. From stylish Corten garden fences and screening to Corten planters, the oxidised orange colour of this material makes for a striking contrast with green, leafy garden spaces.

extension with corten steel cladding on a victorian house in Hackney, east London

Corten steel cladding on a Victorian house in Hackney. Photo: Stale Eriksen

6. Decorative screening

Whether it’s for your recycling bins or your bicycles, the best new garden designs hide away anything unsightly subtly behind decorative screening. From simple, slated fencing to these more decorative, artistic screens by Screen With Envy make for a striking feature in a garden.

Elfindale night screen

Photo: Nathalie Priem for Georgia Lindsay Garden Design

7. Outdoor tiles

Blurring the guidelines between the indoors and outdoors has been a big element of garden trends for the last few years. From the aforementioned outdoor kitchens, zoned spaces and Corten steel to outdoor flooring tiles, which can create a blended space between your kitchen and patio.

There are many types of outdoor tiles to choose from depending on your garden set up, popular choices include porcelain, wood effect or Victorian style. The key is picking something is durable that will successfully combine your home with your outdoor area for a courtyard feel that’s an extension of the home.

Porcelain outdoor tiles garden trends in courtyard space

Photo: Porcelain Superstore

8. Pergolas and awnings

With the British weather, outdoor coverings have always been one of the top garden trends. Whether they’re intended for sheltering below after an impromptu midsummer shower, or a shady spot to hide from the unexpected full on sunshine, they’re essential. Thankfully this also means there are a multitude of stylish solutions in place to suit your space. Awnings are ideal for patios and spaces closer to the home as can easily attach to the roof, while pergolas will add a luxe feel to your space and an be either freestanding or wall-mounted, depending on your preference.

garden trends awnings over patio with bifold doors on redbrick house

Photo: The Great British Awning and Blind Company

9. Sanctuary gardens

Kate Gould’s Out of the Shadows garden, a Gold medal winner at Chelsea Flower Show, showcases a way to combine the functional with the decorative while maintaining a tranquil space. Post-pandemic sanctuary-style spaces are one of the leading garden trends for 2022. Kate’s garden features a Jacuzzi swim spa for exercising, seating areas for relaxing, climbing bars for play and a meditation space, all interwoven with exotic and tropical plants. The project also won Best Sanctuary Garden and Best Construction at the show.

sanctuary garden trends

Photo: Helen Fickling/ RHS Chelsea Flower Show

10. Garden gnomes

A firm favourite of Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McCloud, these retro garden additions are firmly back in favour with the British public. Garden gnomes were banned from Chelsea Flower Show in 2017, but Kevin thinks they are ‘fantastic’ and photographs them in gardens if he sees a good one. This year so far, they have had over a million Google searches – an 11% increase on last year – and nine million searches on video sharing platform TikTok. Analysts have put this down to the growth in popularity of fairy gardens, a new phenomena where homeowners cultivate a small container garden full of miniature plants and ornaments elements for fairies to visit.

Garden gnomes are a firm favourite of Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McCloud. Photo: Mariakray/ adobe