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Garden Design Trends for 2013

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Last year (which seems only five minutes ago by the way!) we made some predictions for the trends in garden design and gardening for 2012. We believe we were pretty spot on with most of them! This year - we predict some more radical changes in the world of gardening, reflective of the social and economic and planetary trends we're seeing at a macro level. Some gardening predictions are controversial, some based on what we know is selling, and others simply have a sprinkling of gut feel. Most are based on conversations with the team of world experts in horticulture we've worked with over the last year with their new MyGardenSchool online gardening courses.

1. Touch is the biggest sense to focus on. This has happened in interior design in the last couple of years, and we're also seeing it emerge in our garden design trends and especially planting design predictions. The softness of a quick grab of a Pennisetum, or the comfort of touching an unexpected velvety mound Scleranthus uniflorus is unrivalled. This means that planting design with grasses will still be big, and we'll see an increase in the use of tactile shrubs and trees in 2013. Think of the smooth shiny tactile barks of Prunus, tempting furry Salix capreas and even some conifers making a come-back for their touchable textures. 2013 will be about experiencing and engaging in your garden rather than passing by it.

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2. A move back to Native and Naturalistic Planting (this somewhat opposes what we said last year with global sharing). Whilst best practice ideas are being shared globally (this we truly are seeing, especially via the MyGardenSchool classrooms) - planting itself is firmly seeing a native localised planting swing. This probably has a lot to do with the global economy, the sentiment that 'staying at home is safe and good', the fashion for the 'staycation', and a dislike of vulgarity and over opulent, overly labour intensive gardening in a decade that now has its feet firmly in a recession. Check out Noel Kingsbury's online gardening course at MyGardenSchool to learn more on Naturalistic Perennial Planting (starting Feburary 2013; booking now).

3. Garden Design to shift from being about a single person to being about a group. The group dynamic will make some projects more exciting and thorough. Having numerous designers running their hands over a project will refine and strengthen the concepts. One designer will focus on the construction mocks, another on planting and repetitive patterns, another on the space planning and innovative movement through the garden, another on custom lighting and ambiance. Some designers won't like this as they prefer to be solo players. Consider this carefully though if you're a garden design consultant; can you make a design team work to excel at projects completing them in the demanded tight time lines without jeopardizing the design by having group concept and diverse backgrounds?

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4. Community Gardening will continue the earthy groundswell that is already gathering momentum. The recession again is drawing upon the power of the collective, with enterprising communities all over the world developing community gardens in public spaces. These are both to grow your own food, and to create beautiful spaces.

5. Recycled Garden Art. Hard times are always productive for art. People find new ways and forms of expression. This is an area where we are increasingly seeing beautiful and original art pieces more often made from recycling of other re-purposed objects. Look for metals, stone and wood recycled objects blending into their own surroundings. Whilst these used to be considered the domain of eccentricity or non-mainstream enthusiasts, recycled art is set to become the buzz word with collectors and garden designers alike for 2013.

6. An increase in Garden Design projects at the premium end of the market; whilst mid-market for garden designers continues to decline. The mid market decline is due to many people increasing their own garden design skills, rather than hiring designers. An interest in gardening as hobby is actually on the increase. This is very curates egg (good in parts). For garden designers who can penetrate the high-spend international markets, this is great news. More high-end clients will begin to resurface with major projects - mainly from countries that are still seeing growth in aesthetic developments and have pockets of resources to continue to spend eg Switzerland and Dubai. For garden designers who focus on mid market clients and medium sizes projects, not so good, as many would-be clients especially in the UK and US, are taking on their own gardens by increasing their own knowledge base. They're taking gardening courses and seeking advice from, but not hiring, garden designers.

7. More interest in herbs. This is a quirky one. But the use of herbs in cooking is on the increase in many cultures, especially in the US and UK due to the plethora of cooking shows on TV. Growing your own herbs of course is a natural next step to using them in cooking. Whilst hard core gardeners have always been interested in herbs, the rest have been slower to catch up. People are sick of buying those little expensive pots from the supermakets that don't last, so an increased interest in sowing, growing and propagating herb gardens is a trend we're expecting to prevail in 2013. Well done James Wong aka @botanygeek for taking a superb lead on this. We'd like to see your missions spread globally by the way (come and join us as a tutor when you can!).

8. Surrealism and enchantment will let spaces tell stories. Alice in Wonderland and fantasy classics meets gardens. This may tie in with the trend of Humor with gimmicky items like oversized characters and objects (a craze that has already dominated Japan). For this trend watch for interior design companies like Gervasoni starting to evolve interior design products for gardens

9. The Room Outside. The concept of the Room Outside has never gone away, after first being coined by our most famous MyGardenSchool tutor John Brookes (MBE) (John runs several Designing Your Own Garden online gardening courses with us). 2013 will see this concept strengthen even further, as people can no longer afford to move, and find innovative ways to create the 'outdoor kitchen' the 'office outside' and the 'home playground'. Use of space in the garden, for traditionally indoor pursuits will be explored to the max

10. Garden Design will continue to be about coming down to earth with Farm and City merging to a more sustainable future. Think green walls and garden rooftops with livestock. This trend has staying power and will snowball into a lifestyle and global movement. The slow food and slow healing movement will be instrumental. It will start to erode the 'instant gratification' color fixes of recent years in garden centre gardening.

We wish you a very happy gardening new year for 2013 - wherever you are in the world. Please let us know your own predictions and thoughts for 2013 in the comments below.

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