Should you keep up with fashion trends in the garden?
You might not associate plants and gardens as being subject to fashion, but they are indeed. For instance, you can date many gardens by looking at their planting style or choice of hard landscaping materials. Crazy paving
came into being as an inexpensive method of hard surfacing that used broken or incomplete pieces of paving, with mortar being used to fill the gaps. The craze for crazy paving caught on and during the 1960s and 70s it was everywhere. This style of paving might not still be in fashion, but it is still acceptable, but it will always have an air of age about it. However, replace the mortar filling with low planting of Thyme
or other such creeping beauties
that will allow a softening of the look and it is bang up to date. Older styles can be updated and adapted to the modern age with great effect.
Do you like crazy paving? It harps back some 30 years or so, but can be brought up to date.
Plants can easily be dated to a certain era
(which always grew to be anything other than dwarf) and heathers, were highly popular in the 60s and 70s and many parks and large gardens still carry these planting schemes. They are not 'in fashion' in the 21st century but have stood the test of time. This doesn't say that the fashion won't come around again. Indeed, conifers are being used at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
in increasing numbers again. Intersperse those same plants with perennials and grasses, and the planting scheme becomes rejuvenated without needing to be scrapped. This form of 'upcycling' is completely in fashion!
You can often judge an age of the planting scheme by looking at the type of plants and the style of the design.
Victorian bedding schemes
were de rigueur in their day. Carpet bedding, parterres
and low-clipped hedging epitomise the 19th
century at a time when landowners would compete to show their wealth. It was said that the fortune of large estates could be judged by looking at the size of their bedding plant list. These have largely disappeared as the cost of maintenance is prohibitive. But the basic idea can easily be replicated by keeping similar shapes and using swathes of perennials
instead of throw-away bedding. Thus, the style is retained whilst having been updated to reflect the 21st
We are a bit more subtle with our bedding plant displays in the 21st century, often combining annuals with shrubs and perennials or grasses for a longer-term effect.
Traditional front garden maintenance
People once maintained their traditional front gardens in a highly meticulous manner for the sake of appearances. It wasnt a place for sitting in, but somewhere for others to admire. Indeed, after World War One when council housing
was expanding at a terrific rate, some of the larger estate had rules about maintaining the front garden in a particular way. It included cutting the grass, trimming privet hedges and digging over the flower beds so the bare soil didnt show weeds. Councils were entitled to evict their tenants if they allowed standards to drop. It all changed after Margaret Thatcher enabled people to buy their own council houses.
There were strict rules about the appearance of the front aspect of council houses and their gardens.
Nowadays, most people are more interested in what goes on inside their homes and on social media rather than outside their front door, and nobody really cares that much about what the neighbours think. For good or otherwise, this is fact. A space to park cars is far more valuable than a neat hedge and manicured lawn.
Car parking space is really important. Fashion has moved us away from planting in front gardens. But there's no reason why we can't combine the two.
Does fashion matter?
Is your planting outdated; does your hard landscaping belong to a different era - and does it matter?
A newly planted rose garden has been given a box hedge parterre which gives it a hint of fashion update!
Match your styles
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if you want to avoid having to update your garden every decade or so, its a good idea to try to follow the style of the house. There are some planting schemes that look out of place. For instance, a formal front garden with topiary and parterre would look rather pretentious in front of a 1930s semi-detached pebbledash property.
Anyone for topiary? It's a lot of fun but might not match your house. Does it matter?
An ultra-modern, sleek and stylish contemporary garden with glass and steel features would appear incongruous in front of a Tudor mansion. If you have a modern house, flowing grasses, porcelain paving and Corten steel walls can look perfectly at home and the chances are that the style will remain in keeping for the life of the materials.
Corten weathering steel is a great modern-day material that looks good in a contemporary setting. www.steelforgardens.co.uk installed this Corten.
The secret of designing a good, workable garden is to create a framework that suits the era and style of the house whilst lending itself to future updating. You can evolve with many of the fashion trends without too much trouble.
We are told that 2018 is the era of 'ultra violet' and colour in the garden can therefore easily be themed to match Ultra Violet, Pantone 18-3838!
If you want to keep up with colour fashion, incorporate some Ultra Violet into your garden in 2018!
Colour can be a lot of fun, especially when planning pots and hanging baskets. That might feel rather a long way ahead, but spring colour such as Aubrieta
; foliage from Heucheras; Aquilegia;
tulip bulbs and many more great plants and can start you off on a theme.
Be selective with your colours. You don't need to follow fashion, but sometimes it can be fun!
Tulip bulbs can give you a burst of fashionable colour in spring!