What has the biggest effect on garden choices? Of course, it's ...
TV. Simples. Television has a profound effect on our garden plant and product choices and ideas. TV gardening shows
set the stage for things to come. They showcase new plants and ideas and act as a 'catwalk' at which audiences can ogle. Structures
, paving, styles and statues
, once they appear on TV they pop up elsewhere too.
What are the current gardening trends
and should you take any notice of them? The day after airing, hundreds of viewers think about replicating at least part of what they've seen. We are a highly impressionable lot!
Garden gnomes. Quirky, that's for sure. But if they were to appear on a TV garden makeover show they would probably enjoy an enormous surge in popularity.
What's on TV?
Television has the power to influence. People watch and want. A gardening visual feast often provides viewers with the enthusiasm they need to start changing their own outlook.
A garden folly might be out of reach of most of us, but Capability Brown managed to work them into hundreds of landscapes!
During TV garden makeover shows
, however, there tends to be limitless budgets. Everything gets done quickly because there are dozens of people working on each task. TV is a fast-paced world and audiences cant be getting depressed by the realistic topic of budgets while the exciting physical transformation is taking shape before their very eyes.
Decking, water features, pergolas. These are often part of garden transformations that take place on TV makeover shows.
The cost of things to come
The thing that brings people down to earth in the real world is cost. Most of the 'makeover' shows don't mention it at all. Others have a miniscule budget and there's no element for labour factored into the equation. This is lucky for the beneficiaries but doesn't serve the industry well. The euphoria of witnessing how a huge team of people can transform the garden of a needy family in just a few days or hours can be somewhat short-lived once a garden owner finds out the real costs involved.
Water feature anyone? But don't forget you need power and possibly lighting too. Apart from the cost of the digging out and building of the actual feature.
But what these shows do excel at is providing inspiration. Outdoor spaces can add so much value in terms of usability. These programmes often highlight the fact that the garden definitely deserves as much thought and input as an extension or renovation to the home.
Think about your planting. Colours, shapes and forms of plants as well as nearby structures such as these delightful boulders.
What's trending at the moment in terms of garden must-haves? Outdoor rooms, dining spaces
, outdoor heaters
and fire bowls, water features
and of course plants.
and even manageable trees
. But more than that, its the way that the house and the garden are drawn together. Elements from the home are taken out into the garden and therefore the property and plot are unified rather than remaining two separate places.
A garden should match its home rather than looking like a completely separate style.
Just a few years ago, TV coverage of the Olympic Park
provided tremendous inspiration in the form of naturalistic planting. These themes have been adopted by many in a minor way and these are ideas that are here to stay. Long gone are the Victorian planting schemes
of annual flowers in garish colours, planted to peak in mid-summer and delight the passers-by.
Waddesdon Gardens, Buckinghamshire, England. A great example of a Victorian garden complete with its bedding scheme of planting.
In todays world, this all seems not only labour-intensive, but unnatural too. Annual plants belong in pots and hanging baskets but probably not largely in the beds and borders. Instead we have adopted a naturalistic theme which allows our gardens to look as if they have been created by nature. More-or-less.
The style of planting at the Olympic Park, London, has certainly influenced a lot of planting schemes since 2012.
Good for wildlife
Where shrubs in the garden once were surrounded by bare soil, now the soil is filled with things that are encouraged to grow. Tall, flowering spires are more often propped up by other plants rather than staked to a cane. Plants are blended and styled to form a pleasingly full picture. Its good for bees too.
Feed the bees with lots of wildflowers and a profusion of planting!
And while it would be foolish to replicate every passing trend, some stand the test of time. It might not be practical to include something as grand as a Capability Brown folly in the garden of a suburban semi, but it seems entirely practical and sensible to cut down on labour by allow the soil to be filled. More room for plants, less space for weeds!