2023 is just around the corner – and avid green-fingered gardeners will be preparing to plant and prune their way through the new year. Stairlift and homelift company Stannah’s gardening expert, BBC Gardener’s World presenter Mark Lane, advises on the top gardening trends for 2023.
2023 is looking to be a fun-packed year for gardening, with more tools and equipment being promoted with garden accessibility and individuality in mind. There will be a real connection with nature and wildlife as inspiration is taken from organic and irregular shapes, with nostalgia and memories being very strong. 1970s designs will be reformatted for 2023 living, as well as colours and patterns on products that will promote reassurance in an ever-changing world.
Building a Greek oasis
The colour for 2023 is terracotta, as well as earthy tones like sage green, beige and cream. These evoke warmth, excitement and amusement. There is also a real trend towards everything Greek with white-washed stone walls, sculptures, archways and tall trees with pops of colour from agapanthus and cyclamen. Hand-crafted objects and furniture will be used to create the romantic beauty of Greece.
There will also be a large push towards gravel gardens, which are an extension of the Greek theme, and once established will require 80% less maintenance. With more of us gardeners taking note of water shortages and how to collect rainwater for targeted watering, drought- and heat-tolerant plants that grow happily in gravel gardens will be seen everywhere. The knack will be limiting colours and plants to create that calm oasis. Again, picking up on the Greek vibe, blue will be seen as an accent colour, whether in soft furnishings, plants or outdoor paint.
There is still a growing trend for the outdoor room, the extension of the home. Boutique-style garden furniture will be seen with plush soft furnishings, but again in neutral colours. To get the look right just think about what furniture you like for indoors and find similar pieces for outdoors. This will give the indoor-outdoor feel that so many of us crave, rather than seeing the garden as simply an add-on. Outdoor textiles, rugs, wall hangings, cushions and throws will create that sense of escapism to warmer climates or that Greek hotel sense of calm and restfulness. Patterned outdoor tiles will be on trend, with symmetrical designs playing centre stage, adding a strong design element.
Restful and restorative places will also be a key theme again for next year. From soothing colours to cosy textiles, the garden and nature will help with mindfulness and a sense of well-being. The on-trend natural colours will also blend into nature, blurring the two. This is all about that true connection with the natural world.
Growing green (literally!)
This then leads to the growing trends of sustainability, biodiversity, naturalistic planting, and bio-based materials. Every year we learn more about these practices and the green industry will be huge in 2023 - as will organic gardening.
Gardeners are fed up with rising fuel costs or having to carry petrol to fill the mower or strimmer. Electric and battery-powered tools will make gardening even more accessible to even more gardeners. The idea is to empower the gardener and to allow us to focus on the growing smart devices and gardening phone apps, from seed growing to no-dig gardening. And, while many garden centres will have large displays of green gardening tools, gardeners old and new are turning more and more to e-commerce. Also, soil health, water usage, biodiversity and fewer chemicals will be keywords next year.
Lighting focal points
Garden lighting continues to grow in popularity and the lit garden sculpture will be big for 2023. Use it as a focal point, nestled in hedging and used for a sense of surprise, or use it to draw the eye to something else either within the garden or outside. Focusing your attention on such a lit piece of sculpture will make you more aware of the now, absorbed in that moment, in that act of mindfulness. This then leads onto laser-cut metal screens that are being used to divide up urban spaces, to create privacy or to create a focal point when lit from below and hung on a wall. These decorative panels can be off-the-shelf or bespoke, pick up on the symmetrical designs of patterned tiles or echo the naturalistic planting with flowery motifs.
We are also an aging population and even Gen-Z gardeners are wanting in on the act. Older people are seen as ‘super agers’ with brain functions being 30 years their younger self. The focus will not be on age, but rather tapping into nostalgia as mentioned above and making gardening accessible to all. An example that is being used in the horticultural world is tropical plants for baby boomers - to remind them of vacations and honeymoons.
Millennials really want to start gardening, to grow their own food, but they are being priced out of the housing market and rented accommodation. They are therefore looking for ways to grow plants but in systems that can be taken with them, such as vertical planting systems, trellises and climbing plants, as well as the ever-growing pot and container market.
The ‘Cottemporary’ garden
When it comes to growing, the cutting garden will be a big trend for 2023, with contemporary and cottage styles merging into a ‘cottemporary style’. New collections of seeds and plants will focus on small urban gardens as well as larger outdoor spaces. Soft pastel colours will be mixed with vibrant, bold colours – soft pinks, blue and mint green will alternate with vivid accents from bright orange to scarlet.
Successional planting and seasonal planning for 12 months of the year is gaining momentum. Plant suppliers will be focusing on plant collections to keep the colour going in your garden for longer while using evergreen plants to add structure and permanence to a border, container or pot. Strong architectural lines mixed with naturalistic planting, my style of planting which I have coined ‘Contemporary Wild’ will see drifts of self-seeders and groundcover plants to keep down on the weeding and watering, and to minimise maintenance. Rewilding will also continue to gain ground.
If after all of that, you find that you still have time in the garden or love to take photos or videos of your plants and gardens, then why not take to TikTok. Quality content can go viral overnight, and with the average TikTok user spending 52 minutes a day on the app, there is the potential to become the next gardening guru, no matter what your age.