The Fifth Room (Photo: Dobbies)
The Fifth Room (Photo: Dobbies)

The ultimate guide to 2020 gardening trends

As a brand-new decade begins, Christmas trees are taken down and resolutions are made; the promise of things to come provides the perfect time to start planning for the year ahead.

With warmer weather on the horizon and spring drawing closer, the UK’s leading garden centre, Dobbies, has released their expert insights into the trends set to blossom.

The spotlight on getting ‘back to nature’ was championed heavily in 2019 by HRH Duchess of Cambridge and with many of us looking for ways to slow down, de-stress and reduce screen time, getting into the garden can provide the ideal wellbeing boost – both mentally and physically.

Whatever you choose to use your garden for, from homegrown fruit and vegetables to creating an outdoor entertaining space, Dobbies reveals the garden and outdoor living trends you may be taking inspiration from in 2020.

Louise Golden, resident gardener at Dobbies Garden Centres, previews the year ahead in gardens.

Urban Gardening will continue to be a key trend in 2020, showcasing that everyone, no matter how small their outdoor space, can experience the satisfaction and enjoyment of growing their own food. From Microgreens on windowsills to home grown potatoes in sacks and dwarf apple trees in patio containers, we show how all age groups can benefit from growing vegetables, fruit and herbs in containers of all shapes and sizes, without the need to plant in the ground.

Microgreens continue to grow in popularity due in part to their health benefits as well as easy of growing. These little seedlings, grown in trays as we did cress as children on our windowsills, contain a concentrated boost of nutrients, far outweighing their diminutive size, making them the go to garnish for lunches or salads, adding colour and texture as well as bursts of flavour.

LED Grow lights – Advances in the technology of affordable LED lighting now gives everyone the opportunity to grow plants indoors, even when little natural light is present. Again, this is perfect for Urban Gardening and is of huge appeal to those living in apartments with little outdoor space. Various grow light options are available to support a constant supply fresh herbs in the kitchen, or indoor plants in your living space, and with more in production I think this is one area we will see a lot more of.

The Fifth Room (Photo: Dobbies)

‘The Fifth Room’ – With less of us moving home as often as we once did, we are looking for ways to adapt our homes to meet our changing needs, taking the ‘don’t move, improve’ approach. Gardens are being thought of more as an extension of our indoor space, the fifth room some may say, and one where we are spending more and more of our time with family and friends. 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. Whether it’s a set of French windows, the door to your balcony, or simply your outdoor patio, your home probably has an ideal place to style as a Fifth Room.

Greener gardening – The importance and focus on sustainability and wellbeing is growing and gardening and being outside has a part to play in this. There are more and more environmentally friendly pots, trays and tools becoming available, from coir to bamboo to recycled plastic. Dobbies also recently introduced a free plastic pot return service meaning that you can drop off old or unwanted plastic pots and trays. With half a million plastic plant pots ending up in landfill each year, this initiative is a great way to ensure the ones you no longer need are being recycled. There are so many ways to boost your green credential via your garden, from growing your own fruit and vegetables – reducing plastic packaging and food miles; introducing a compost bin; to harvesting rainwater in water butts which helps to conserve water you can then use to water flower beds and hanging baskets.

Houseplant happy – The interest in indoor plants continues to boom, fuelled by inspirational images on social media showcasing how the many foliage colours and textures can enhance our indoor spaces. The benefits of many houseplants as air-purifiers are well documented for both our home and workspaces, with groupings of houseplants now considered a key design element of our interiors. Driven largely by the younger generation we will see more and more indoor plants being chosen ‘ready to go’ complete with an eye-catching pot covers that reflect a chosen look or style.

Louise also previews the outdoor living 2020 trends.

Rustic Farmhouse is a sophisticated take on our popular country gardens, with a mellow a palette of apricots, mauves, greens and whites, using stunning outdoor pots in faux lead or terracotta with botanical design detailing.

Create a structure of rich foliage colour with the purple hues of Cotinus ‘Grace’ and Photinia ‘Pink Marble’ together with the rich green of clipped topiary. For highlights of flower colour plant Astrantia ‘Roma’, English shrub roses such as David Austin ‘Golden Celebration’ and white Hydrangeas, threaded with variegated Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’ to add a modern twist. Plant patio containers with rust coloured Coleus, white zonal geraniums and delicate Tulbaghia for close up interest. Accessorise with natural wood, basket-ware and patio containers in pale Tuscan shades.

Moroccan Mood inspires Moorish influences with vibrant colours and strong architectural forms reminiscent of hot sunny climes, softened with aged bronze fretwork and colourful tile detailing. Featuring rich jewel tones, this bohemian look features an eclectic range of tile-top tables, burnt orange armchairs, retro-shaped rattan and terracotta accents.

Party Pop (Photo: Dobbies)

Shades of yellow and burnt orange with accents of striking architectural foliage capture the essence of this rich bohemian look. Hardy Yucca and Phormium such as ‘Maouri Queen’ make perfect stand out foliage elements, with bursts of vibrant colour from Echinacea ‘Sunseekers Orange’, Rudbeckia deamii, Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’ and Garvinea ‘Sweet Glow Orange’. Finish with an understory of bronze Carex, Heuchera ‘Indian Summer Boysenberry’ and dramatic Ophiopogon “Black Dragon’. Accessorise with fretwork panels, mosaic-style tiling and hammered bronze lanterns.

Urban Coastal celebrates the special light levels of our coastal areas and the calming influence of a pale colour palette in whites, greys and turquoise blues that evoke the feeling of open spaces and big skies. A laid-back seaside style with a sophisticated edge that will create the perfect space for formal and informal get-togethers.

This theme celebrates the light and calming effects of being by the sea. Grasses are the core element, particularly Cortaderia, Stipa Tenuissima and Festuca ‘Intense Blue.’ Striking glaucous blue colour interest comes from Eucalyptus Gunnii and Eryngium ‘Magical Blue Globe’ underplanted with Lavender Hidcote and Eryngium Karvinskinus. Patio containers planted with Tulbachia Purple Eye add delicate flower detail. Accessorize with slate grey metals, basket style textures and glossy sea blue ceramics. Top dress patio containers with sea cobbles for that quintessential coastal vibe.

Colour Pop is fun loving and cheerful, using vibrant colour to brighten our spaces even on the dullest of days and pops of colour to turn our ‘fifth room’ into a party pad that inspires of holidays in Mexico.

A fresh and vibrant colour palette for that ‘garden party’ feel to uplift the spirits. Feature plants of Coryline ‘Pink Passion’ and Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’ contrast beautifully with flower colour from sunshine yellow Rudbeckia ‘Smileyz’ and pink Garviniea ‘Sweet Surprise’. Accessorise with brightly coloured patio containers and painted metal furniture in sunshine shades that all the family will enjoy.

Find out more at Dobbies Garden Centres.