Each year, interior designers seek out new trends taking hold across the industry. At the same time, and with close scrutiny of social media and hashtag popularity, they say goodbye to the aesthetics and styles that are tired and no longer in vogue. This process is not unique, however. And, as 2024 gets underway, gardeners and landscapers across the country are also doing the same.
The biggest shift in garden design is happening right now. Prompted by the introduction of the lawnmower, garden lawns have long been popular across the country, with residents showcasing their ability to curate and present neat and tidy grass alongside their home. Now, however, the favour for these empty spaces is turning and the traditional lawn is being replaced with so much more.
One of the most significant drivers behind this change is ecology, with the growing understanding that lawns in their most basic forms are monocultures. As such, they bring little benefit to the local ecology and actually inhibit the ubiquity of pollinators and birds across the country. Since sustainability and environmental friendliness are increasingly common trends in society, there is greater motivation to swap these designs with alternatives, such as wildflower meadows.
Additionally, garden lawns provide little in the way of utility. With house prices increasing, homeowners are seeking to get greater usefulness, and therefore return, on their investment, driving them to replace grassy areas with more useful alternatives, such as log cabins and outdoor dining areas.
The Concept Of Weeds
For many years, weeds have been seen as plants that are not wanted. For some gardeners, this means the quickly overwhelming bramble, while others might even consider strawberries a weed. At a time of ecological consideration, however, as well as one where foraging has become so popular, the concept of weeds is being left behind.
Gardens are now welcoming the diversity of plants once known as weeds, celebrating the common nettle and encouraging the growth of ribwort plantain. There are many reasons as to why this is the case. Some seek to use these plants for their own diet and creativity (plantain is a popular ingredient for healing balms), while others want to ensure that their garden is a diverse and robust natural landscape.
Once an icon of the British garden, sheds are being replaced. No longer are the storage facilities they offer useful enough to justify their real estate. Instead, they are being replaced with blank canvases, and outbuildings that can be transformed into dining areas, personal gyms, and even office spaces.
While homeowners are eager for such options, there is also the reality that the usefulness of sheds is waning. Lawnmowers are disappearing, being occasionally replaced with robotic alternatives, and the cumbersome gardening equipment that was once used to curate neat lawns is being replaced with natural alternatives. There is also the realisation that many sheds were inevitably neglected, quickly becoming a graveyard for rusting equipment and seldom-used tools, an outcome that is far less appealing than having more living space.