The pandemic has encouraged more homeowners and occupants to turn to their back gardens and balconies for recreation and escapism. Outdoor space has become a vital part of the ‘work from home’ culture many of us still find ourselves in.
Throughout 2020, we saw a massive spike in demand across the garden sector, with many using lockdown as an opportunity to enhance their outdoor space. They invested time and money into their homes and gardens, in the place of holidays, events and days out.
With restrictions and lockdown measures of varying degrees predicted to continue into spring, the desire to turn to home and garden improvements and create spaces which are increasingly becoming all-weather alfresco extensions of the home, will surely continue across 2021.
Bringing inside, outside
As we move into 2021, we’re likely to see a continued focus on bringing the inside, outside.
Sheltered outdoor zones, comfy deep-seating spaces, and alfresco dining areas with robust furniture like teak sets from Barlow Tyrie, or aluminium sets by Charles Bentley are likely to feature, with an increased interest in creating unique, and characterful gardens.
Select neutral tones or colours that reflect your indoor decor, and design any planting you add to help create a seamless, natural flow from indoors to outdoors.
Timber pergolas are ideal for creating the illusion of an outdoor room as the height acts as the ‘ceiling’ or ‘roof’ in the garden. Available with single or multiple bays, a pergola can frame your seating area effectively, regardless of its size.
Once you have the initial structure up, the fun can begin. Create a cosy winter wonderland for the cooler months by adding luxurious garden sofas, warm blankets and atmospheric lighting.
The snug feeling can be enhanced when a semi-solid fence panel is added to one side of the structure to enclose the space. Then, during the summer months, this pergola can be transformed into a recreational area of shade, providing welcome escape should the sun be intense.
Alternatively, to create a more intimate outside area, consider installing a garden shelter. Venetian or woven panels are ideal for covering two or three sides of the shelter. This will add a significant degree of privacy, and both styles of panel create a beautiful backdrop to the seating area.
Raised planter beds
While this trend is nothing new to keen gardeners, it is perfect for budding garden enthusiasts. Raised beds allow you to create an ideal growing environment for your chosen plants, from the soil through to the drainage.
Experiment with different vegetables, fruit or flowers in manageable, controlled areas to find what you grow best. Timber soared in popularity throughout 2020, thanks to its beautiful aesthetic, robust durability and sustainable credentials.
Sustainability will continue to be a firm focus of the coming year, governing all decisions, from what’s going into the materials used in our houses and gardens, to what type of plants you choose for the flowerbeds.
This also extends to being conscious of the impact we are having on the animals we share our outdoor areas with. We can all help our local wildlife by being conscientious and designing-in havens for them throughout our gardens.
Here are a few simple ways to do this. You can choose early or long flowering plants, to help bees and insects in the early months of the year.
It’s also helpful to create a basic insect hotel. This can be as simple as a pile of logs and twigs in the corner of your garden.
Installing a hedgehog hole or a hedgehog gravel board will offer the vulnerable hedgehog population a helping hand in their search for food and mates. With their diet of slugs, snails and insects, hedgehogs are extremely useful for helping to control pests in your garden.
Create DIY bird boxes. Nesting boxes will encourage local birds to find a home in your garden.
Lastly, wildflower gardens not only look picturesque, but they help the local wildlife flourish. Wildflower seeds are inexpensive and can be found at your local garden centre.
Noise pollution is an increasing concern for many, especially in urban areas. Given the increased time spent at home over the last year, it is not surprising that more of us have come to realise the damaging effect excess noise has on our wellbeing. Your outdoor space risks being far from an oasis of tranquillity if it is located in an urban area, close to public transport, or near a busy road.
Solutions such as acoustic fencing around the perimeter of your property can help mitigate this problem. It is explicitly designed to reflect or absorb unwanted sounds, and significantly reduces the impact of environmental noise. Timber acoustic fencing is a brilliant option; not only is it useful in reducing noise, but it also maintains an attractive and ‘natural’ facade, while also being an environmentally-conscious option when correctly treated for a long life.
Maximising your outdoor space
You can take advantage of any outdoor space, no matter how large or small, and transform it into an oasis that works for you.
Vertical growing is just one of the ways to utilise unappreciated tight spaces with a vertical emphasis. Using trellis or fence panels as a support will work wonders in encouraging these plants to grow and flourish.
Venetian fence panels are particularly effective for this use as the gaps allow vines to grow up in between the slats by intertwining and eventually creating a green screen.
The winter months are the best time to start thinking about a garden renovation or uplift. Working on improvements now will ensure it’s ready to enjoy fully as soon as the weather gets warmer.
These are just a few of the many emerging garden trends for the New Year. Hopefully, the tips mentioned will enable you to create your ideal garden to enjoy in 2021 and beyond.