Alex, Current Issues, Flowers, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, Gardening, Gardening Year, How To, News

Gardening has become increasingly influenced by trends over the last decade with styles and techniques seeming to vary on a similar frequency to that of clothing and it could be argued more frequently than that of the historically fluid field of interior design.

Perhaps this is influenced by the natural cycle that our gardens go through each year with every spring an opportunity to tweak, re-arrange or entirely redesign your outdoor space. This year will be no different so we have been looking into what’s going to be all the rage in the gardening world and have found some interesting trends that are going to be big in 2016.

Monochrome Palettes:

Minimalism is nothing new and has been synonymous with modern interior design since the turn of the century but 2016 is set to see this trend spread outdoors too with monochrome palettes being used to create simple, calm spaces. 50 shades of grey in your garden will mean something completely different this year with this technique working particularly well with stone water features, aged zinc, slate and subtle white flora.

Monochrome garden

See-through Fences

I found this to be an interesting concept. Fences are normally used to create privacy, so this seems kind of pointless at first. But after seeing how they can be used, I now understand. You can angle the slats so that it gives the illusion of being see-through, lets plenty of light in and inflicts a less enclosing feel on the boundary of your garden without giving you direct line of sight onto your neighbours garden, and vice versa. These now offer a modern alternative to the tradition boundary options of either A. A fence or B. A bush and also act as a real talking point.

See through fence

The Grottage

The Grottage is another idea that was previously unfamiliar to me. Grottage, a portmanteau of the words garage and cottage, is a new term used to describe what may previously have been described inelegantly as a garage conversion. I have seen some real good looking examples of these and the purpose of them can vary from a small, sun house like function to offer some shelter and comfort in the garden to more of a guest house with bed and small kitchenette. I think the former will be more popular with people choosing to transform disused garages from a storage place for tools that are seldom in action to a quaint feature where guests can relax and enjoy the garden out of the midday heat of the sun, or more likely; out of the rain.



A cool time saving concept for those who are trying to achieve the “untamed look” without having to wait for their garden to untame itself. With the untamed look set to be another hot trend this year, some clever gardenistas have come up with the idea of creating it for you, on rolls of turf, which you can then just install into your garden kind of like the horticultural version of Ikea furniture. You can order turf with a variety of wild flowers and grasses already prepared and instantly transform your neat, tidy garden into a wild, untamed all-natural experience.

turf to order

Pallet Style Furniture

This is one of my personal favourites; I enjoy the innovation behind this concept and I remember first seeing these in a bar a few years ago (they were obviously homemade) and thinking wow that’s not a bad idea! Now, companies will make them for you and you get a better quality product that still brings that intriguing bespoke feel to your garden as visitors have that eureka moment when they realise that your elegant sofa set has actually been innovatively crafted from a few humble pallets.

pallet furniture

Sustainable Features Integrated with Design

An area close to my heart – sustainable development may not interest everyone but it is something I have studied closely for a few years now and an area that is a bit more familiar to me. The sustainable trend is a trend that has threatened to take off each year for the last 5 or so but as of yet it has not hit the mainstream. Of course, there are still some wonderful examples to be found. Some real works of ingenuity and functional design creating spaces that are not just aesthetically pleasing but environmentally conscious and sustainable.

Over this time, however, ideas have been developed, products improved and now a sustainable garden is a more accessible goal. With more accessibility, and appetite seemingly as strong as ever, 2016 will hopefully be the year where this trend really takes hold.

Rain gardens have been popular in dryer parts of America for a few years now and are predicted to make an appearance over here this year. The idea is to create a shallow planted depression in your garden where rain water will run into and be held until it soaks into the soil. The advantages are that in dryer times this will help store any little bit of rain and keep your garden hydrated meaning you have to reach for the hose pipe less often. Secondly, this reduces rainwater run-off, a growing problem. As our once green land increasingly becomes concreted over or built on, rain now tends to run off along the ground much more without soaking in. This washes all the dust and other impurities along with it into the water system and can lead to sharp rises in river levels after short bursts of rain, often causing flooding.

rain garden

There are loads of other neat ideas on the web to make your garden more sustainable and a lot of these come at little or no cost (besides a bit of elbow grease).

Stay tuned to our blog as we run through other things to keep an eye on in 2016 to get the most out of your garden this year!



Alex works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

Gardening, Guest Posts, Lou C

Mission Almost Impossible: Montana Clematis

Here’s a guest post by Lou C, on her adventures wrangling her Montana Clematis plants earlier this month.

Lou C's Clematis Montana
May bank holiday — A time when gardeners traditionally overexert themselves in the garden and bedding plants come out to play. Suddenly everyone is a gardener and the neighbourhood battles of the baskets commence. Unfortunately, this May everyone is a little behind with things and for one reason alone– Rain has stopped the play. I can now imagine how Noah must have felt.

The forecast for the bank holiday weekend is for showers rather than torrential rain. Promising. Since the start of April we have lived with a half painted fence that is begging to be finished. Initially we planned to allow our two (yes, two) Montana clematis that are clothing said fence to finish flowering but the rain seems to have put them all behind as well.

We have a montaña to climb and we’re going to need the best in the business. Undaunted, I contact the Impossible Missions Force, also known as my mother. The challenge, should she choose to accept it, is to help us remove the clematis from the fence so we can paint it and put the clematis back a) before it rains and b) by sacrificing as little of it as possible.

Lou C's Montana Clematis
We plump for Sunday – predicted as the better day. The Force arrives, all 73 years and 5 ft 2 of her. She’s bought a packed lunch so she really means business. Before I can ask if she wants a cuppa, the first Montana hits the floor and my mother is nimbly scampering up my rockery incline to the second with no thought to the possible hip replacement that might be necessitated by a nasty fall. The second Montana proves slightly trickier as it has also wound its way through a trellis planter and we have some serious untangling (not to mention a little sacrificing) to do. But not to be beaten, less than half an hour later the first part of the mission is accomplished. Sadly it takes a lot longer than this to finish the fence. In the meantime, the Force makes herself at home with a bag of potting compost and a queue of plants.

Lou C's Clematis Montana on a trellis
A lot later and we set about resurrecting both Montanas. The fence is dry, we have only had to dodge one shower and most of my planting has been completed, just not by me! As they are trained onto new wires I stand back to admire their new svelte physique. Yes, there is less of them, and yes, I could have waited until flowering was over, but flowers they still have and they will grow back very quickly if the number of new stems is anything to go by. They stand out beautifully against my new “seagrass” fence and I cross fingers and hope that I will not be greeted by a mass of wilted stems in days to come.

Mission accomplished and no one disavowed. The Force will be suitably rewarded with a trip to her favourite garden centre. May the force be with you, too.

Lou C