2023 Trends in Garden DesignWe share 9 gardening trends on the rise in 2023, plus a few that are perpetual
Currently, it’s not hard to find information about how to improve the aesthetics around you—every streaming service has access to dozens of shows featuring home improvement projects, ways to declutter your life, décor ideas, and more. These programs, along with the many websites and social media accounts that focus on the topic are proof that we all share a collective sentiment: Surrounding oneself with beauty is not frivolous. Rather, it’s a worthwhile endeavor that can improve our mood and outlook on life in general.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that gardeners are striving to give their outdoor spaces, balconies, and homes an aesthetic that makes them happy—ultimately creating a respite from everything else going on in the world. This philosophy guides our forecast for what the focus will be for gardeners in 2023. Happy gardening!
- Growing Your Own Bouquets
- Creating Cottage Gardens
- Designing Mediterranean Gardens
- Swapping Lawns for Meadows
- Learning Through Online Webinars
1. Growing Your Own Bouquets
More and more gardeners are trying their hand at growing their own material for bouquets. Flowers that are easy to grow at home such as sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos in a variety of colors, as shown here in this combination, are all wonderful for bouquets. Photo by: Jesse Oman / Shutterstock.
With the recent rise in popularity of flower farming—and the industry’s willingness to educate others—many gardeners are experimenting with growing cut flower gardens at home. In Small Farm Big Dreams, by Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of Pepperharrow Farm, the O’Neals explain that what prompted them to really dive into flower farming was the joy they felt from observing the happiness their bouquets brought others: “Sharing in and spreading happiness throughout our community with the beautiful flowers we grew was intoxicating and completely contagious. Naturally, we had to grow more!”
Whether you’re looking to try your hand at selling flowers at your local farmer’s market, share your homegrown bouquets with neighbors, or create your own centerpieces for your dining table, growing cut flowers is for everyone. Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Narrow your selections. When choosing flowers, opt for those with strong stems and that tend to bloom for a long period of time. Here are 24 of the best flowers for cutting gardens to get you started.
- Find a spot for your cutting garden. Maybe you have an empty spot in the ground that you can use for growing flowers or maybe you need to put in a raised garden bed. No matter where you plan to grow your flowers, make sure you have a plan in place for watering.
- Prepare your soil. Properly preparing your soil is the best thing you can do to ensure a good start for your flowers. Read more about soil management.
See more ideas on how to create a cut flower garden.
2. Creating Cottage Gardens
Cottage-style gardens often incorporate close planting to create a sea of colorful blooms. Photos by Bonnie Kuchler and David Nadalin of Nadalin Photography.
See more of this beautiful cottage garden.
Speaking of cut flower gardens, many are also turning to the “comfort food” of gardening: cottage gardens. This romantic planting style features colorful and fragrant blooms bursting from garden beds. Adding a bit of whimsy is also welcome—cottage gardens have been known to feature elements such as wheelbarrows, bikes, and other found objects that gardeners cleverly use as containers for plants.
A few of our favorite plants for cottage gardens:
- Alliums. With their globe-shaped heads bobbing above a sea of foliage, alliums reliably bring pops of color to garden beds.
- Dianthus. This expansive genus has annual, biennial, and perennial varieties, making dianthus a great selection for any garden.
- Yarrow. Drought tolerant and known for being easy to grow, yarrow produces many stems of gorgeous umbels in a variety of colors.
See more plants to include in your cottage garden.
3. Designing Mediterranean-Style Gardens
Lavender is one of several plants that serve to create the look of a Mediterranean garden. Photo by: Proven Winners.
Cottage gardens spilling over with flowers are lovely, but in locations where gardeners need to be drought conscious, Mediterranean-style gardens are seeing a surge in popularity. Not only is this style conducive to using less water—it’s also stunning. If you don’t live in a dry climate, there are still plenty of ideas to gather from Mediterranean-style gardens, and it’s possible to create the vibrant, relaxed aesthetic in your own garden. Here are some plants to include:
- Olive trees. With their slivery green foliage and gnarled trunks, olive trees make a beautiful focal point.
- Fragrant herbs. For many, just the smell of rosemary or lavender alone is reminiscent of Mediterranean gardens. But don’t forget the other essential herbs—oregano, basil, and more!
- Bougainvillea. These bright climbers are vigorous growers, and bougainvillea will put on a show almost all year long.
See more plants to include in your Mediterranean-style garden.
4. Swapping Lawns for Meadows
This meadow garden designed by Jay Withgott and Susan Masta is a sanctuary for both the homeowners and local wildlife. Photo by: Janet Loughrey.
Gardeners tearing out their lawns and swapping them for drought-tolerant and pollinator-friendly plants has been going on for years. The appreciation for lawn alternatives continues to grow, with meadow gardens becoming more and more popular. Here are a few reasons meadow gardens appeal to many:
- They support pollinators.
- They don’t require harmful chemicals.
- They don’t require mowing.
- There are no strict rules for how they should be done.
Learn how to transform your lawn into a naturalistic meadow.
5. Learning From Experts Through Online Webinars
Photo by: Jim Peterson.
In the past few years, more people than ever have turned to gardening—whether it be recognizing the benefits of growing their own food or creating a beautiful outdoor environment to enjoy. In response to this ever-growing interest in gardening, online webinars have become an increasingly popular way for this new generation of gardeners to learn the basics, as well as for experienced gardeners to expand and enhance their garden knowledge. Attending online webinars has many advantages:
- Gives gardeners the convenience of attending from home
- Many also provide recordings, allowing participants to re-watch and review the information at their own pace
- Some also provide notes that can be printed out and added to
- Others offer a chance to ask questions through chat or Q&A forums, bringing a sense of community to the event
6. Expanding Houseplant Collections with Rare & Unusual Varieties
Vibrant Prismacolor™ Sun Red philodendron is sure to grab attention with its leaves that are bright red when young and eventually mature to a burgundy color. Photo by: Proven Winners.
It’s no secret that houseplants have been all the rage for a while. But now, those who have had success with them are finding a fun way to expand upon the hobby: finding and collecting rare and unusual varieties. Here are some houseplant qualities we foresee indoor gardeners craving in 2023:
- Unusual colors. Green is a classic, of course, but for something fun and different, gardeners are seeking out foliage in surprising colors. A few of our favorites: Color Full™ Dottie rose painted calathea for its green-edged pink leaves and Prismacolor™ Sun Red philodendron (pictured) for its color-changing foliage.
- Large leaves. Unexpected indoors, large leaves act as eye-catching décor. We love Prismacolor™ fern-like philodendron for its leaves that increase in size as the plant grows.
- Intriguing shapes. Several Japanese bird’s nest ferns caught our eye: Living Lace™ Leslie has leaves reminiscent of celery while Living Lace™ Crissie offers an otherworldly aesthetic.
- Interesting patterns and textures. There is a plethora of houseplants with stunning leaves. Keep an eye out for variegated varieties and those with standout veining such as Color Full™ Sanderiana pinstripe calathea that features pink veins or Mythic™ Dragon Scale with its bumpy, ridged, and mottled leaves.
- Hydroponic varieties. If you’re not familiar with hydroponic houseplants already, their main attraction is that you can simply grow them in water. No soil required! In addition to being easy to care for (just change the water out as needed—at least once every couple months), they’re also really neat to look at if you place them in a glass container, which puts the root system on display. If you’re interested in trying hydroponic houseplants, check out the LeafJoyH2O collection!
7. Adding Texture with Foliage Plants
Ferns, with their intricate fronds, are just one of many plants with texture that adds interest to a garden. Here, a Japanese painted fern. Photo by: Janet Loughrey.
For many seasoned gardeners, foliage has always been a focus. But for others, recognizing all that foliage has to offer is opening a whole new world of possibilities. Looking beyond just the variety of colors you can get from a plant’s leaves, gardeners are having fun adding depth and complexity to their gardens and containers by including foliage in a variety of textures.
In their book Fine Foliage, Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz write, “Without the contrast of different textures the composition will appear unexceptional.” Here are some ways you can use texture to make your garden an exceptional sight:
- Enhance the sense of touch. Whether it’s walking on soft moss, rubbing the leaves of fuzzy lambs ear, or running your hands along the tips of delicate stems of ornamental grasses, being able to touch and feel plants takes a garden experience to the next level.
- Make the most of the light. When choosing plants for your space, consider where the sunlight hits and how you can use it to your benefit. In their book, Salwitz and Chapman remind readers that dull leaves don't reflect light the way shiny leaves do. So choose wisely when picking plants for each area of your garden.
- Enrich visual interest. Various textures can make a composition more complex. For example, a few ferns among groupings of hostas gives the eye something to stop and look at. Hostas offer a smooth texture, while ferns are more intricate—their fronds featuring multiple pinna jutting out from the midrib.
See this list of 17 foliage plants in a range of textures.
8. Going Vertical
Rolling plant shelves provide privacy between neighbors. Photo by: Proven Winners.
Learn how to build these rolling planters.
For many, moving to a location with more space than they already have is out of the question when considering housing prices, interest rates, and a variety of other factors. (And for others, a bigger space is not needed or simply not desired!) No matter the reason, many gardeners are making the most of the space they already have. One of the best ways to do that? Vertical gardening. Though vertical gardening has been popular for a while now, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest due to a focus on maximizing small spaces.
Here, garden writer and photographer Janet Loughrey offers a few ways to plant vertically:
- Arbor, trellis, or pergola
- Hanging baskets, planter boxes, and containers
- Fence shelving, pouches, or other mounted containers
- Walls for training plants
- Living walls
Want to make the most of your space? Discover more vertical gardening ideas.
9. Making Outdoor Spaces Cheery & Bright
A variety of bright colors in Tracy VanVolkinburg’s Michigan garden make this scene a feast for the eyes. Photo by: Tracy VanVolkinburg.
Check out her Instagram for more: @plaids.and.poppies
Can anyone deny that seeing a garden bed full of vibrant flowers is an immediate mood booster? We’re seeing gardeners get more and more creative with color combinations, and one of our absolute favorite gardeners for color inspiration is gardener Tracy VanVolkinburg of Plaids and Poppies. Here, she shares some of her thoughts and experiences with color in the garden:
"The garden for me is like a new art project each year, and going to the garden center in the Spring is like opening a new box of crayons! It’s always fun to see what new plants have come out and how I might incorporate them in a container or garden bed. My favorite part is the creating…combining colors and textures together to create something beautiful. I always incorporate lots of bright colors, but at the same time I’ll repeat several combinations of colors throughout the garden, helping to create cohesiveness. It helps your eye flow from one space to the next.
I did a lot of pinks this year for a photo shoot. That’s generally not my go-to because I tend to gravitate towards hot colors. However, I discovered I love incorporating pinks with hot colors: bright red with a softer pink, and a deep magenta alongside a pastel purple—they were stunning together. I even painted an old table and chair set bright red this year to add more of a pop and draw the eye to a space that was lacking. Containers are my favorite way to try different color combos…changing it up year after year, yet always fitting in as many colors as I can. After all, there are too many colors available not to try them all!"
Need ideas for plants to include for specific colors? Check out these blue, purple, red, yellow, and orange plant pages!
Color can also come from non-plant materials such as colorful pots or other elements such as doors, chairs, garden art, trellises, and tomato cages. Vibrant outdoor pillows, blankets, and patterned rugs also do the trick.
Want color in your garden all year long? Use these 12 tips to plant your garden for continuous color.
10. Using Natural Materials
Ecologist and horticulturist Rick Darke calls this pathway, made with local Pennsylvania bluestone, an invitation from one part of the garden to the other. Photo by: Rick Darke.
Increased interest in creating calm, serene spaces has led to a rise in the use of natural materials for hardscaping. We’re thrilled that natural stone pathways are capturing the hearts of gardeners once again. As landscape designer and horticulturist Jan Johnsen puts it, “Rustic stone paths paved with small stones or stepping stones make us watch our step and slow our pace. They make us take time to appreciate the garden.” In a world full of to-do lists and a constant barrage of information, what could be better?
Here are some resources for creating your own natural stone pathway:
- Learn about stone walkways from Johnsen’s blog post, 'Many Faces of a Stone Walk'.
- Get ideas from Lisa Nunamaker’s stepping stone path inspiration board.
- See more of the naturalistic garden pictured above with several stone pathways.
A broken-stone path with moss in the wide joints is as beautiful as it is fun to walk on.
Here, stones are set in a modified stepping-stone pattern. To leave adequate room for grass to grow, allow for at least 3 to 6 inches between stones.
Try walking on placed stones before you dig them in to make sure the spacing is comfortable.
Tips and photos by Jan Johnsen.
BONUS: Keeping Up With Continuing Trends
Gardening for wildlife, a continuing trend in the gardening world, can be observed in this Bellingham, WA, backyard. Throughout her garden, homeowner Allison Ronney included many water features to attract birds such as this miniature water garden planted with aquatic varieties. Photo by Allison Ronney.
See more of this garden.
Every year, there are ideas and concepts that take hold of gardeners—trends that come and go—and some of them tend to pop up again and then disappear every so often. However, there are other ideas that are consistently popular because, for many, they are at the crux of why they garden. Here are some “trends” that we can hardly call “trends,” but we can’t fail to mention because of their significance.
- Drought tolerant gardening. Many gardeners in locations with severe drought conditions are being more conscious about what they’re putting in their gardens and how to make it look great.
- Climate awareness. Increased awareness of our changing climate and how that impacts our growing zones is prompting gardeners to reevaluate what plants are appropriate (natives) and when they should be planted.
- Wildlife consideration. Gardens are about much more than just the people who spend time in them—they’re about accommodating wildlife, too. Fortunately, interest in bringing pollinators and other creatures who are critical to our ecosystem continues to gain traction.
- Low-maintenance gardening. Gardeners continue to find that it’s helpful to include plants that are easy to maintain so you can have a beautiful outdoor space…and lounge in it, too. In the spirit of low-maintenance, we’re loving AquaPots-self-watering pots which are also beautiful. A win-win!
- Homegrown is best. Anyone who’s tried a tomato straight from the garden knows that supermarket tomatoes pale in comparison. On top of taste, the health benefits and satisfaction gardeners get from growing their own food is unbeatable. That’s why the number of gardeners learning more about vegetable gardening continues to grow in popularity.
2022 Garden Trends