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The hottest trends in garden design

Garden design can seem trend-proof. But times are changing as tastes in landscape design and outdoor living styles are developing more and more.

Gone are the days of neglected gardens that are only used on sunny days. Gardens are increasingly seen as an extension of the home. Check out the following trends that are hot right now...

The Outdoor Room
The lines between indoors and outdoors have become more and more blurred. With long working hours and increasing time spent in offices, people are getting back to spending time with nature (a natural and simple stress-busting technique that costs nothing!) and an outdoor room is an easy way to phase this into everyday life.

Features such as French sliding doors that lead directly out into a garden are hugely popular and paving is ideal for creating continuity of style from the interior to the exterior space. Large sofa-like seating, multi-functional cooking stations and sturdy dining furniture also help to build the feeling of an outdoor room. The current ‘Swedish cool’ interior trends are also translating to the outdoors. Whether its flaming fire pits and cosy blankets or more simple features, the latest Scandinavian trends work in the garden too.

Garden lighting has also become more of a feature rather than a functional afterthought. Uplighters, lanterns and fairy lights add a magical feel after dark.

Old and New Mash-up
Modern designers advise that mixing old and new styles, a trend in interiors and architecture, has arrived in gardens. It’s not about contemporary or traditional anymore but how you combine the two in an interesting way – either by putting modern elements in a traditional garden or incorporating bold, traditional elements in a modern garden.

An example of how to do this with garden furniture is by incorporating something like modern bench seating as a bold contrast to a traditional brick home. The use of decorative paving, over the likes of other hard landscaping materials like tarmac, asphalt or gravel for example, is another simple way to achieve this balance. The variations in paving styles, sizes, colours and textures offer endless options. With Tobermore products there’s even the option to combine the likes of Roma, Retro or Historic Flags, which offer a vintage-themed appearance, with the strikingly modern appearance of Sienna, Manhattan or Kensington Flags, to create a truly unique infusion of ‘old and new’.

Colour Blocking
More well-known as a trend in fashion, colour blocking is becoming more popular in outdoor living spaces too. This involves the clever use of colour selection that is used to maximise visual impact. What’s even better is that this can easily be achieved on a budget!

Colour blocking can be achieved through the use of hard landscaping – the vibrant solid and blended colours available with Tobermore’s paving and walling products are ideal for achieving this look. Paving products can be used to form eye-catching laying patterns or to highlight a specific planting or seating area for example.

Similarly, a splash of colour on a wall or fence can frame planting or act as an artful backdrop. Clear wooden varnishes aren’t the only option for walls and fences anymore - bright block colours are a great way to create the feel of an outdoor room.

Active Play for All Ages
Everyone knows that a garden with a play area is great for children – the use of paving products are ideal for creating a safe space that bikes and wheeled toys can easily be used on – however, garden play isn’t just for kids anymore. Swing seating, hammocks and life-size board games such as chess (which can be created via the use of quirky paving designs) have become really popular for adults to release their ‘inner child’ in the garden.

Sensory Spaces
With the unfortunate rise in the rates of conditions such as Autism and Asperger in the UK, the creation of sensory spaces are becoming more common and a garden is a great place to do this. The materials used to build garden paths and seating areas are important in creating sensory benefits – Tobermore products are manufactured in a variety of smooth, textured, riven and granite aggregate finishes, which can even be interspersed to create an interesting mix of textures. Bright planting, particularly if edible, are great in appealing to the senses – the likes of berries, honeysuckle, clover and lavender are perfect. Wind chimes can also be used as a method of bringing a calming auditory feature.

Low Maintenance
As garden areas are shrinking as houses in developments grow larger on ever-smaller plots, garden designers are dealing with requests for stylish small gardens that require little day-to-day maintenance.

Paving in an attractive and sustainable hard landscaping option for any size of outdoor space. What’s even better is that it looks good all year round with minimum maintenance required – cleaning a few times a year is sufficient to keep products looking their best which isn’t a big commitment in comparison to other hard landscaping materials.

And as for soft landscaping, if you only need a small plant to make an area look nice, why plant something that’ll grow to a large height that will take years of maintenance? Plants should be an appropriate scale for an outdoor space.

Another option for low maintenance spaces is incorporating container grown plants in place of flowers beds that require a lot of care and attention. The use of potted plants in a variety of sizes can also add interest to a garden.

For ideas and inspiration on hard landscaping for gardens, visit www.tobermore.co.uk or call 0844 800 5736.

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