As we near the end of the year, it’s time to look back on 2017 and the gardening inspiration it gave us. The year has presented lots of brilliant ideas, some being recycled from past centuries, and some that are more modern.
Regardless of their origin, the end of the year doesn’t need to spell the end of these ideas! So here are five garden inspirations and ideas to take from 2017 into the new year.
Gardening for your Climate
When many gardeners start out, the climate they live in is usually an afterthought. This is especially true for those that don’t live in extreme locations. Instead, worrying about making the garden look nice, and keeping plants alive takes top priority. But climate-minded gardening has become a much bigger consideration, especially as it can contribute to both of those things.
For dry climates, drought tolerant plants are a must. Those that don’t need much water to sustain them or that store their water efficiently.
A firm favourite is cacti and succulents, renowned for their ease of care and ability to survive without much water. They do so by storing their water in their leaves and stems, which gives them their thicker appearance.
As they don’t need much water, cacti are incredibly easy to care for. Make sure you choose a variety suited to outdoor growing, as some species are more suited to growing inside.
Another adaptation for gardens with less access to water is to reduce the amount of space that would need watering. A key way to do this is to remove some or all of your lawn and replace it with man-made or organic gravel.
Lawns require a lot of water to maintain them, which doesn’t bode well in areas prone to drought. Without daily watering, it’s not long before grass starts to go brown and die, especially in warmer seasons. Daily water usage isn’t great for your water bill!
This is probably a big reason why many switch to gravel, or if they still want the look of a perfect lawn, fake grass. These options are both great alternatives to paving or cement, as they both allow what little rainfall there is to penetrate into the earth beneath.
Another genius yet simple way to garden for your climate is to use native plants. As they’re already adapted to the area you live in, they shouldn’t struggle to grow in whatever elements they’re exposed to.
Extra Living Space
Your garden is an extension of your home, meaning it’s a space full of potential. It doesn’t have to be home to only plants, but you can instead use it as extra living space for yourself, your family, and guests.
Dedicating a space for outdoor furniture is a great way to make the most of your garden. A seating area where you can eat meals al fresco, enjoy the views of your garden, or catch up with friends is a brilliant use of space.
A dedicated patio or decked area with weather resistant furnishings is an ideal choice for warmer months. However, some furniture may need to be covered during the winter, depending on the severity of your conditions.
You can still make use of your garden seating in the colder months by decorating your garden with a fire pit. Put one in the centre of your seating so friends and family can gather around it to keep warm and roast marshmallows.
You can either buy a freestanding fire pit or build your own. Just be careful not to have it too near your home or plants as it can be a fire hazard. Also consider the logs that you burn, as those made of alternative materials release 80% fewer emissions than regular logs. These include those made from coffee beans or recycled sawdust.
Lighting has also become a feature instead of a just a functional afterthought, meaning you can get more creative with your choices.
Instead of using standard solar lights to line pathways, make use of the wide range of solar options you have. Many fairy and string lights are now solar powered, meaning you won’t be restricted in where you can hang them. Try draping them around your seating area or along fencing.
You can also experiment with mood lighting and add spotlights to key features and plants around your garden.
Treat it as if you were decorating a room in your home, and you’ll have a beautiful, usable space in your garden in no time.
Grow Your Own
Growing your own fruit and vegetables has seen a massive increase in popularity. A 2014 study found that the number of younger home growers increased by a massive 63%, and that number will continue to rise.
As the no-waste food and green living movements gain traction, more and more people are taking up vegetable gardening in an attempt to reduce their impact on the earth, and even save themselves some money in the process.
Although composting any unused food is a great way to recycle and give back to the earth, only growing what you can eat means less waste overall, and more time saved.
Growing your own opens you up to becoming a part of an amazing community of people providing for themselves. This also means that if anyone grows more than they could eat, trades can be made, meaning nothing goes to waste.
If you’re new to growing your own, start with easier options like potatoes, onions, or garlic. Use these to get to grips with your garden, soil conditions, and climate. Once you feel comfortable, you can branch out to growing different types of fruits and vegetables.
Another significant trend is hassle-free gardening. Many of us have little time to spare to tend to a garden but don’t want our outdoor space to suffer because of it.
As mentioned earlier, grass-free gardening has seen a surge in popularity due to its convenience. The most notable being that weeding can become a thing of the past, depending on the steps that you take.
Artificial grass gives homeowners a chance at a perfect, green, weed-free lawn with minimal effort. Once the fake grass has been laid, it requires next to no maintenance to keep it looking in great shape. It’s even suitable for pets and children, making it a hit with families.
Another hassle free option is container gardening. With this method, you can enjoy greenery without the job of weeding. It is perfect for those in concrete, urban environments, or those who would prefer potted plants to lawn care.
There is a low chance of weed seeds or roots being present in the potting soil, and if any do pop up, the soil will be less compacted making pulling so much easier. You can say goodbye to the weekly battle of removing weeds from your grass, and hello to enjoying your outdoor space.
Being outside amongst nature has excellent health benefits, especially for those who are stressed or recovering from illness. This is why you will find a garden in many hospitals for patients, family, and staff to visit.
The most popular are water gardens. Running water releases negative ions into the surrounding area giving a soothing, yet refreshing effect. This is why many people love visiting rivers and lakes, or the seaside.
You can bring this popular restoring atmosphere into your garden by adding the aspect of water in a variety of forms, depending on the amount of space that you have.
The easiest option is to install a water feature. These can come in, or be built in whatever size you like, and with various different materials. The theme of your garden should influence the type of water feature you choose.
Many like the look of natural appearing water features, made of large boulders or pots. These can fit well in a garden that uses texture in its theme. You can also find water features made out of statues, a popular one being Buddha statues placed in zen gardens.
This year has presented and propelled some brilliant ideas that you can start implementing in your garden now. 2018 will surely give us new ideas, but the ones detailed here won’t be slipping away anytime soon.
Evaluate your gardening needs, as well as your own personal values, and take the ideas that fit to create your perfect, 2017 inspired outdoor space.
Kevin is an avid gardener and DIYer and enjoys reading related gardening and home improvement articles. Working for Grabco, he gets to see a lot of the projects that homeowners embark on and the resulting transformations. He also picks up a lot of fresh ideas and current trends, so enjoys writing about them to share with other like-minded readers.