9 spring gardening trends for 2024

As our gardens emerge from their winter slumber, we unearth the top trends sweeping the horticultural world this spring.

Given the extreme weather we witnessed last year, resilience in the face of our changing climate is a common theme. But there’s also a renewed focus on the mood-boosting powers of the garden and the benefits that come about when we care for the soil.

Read on to soak up all the inspiration you need to spring into action and create your dream garden this year.

1.The joyful garden

If last year’s penchant was for serene spaces designed to encourage a reflective, meditative state, this year the sanctuary style is getting an injection of fun. This playfulness is evident in the RHS No Adults Allowed garden at Chelsea this year, which has been designed by children – a Chelsea first!

The ideas honoured by designer Harry Holding include a den, carnivorous plants and even a water slide. One child who took part said: “We’re not just drawing, we’re making something real.” Three children described the garden as “amazing”, “exquisite” and “joyous.”

woodhill manor spring 7th may 2020pinterest

You too can channel your inner child with bold colours, playful textures or whimsical elements that bring a smile to your face. Designer Katherine Holland adds: “Plants have such a terrific impact on our mood, and I hope that people consider what senses are stimulated by different types of plants, whether that is ornamental grass for movement and sound, or roses with single flowers for scent (and the insects!).”

2. Gardens for all

This year, there’s plenty of advice and resources available for people with a desire to grow but no plot of their own. From balcony container gardens to portable raised beds and vertical gardens, you’ll find a gardening solution to suit every living situation at the RHS’s first ever Urban Show in Manchester this April.

Guerilla gardening (planting in public spaces, often without permission) is getting airtime too. The RHS now has a whole page dedicated to the once clandestine pursuit, thanks to Ellen Miles who has introduced a new generation to her brand of ‘botanarchy’.

community garden allotments in the united kingdom showing plots and plants growing on a sunny summers daypinterest

Martin Hambleton//Getty Images

For tips and tricks from the pros, check out the garden museum’s event series themed around ‘greening the public realm.’ Or apply to be part of the Garden Organic’s Growing Buddies scheme, a new programme designed to empower housing association tenants to green up their shared community spaces.

3. Potty for pots

According to the National Gardening Survey, 600,000 more households engaged in container gardening last year, a 200% increase. With Sarah Raven’s A Year Full of Pots out this March, plant lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to container gardening ideas.

Garden designer Pip Probert is most excited about the endless possibilities with pots this year. “I absolutely love making a centre piece for an outdoor table or even a cluster of interesting pots and containers positioned within a gravel garden. Spring is the perfect time to utilise these gorgeous pots and containers, with your spring flowering bulbs starting to pop up all over the show. Irises are a favourite in our house right now. Yet these attractive features do not have to be a short-lived visual effect, you can keep changing the display and even the contents throughout the year.”

amanda clayden of pea green, photographed at her cutting garden and studio for country living by alun callenderpinterest

Alun Callender/Country Living

It’s not too late to create a spring display with your pots. Try Bulbs in the Green wildflowers collection, if you didn’t get around to planting any bulbs last autumn.

4. The rise of the edimental

Whisper it: your veg plot doesn’t have to be in neat, perfectly weeded rows, it can instead burst out of your borders in a riot of scent and colour. Edimentals (a blend of edible and ornamental) were front, back and centre in last year’s School Food Matters Chelsea garden, designed by Harry Holding Studios. Its floriferous beds contained 80% edible plants like sorrel, asparagus and nasturtiums.

“They make for a hands-off way of introducing food into your garden and help to foster deeper connections with the natural world through an engaging, foraging experience,” Harry tells us.

chelsea flower show 2023 gardening garden designpinterest
RHS/Tim Sandall

The School Food Matters Garden

This year, Sid Hull and Chris Hull, who are creating the Bowel Research UK Microbiome Garden at Chelsea, have taken the trend further by creating an entire meadow sown with only munch-worthy beauties.

“Among them, Persicaria bistorta, Camassia, and Lupin luteus will paint a vibrant tapestry of yellows, blues and pinks. While commonly found in gardens for their beauty, few realise the culinary potential of these stunning plants or their gut health benefits.” Yes, you can have your garden, and eat it too!

5. Hydration stations

While not all of us have the space for a statement cold plunge pool à la Tom Bannister’s 2024 Eco Therapy Garden, there are subtle and arguably more vital ways to introduce water into the garden. A bird bath, pond or solar water feature add a layer of calm while being instant wildlife magnets. But a top priority for gardeners this year will be conserving water.

“I think rainwater harvesting and disconnecting downpipes from main sewer systems will become an increasingly popular and important choice for homeowners.” says Tom Massey, whose WaterAid Garden, co-designed with Je Ahn, features a central rainwater harvesting pavillion.

hampton court 2014pinterest

“Sustainable water management is increasingly important and can also be exciting and aesthetically pleasing to incorporate into our gardens, whether this is to save money on water bills, capture water for the more extreme heatwaves and longer periods of drought we are now facing or to ease pressure on our sewers, helping to stop discharges of sewage into our rivers and oceans.”

When it comes to future proofing your garden against flooding, Tom recommends alders, which can put up with soggy roots. His Chelsea garden also made use of swales (shallow planted-up depressions in a garden), which ensure water is dispersed gently.

This year’s Chelsea designers are, for the most part, eschewing concrete and cement in favour of natural, permeable and biodegradable materials, and we’re seeing a return to traditional crafts like lime rendering. Around the world there is a small but mighty movement dedicated to ‘depaving’, which could help reduce flooding.

6. All hail the soil

With the ban on peat in bagged compost in force this year and a range of alternatives hitting the shops, RHS Chief Horticulturist Guy Barter is optimistic more and more gardeners will be switching to peat-free potting compost. Interest in the health of our soils is gaining ground too.

If you want to understand what state your soil is in, get stuck in with the Plant Your Pants campaign, which is encouraging growers to plant a pair of cotton pants in the soil on or around the first day of spring (20th March), and dig them up two months later. No pants = healthy soil. Whereas, if your pants are intact, it means there are low levels of microbial life.

bella ivins starting the kitchen garden at garden plot in east sussex she shares with husband nick and daughters peggy and floracultivating the soilpinterest

Andrew Montgomery / Country Living

Tom Fairfax, a regenerative organic farmer based in Northumberland who hosts Country Trust Farm Discovery school visits, and is a Plant Your Pants campaign champion, stresses the importance of looking after our soil: “We have ignored the soil for too long and this has had a negative impact, not only on the environment, but also the quality of the food grown in it and our health. We all have a role to play in improving our soil, all we have to do is open our senses to the ground around us and listen to what it has to tell us.” To supercharge your soil, use organic mulches and avoid synthetic fertiliser.

7. Climate-friendly gardening

2023 broke records for all the wrong reasons and the extreme weather will continue to impact the way we garden. With no let up in the cost of living crisis, we’ll continue to see people turn to growing their own, some under the guise of the more ominous-sounding ‘survivalist garden’, which favours seed saving.

The RHS has predicted more of us will be tending to ‘climate-friendly fruits’ like grapes, figs and even watermelons. Already changes are being made on a grand scale across the gardens we love to visit. National Trust Gardens such as Ham House & Garden are planting more disease resistant apple trees to mitigate flooding and more cannas and agaves, which can withstand higher temperatures.

chelsea flower show 2023 gardening garden design container and balconypinterest
RHS/Sarah Cuttle

the climate-friendly Shifting Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show 2023

Designer and Your Outdoor Room author Manoj Malde says: “One of the key trends that I am excited to incorporate in my garden this year is planting for biodiversity but with sustainability in mind. As our climate changes, we need to consider which plants will survive in our gardens for the future but still benefit wildlife.”

Wildlife-friendly and native perennials you’ll spot at this year’s Chelsea includ Salvia greggii spp., Lunaria annua and Ranunculus flammula.

8. Neon dream

Sunglasses at the ready! Cyber Lime is this year’s colour du jour. This vibrant and futuristic hue is set to dominate gardens in 2024, according to Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group.

How to use it? “Despite its vivid appearance, lime can be matched with many different colours. It looks great next to fuchsia, bright oranges, yellow and shades of pink and purple can also work for a radiant, lively palette. Lime pops next to black and also matches well with neutrals like white and tan.”

fritillaria raddeana perennial herbaceous bulbous plant distributed in iran, turkmenistan and kashmir genus fritillaria, in the lily family liliaceae sometimes referred to as dwarf crown imperial springtimepinterest
annick vanderschelden photography//Getty Images

Fritillaria Raddeana

For subtle pops of lime, Joe and Laura Carey from Carey Garden Design Studio recommend fritillaries. “This year we are using Fritillaria raddeana and Fritillaria persica ‘green dreams’ both of which have a really fresh green colour palette and are delicately sculptural.”

9. Garden for life – not just for summer

It’s tempting to throw everything into creating a spectacular summer garden, but with insects in decline, it’s important we try to provide food for our fellow creatures year round. Plus, why restrict your garden’s prospects to just a few months of the year?

Katherine Holland says: “With increasingly erratic weather patterns, there has definitely been an uptick in more conscientious design and gardening. There were several show gardens at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show with this at the heart of their message, and I’m seeing this translate into requests from my clients, where the number one request is the planting attracts wildlife. I have always loved creating sensory spaces that attract wildlife whilst also creating a sanctuary for my clients.”

shepherd dan jones was awarded the tenancy of parc farm on the great orme by the national trust, he won the chance to tend one of the most remarkable headlands in the countrywildflife, blue and red moth or butterflypinterest

The image of weeds is changing too, at Chelsea it’s not uncommon to see plants which have traditionally been ripped out. Think herb robert, plantain, cow parsley and dandelions, which might not be a welcome sight for all gardeners just yet but are a relief for hungry pollinators.

Planning a garden glow-up? Ula Maria (who is behind the fab forest bathing garden at Chelsea this year) suggests reaching out to a designer and contractor at least six months before construction starts: “My advice would be to not rush the process as it often results in mistakes and regrets. Take your time to create a garden that will last you for years to come, not just that summer.”

woodhill manor spring 7th may 2020pinterest

What trends are UK designers hoping to leave behind?

“It has to be time-up for artificial turf and plastic plants. Gardens should be about seasonal change, connection to nature and supporting biodiversity.” – Tom Massey

“The trend I will be glad to see the back of is the use of artificial grass. I believe that the public are beginning to realise how damaging it is to our environment. It has zero benefits for wildlife. It is not maintenance-free. Real grass is good for our wellbeing and helps create biodiversity in our gardens.” – Manoj Malde

“A feature I would love to see left behind as we move firmly into 2024, is the plastic planted screens. They tend to discolour very quickly, leaving you with an unsightly, plastic effect, with the colour drained from each leaf! There are lots of other ways to clad a wall or fence, and using various climbing plants we can create a wonderfully attractive, fragrant effect.” – Pip Probert

“This year I hope we will all embrace a less ‘tidy’ approach to our spring gardening. Capturing that energy to get out in the garden and get it ready for the season ahead while keeping a thought for the other users of the space who need a bit of ‘mess’. Looking after our invertebrates, birds, mammals and all other wildlife creates a much healthier garden ecosystem!” – Harry Holding

“Over-reliance on evergreens! While there is a place for them in every garden, too many can make a garden feel static and ironically lifeless. We prefer to be able to feel the eb and flow of each season as it passes. Having something that grows, performs and recedes – all in one year – is much more dynamic. It’s all about the drama and anticipation of watching the seasons come and go.” – Joe and Laura Carey, Carey Garden Design Studio

Next Post

25 Walmart Home Products For People Who Just Discovered Interior Design But Are Living On A Budget

Sat Feb 17 , 2024
We hope you love our recommendations! Some may have been sent as samples, but all were independently selected by our editors. Just FYI, BuzzFeed and its publishing partners may collect a share of sales and/or other compensation from the links on this page. 1.A super chic three-piece outdoor conversation set, which will […]
25 Walmart Home Products For People Who Just Discovered Interior Design But Are Living On A Budget

You May Like