2018 Top Gardening Trends

Understanding trends in gardening can be a great way to get new and creative ideas for your gardening activities. These trends highlight new gardening challenges and important issues and the trends also highlight innovations that can improve the quality of our garden and improve ourselves as gardeners.

Gardening for Your Health

Pile of Stones
Zen Garden

Gardening can reduce stress and increase mental clarity while also helping to prevent everything from coronary disease to colon cancer.Julia Darnton, Michigan State University Extension

Gardens, even if they are small, can contribute to reducing stress and anxiety. A study in the Netherlands found that gardening can reduce stress more effectively than other leisure activities like reading. Gardening can help us become less reactive and reduce the stress in our lives.

Some psychologists believe that people are becoming increasingly alienated from nature. There’s even a term for it: Nature Deficit Disorder. Outdoor activities, like gardening, are an important contributor to our mental health and a great way to reconnect with nature.

Edible gardens and edible landscapes are also becoming very popular. Many of us are seeking healthier food alternatives and when we grow food in your own garden, we know exactly what we’re eating.

Gardening can also be great exercise. Weeding, planting or mowing can burn as many calories as jogging for half an hour. It can also increase bone density, according to researchers.

From Plants to Ecosystems

Wild Flowers
Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

While it may not be obvious to a casual observer, plants grow better in communities of interrelated species. In nature, the ground is covered with many species of plants that have grown naturally together. This means you take care of your garden by managing the whole community of plants and not on labor-intensive individual plants.

The practice of carefully choosing which plants are planted closely together and which ones are placed far apart is called companion planting. By choosing wisely, companion plants can protect each other from pests and animals, reducing or eliminating the need for chemical solutions. For example, painted daisies can protect nearby plants from insects and dill and basil can protect tomatoes from tomato hornworms.

The interaction of plants can be thought of as a kind of social network. Of course, this network extends beyond just plant interaction to microorganisms in the soil, insects, and animals. The following video is an excellent overview of nature as a complex system of interdependencies.

The Perfection of Imperfection

Japanese Garden

But when does something’s destiny finally come to fruition? Is the plant complete when it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout? When everything turns into compost?Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

Rather than striving for a well-planned and manicured garden, there is a trend towards embracing the imperfect beauty and natural self-development of our gardens. Imperfect gardening is a type of gardening that allows plants to go to seed and tends to attract birds and bees to create an eco-friendly biosystem that gives new meaning to back-to-nature. This trend is closely related to the re-wilding movement that encourages working with nature and the use of natural pesticides.

This trend includes repurposing less-than-perfect materials, like old windows or doors, for garden gates, fences, and other artifacts. It values patina and graceful aging over shiny and new.

Climate Clash

Desert DraughtSince the beginning of this century, the weather has been regularly heating up. There are no traditional climate conditions to count on. There are intense rainstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, severe winters and other weather conditions that challenge our gardens. Almost every region has to deal with unusual weather.

These changing weather patterns are creating trends in plant selection. For example, creating a garden that can withstand extreme weather conditions may start with selecting plants that have flexible stems if you live in an area that frequently experiences high winds. These include evergreen trees, stonecrop, native grasses, and lavender.

For places that are hot and dry, a desert garden with drought and salt-tolerant plants such as euphorbia, poppies, date palms, irises, and fennel is the best option as well as tall plants such as acacia.

For colder climates, one can choose hardy perennial plants that are members of the Dianthus family, such as Sweet William and carnations.

Indoor Gardens

Indoor Garden WallAccording to NASA, indoor plants are beneficial for indoor air purification. They may reduce stress by absorbing toxins in the air. Aloe Vera is one of the best indoor plants for air purification. You can grow a wealth of herbs in a window box such as oregano, thyme, sage, chive, cilantro, and parsley. Window boxes are also useful for spring flowers such as tulips and daffodils.

Hydroponics is becoming popular for indoor gardening. Imagine growing your vegetables inside during the winter. There are several home-oriented grow kits and even indoor greenhouses on the market with more expected in 2018.

Plants can be added to almost any décor inside the house including the bathroom. There you need plants that require low light and high humidity. Orchids, Grape Ivy and Tillandsias are good choices.

Garden Minimalism

Zen Garden
Photo by Pepe Nero on Unsplash

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

For those who do not have much space for a garden, it is definitely worth the effort to create a beautiful small garden where you can sit, relax and unwind. To make the most of a small garden, everything needs to have multiple uses such as a low wall, coffee table, planter, and fire pit all-in-one design element.

A variety of plants can also make a difference in the ambiance of a small garden. Rather than one kind of plant in a small flower bed, you can plant one of several species that naturally grow in communities with colors, textures, and sizes that complement each other.

This video will give you some great small garden ideas.

Water Conservation


More efficient use of water in gardens will be a trend in 2018.

With attractively placed rocks and stones in a rock garden, several plants may be strategically planted to stay healthy without much water. These are yucca, Mexican feather grass, salvia, blue sage and Knockout roses.

Rainscaping is another way to conserve water by retaining stormwater close to where it will be used. This technique can conserve soil and reduce garden watering needs. Plant choices may include Swamp Hibiscus, conifers, certain perennials and ornamental grasses.

Succulents are often overlooked as ornamental plants, but they can be gorgeous with pastel colors, rosettes of leaves or tiny bead-like leaves. They do not require much water or attention to make a well-drained corner of your garden beautiful.


The High Line
The NYC High Line

Traveling specifically to enjoy nature continues to be a growing trend. Popular destinations include arboretums and botanical gardens. However, cities are creating garden escapes that have become major tourist attractions. The High Line in New York City is one example. Similar transformations, called urban greenways, are underway in other cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago.

The Power of Purple


Is purple the new green? According to Pantone, it is. Ultra Violet is their pick for the 2018 color of the year, following their 2017 choice of Greenery.

Great for a small garden, you can go purple with borders and pots of lavender, rosemary, and catmint. Purple ornamental shrubs include thornless blackberry. For flowers, you may look for purple dahlias, lavender, verbena, Bellflower, iris, and clematis.

Purple is a brilliant color for any garden, but there are purple food choices that promote mental strength. If you would like to grow and eat purple food, you may look into purple foods that you can grow at home. There are purple sweet potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Acai berries, beets, eggplant, plums, black raspberries and blueberries all have those healthy purple antioxidants that help fight cancer and protect the heart.