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Top garden design trends for 2020 from the SGD

The New Year ushers in new designs styles and ideas for gardens. Here, some of the Society of Garden Designers leading designers share their predictions for the newest trends in garden design for 2020 and some of the most exciting design ideas gaining momentum.


Belgian Design

Belgian design style, often described as luxurious simplicity is expected to come to the fore in 2020.

Credit – designed by Mia Witham 

Credit – designed by James Smith MSGD, Bowles & Wyer 

Less is More

James Smith MSGD, Design Director at Bowles & Wyer, thinks the philosophy of ‘Less is More’ will become more prominent, saying: “I really want to focus on creating more paired back design schemes, but with high attention to detail and finishing.”

Edible forests & romantic veg plots

With more people using foraged food for cooking Mia Witham thinks that edible forests could become the new vegetable garden.

Credit – designed by Libby Russell MSGD, Mazzullo + Russell 

Credit – by Mark Laurence MSGD 

Re-purpose & recycle

Tracy McQue thinks there will more of a spotlight on repurposing of existing materials and recycling garden materials where possible. Mark Laurence MSGD whose consultancy creates adaptive landscape for a changing world, echoes this saying: “repurposed items give a garden an individual look” like this heating coil repurposed into a water feature.

Planting for wildlife

Creating sustainable, wildlife-friendly and beautiful spaces needs to be at the forefront of everything we do no matter what size or location of the gardens we are designing says Tracy McQue. She believes that the materials and plants we include, where we source them from and how we re-use elements already in the garden are becoming more vital considerations.

Credit – Gardens by Tracy McQue

Credit – Garden by Jane Brockbank 

The patterned garden

Pattern and texture will be creeping back into our gardens in 2020. “Cold minimalism is beginning to look pretty tired now” says Jane Brockbank . Jane brings pattern and texture into her designs by creating faceted planting zones and by blurring the line between the hard landscaped and soft planting areas in the garden, using gravel planting to create the transition between the two.

Curvilinear forms

After almost a decade of symmetrically ordered urban gardens, Mark Laurence thinks we’ll see ‘a turning away from the linear, contemporary town garden to something wilder and more curvilinear

Credit – Garden by Mark Laurence 

Render revival

“Look out for Monocouche renders in 2020.” says Mark Laurence. These renders are a new application in garden design, having been used predominantly by the housebuilding industry. Mark says: “Monocouche renders are low maintenance, weather resistant and hard wearing plus they have great texture. Unlike paint, the mineral pigments are absorbed into the render and keep the surface breathable. I think the red or yellow ochres tones work very well in a garden setting.”

Ways with wood

“It’s not a new material but I think there will be a focus back on using timber next year.” says Tracy McQue. “In the past it has been viewed as a material to use at ground level or for basic fences, but there are many elements in the garden that clever design can incorporate timber into. We use a local Scottish wood supplier when we can and I love the possibilities it gives us when we’re creating a new garden.” Mandy Buckland of Greencube agrees, adding: ”There appears to be a continuing rise in popularity of charred timber for decking and the use of Shou Sugi Ban – the ancient Japanese wood burning technique.

Credit – Garden by Tracy McQue MSGD and Mandy Buckland MSGD, Greencube

Outdoor play

“Young families want to encourage their children to get outdoors, prizing them away from laptops, tablets and TV’s” say Mandy Buckland of Greencube. “We have been asked to integrate outdoor play in many of our gardens in recent months and have been incorporating blackboards, sand pits, hammocks, balance beams, climbing frames and even mini wildlife ponds. We design them so that they are integral to the garden layout, repeating the material and use or colour.”


“Sustainable design will of course continue to gain traction and as designers we will become more accountable for the materials we specify and the decisions we take on projects”, says James Smith of Bowles & Wyer. He says he will be pairing highly engineered materials with rough and textured finishes for a lovely contrast for projects in 2020. While, according to Libby Russell of Mazzullo + Russell, we will be seeingless cut stone in our gardens and more cobbles, pitchers and rough cuts appearing on the market’, particularly with British suppliers.

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