Top Garden Trends for 2013

Looking to freshen up your garden with some trendy ideas? We've got all of this year's hottest products and styles

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Container gardening is all the rage in 2013

With gardening season in full swing, don’t miss out on these hot 2013 trends

Edible container gardens

People are demanding greater taste and nutrition from their food and are now growing it themselves to guarantee that it is truly organic and as fresh as possible.

“The gardening industry is evolving from gardening to container enjoyment,” says Brian Minter, B.C. horticulturist, author and entrepreneur.

“Expect to see new flavours, colours, textures and styles to engage new gardeners. Some of the products we can expect to see this year include Simply Salad gourmet lettuce blends, Brazzleberry thornless raspberries and container blueberry combinations that produce throughout the summer.”

Container Gardening Creates a Living Atmosphere

“People want a surround of health and wellness, a surround of well-being and a surround of food,” says Minter.

Senga Lindsay, landscape architect and author of Edible Landscaping, agrees.

“Edible gardens need to be esthetic as well as functional,” says Lindsay. “Containers need to look and taste incredible and provide enjoyment for multiple senses.”

She recommends combining different herbs and vegetables like cascading cherry tomatoes clustered around a central kale plant with basil or rosemary to add scent. She also suggests looking out for the new heirloom vegetable varieties such as Brandywine, Purple Russian or Green Zebra tomatoes featuring unusual colours or flavours.

Resort Style

Resort living increasingly inspires gardens and outdoor spaces.

“People want to maintain a connection with places that they have been and recreate that relaxing environment in their own gardens,” says landscape architect and garden designer Ron Rule. “This can include incorporating fire elements with outdoor hearths, fire pits and fire bowls, as well as selecting plants such as bamboo or palm, banana and Catalpa trees.”

Although outdoor living spaces are often for entertaining, landscape designer Ruth Olde is now seeing a trend toward creating Zen spaces for yoga and meditation. These spaces can include a covered deck, patio or lawn.

“Location is key when creating an outdoor space, especially a Zen space,” says Olde. “The location of the sun during the day and at different times of the year needs to be considered.”

Olde adds that covering and heating outdoor spaces with infrared lights and electric heaters can make outdoor garden spaces more liveable year-round and can help to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces.

Front Yard Gardens

As people maximize their use of space, front yards are now being fully integrated into the total garden design. The addition of features designed to create tranquility and add privacy will enhance the enjoyment of the space and can also increase curb appeal and return on investment.

Front Yard Garden
Want more garden space? Look no further than your own front yard (Image:
Getty Images / Yellow Dog Productions)

The key element of front yard renewal is creating a sense of privacy or separation from the street with hedging, shrubs and trees as well as trellises and screens.

Water features can be used to block the sound of traffic and neighbours and to create a sense of peace. These can include fountains and gurglers or even still ponds that add a visual element of calm.

“Water features can be so simple,” says Olde. “They can be as big or small as you choose.”

Although boulevard planting is controversial in some municipalities, others embrace and encourage it for esthetic appeal as well as food production.

Make sure you check with your city bylaws or municipal guidelines before you replace the grass on your boulevard with ornamental plants and vegetables.

Unusual and Recycled Materials

When it comes to gardening, Lindsay sees a growing demand for recycled materials in all aspects of garden design. Many of her clients have asked her to incorporate recycled materials in their gardens including recycled concrete and brick and recycled deck material.

Lindsay’s must-have for 2013 is a big, colourful Adirondack chair made out of recycled materials.

Rule has also noticed an increased demand for unexpected materials. He loves the crisp, modern look of Corten steel, which has a deep rust colour and a rustic texture that complements most plantings. He has used this material to edge garden beds and lawn areas and recently designed a striking set of Corten steel vegetable planters.

Pallet gardens for Small Spaces

Many businesses and restaurants already incorporate vertical gardens and green walls. To bring this trend home, Wim Vander Zalm, garden expert and president of Art Knapp Plantland, suggests creating a pallet garden. This can hang or lean against a south-facing fence or wall.

“It’s amazing how much you can grow in a small space,” says Vander Zalm, who describes how he created his own pallet garden in his upcoming book 100 Biggest Gardening Questions.

Living Wall

Vertical gardens, like this metal modular system, placed against a south-facing fence or wall are a great way to grow plants in small spaces (Image: Dennis Green)

Start by sealing the bottom edge of a vertical pallet so that the soil won’t fall through. After wrapping the pallet in landscape fabric, turn it upright and fill it with dirt. Then, plant from the bottom up, adding more landscape fabric and dirt as you go.

Plants that work well in a pallet garden include herbs like parsley, rosemary, oregano, sage and basil, as well as vegetables and fruits such as strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, kale and cucumbers.

Plant vine-producing plants near the outside edges of the pallet. Extend the growing space even more and attach string to a fence for the plants to follow. Untreated wood pallets can sometimes be obtained by asking nicely at your neighbourhood nursery or grocery store.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.