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Use These Top Design Trends to Inspire Your 2023 Garden

Use These Top Design Trends to Inspire Your 2023 Garden

By Monrovia Nursery Company
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia Nursery Company

As we move toward the 2023 gardening season, gardens are becoming more personal. Emerging design trends focus on creating unique spaces that play to more than our sense of beauty. They provide a calming retreat, a feeling of luxury or a connection to nature.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, renewed interest in gardening was more about freshening up the areas where we were spending more time and making outdoor spaces more comfortable,” says Katie Tamony, chief marketing officer and trend spotter at Monrovia. “Now homeowners are maximizing and personalizing their outdoor space. This personalization can take on specific design attributes, but in a lot of instances, it’s more than that. Our research is telling us that gardening offers a unique connection. It could be a connection to the environment – interest in pollinators like bees and birds. For some it is creating a functional and beautiful space that allows them to connect to family and friends. For others it’s about developing a calming sanctuary to relax and unwind.”

Here is a look at the top six design trends for 2023 and a few tips to create your own personalized space.

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Garden of Abundance. Design by Christian Douglas. Photo by Adam Potts.

  1. Garden of Abundance

The Garden of Abundance trend celebrates the ornamental beauty and lushness of the edible and productive garden. It’s not about raised beds, but rather integrating edible plants as discoveries. Weaving fruiting vines, berry shrubs, and small trees throughout a landscape of perennials and grasses, this garden also relies on pollinator plants to attract birds, butterflies, and bees, and herbs to create a healthier, connected landscape.

How to create it:

  • Place fruit trees and vines as the important anchors in your landscape.
  • Draw visitors through the garden with informal, curving pathways.
  • Arrange diverse pollinator plants with different bloom seasons throughout your garden to attract activity in multiple places.
  • Consider herbs as lovely groundcovers and borders near pathways.
  • Use ornamental grasses to soften the look and act as visual transition between bright blooms.

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Architectural Simplicity. Design by Tichenor & Thorp Architects. Photo by Roger Davies.

  1. Architectural Simplicity

The garden design style called Architectural Simplicity is elegant and timeless. It evokes a romantic ideal of British gardens framed by clipped boxwood hedges, or an Italian summer afternoon in a courtyard lined by cypress or juniper. The key rules at play here are symmetry and repetition, which makes this style easier than others to adopt and execute in a rectangular or square space. You don’t need a lot of space to create a grand feeling, but you will want to keep clippers handy to maintain a tidy look.

How to create it:

  • Use symmetry and geometry in your planting plan.
  • Choose one or two evergreens as your main element, and repeat in rows.
  • Add punctuation or statement plants, such as a topiary form in a globe, spiral or pyramid, around seating areas or entries.
  • Choose flowering shrubs, if using, with blooms in white or cooler hues.
  • Soften the formality a touch with grasses.
  • Choose darker and cooler shades of foliage to contrast with the evergreens.

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Upscale Relaxation. Design by ASR Studios. Photo by Scott Frances.

  1. Upscale Relaxation

To turn your backyard into an instant escape, think paradise: soft breezes, soothing greens, and pops of tropical color. This garden style trend is called Upscale Relaxation, and it’s about splurging on plants and furnishings that create the soothing atmosphere of an upscale spa or a boutique hotel. Choose broad-leafed plants, hardy ferns, and other warm greenery to create a junglelike setting, then add bright tropical color as an accent. Finish with a cozy firepit, soft lounge seating, and patio heaters to enjoy more time outdoors on chilly nights.

How to create it:

  • Select leafy shrubs, tall grasses and trees that catch the breeze with gentle movement.
  • Plant trees and taller hedges to conceal walls.
  • Use plantings to frame a seating area.
  • Choose low-growing mounding grasses and perennials to soften the scene.
  • Add tropical color or indoor plants in containers for easy updates.

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New Victorian. Design by Robert Orr + Associates. Photo by Peter Aaron.

  1. New Victorian

The New Victorian maximizes and celebrates cottage style, but in a more luxurious way. Inspired by the “maximalism” in fashion and home, this design style celebrates nostalgic plants such as hydrangea, hollyhock, roses, lilacs, and other over-the-top bloomers. The look is less chaotic than traditional cottage style, however, and has a bit more polish. Color palette is primarily pinks, purples and blues, accented by white. Think gravel or brick pathways, white fences, and birdbaths. For evergreens and foliage, choose pretty and delicate leafed plants, and don’t forget climbing vines and roses and espaliers.

How to create it:

  • Add a seating bench painted white.
  • Choose a few shrubs as big-blooming anchors of color: hydrangeas, roses, and lilac.
  • Add accents in white or blue flowering perennials and climbing roses.
  • Don’t forget scent!

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Scandinavian Minimalism. Design by Sacha McCrae of Living Gardens Landscape Design. Photo by Brett Hilton.

  1. Scandinavian Minimalism

We’ve been watching the hygge trend for a while now—that cozy feeling at home that the Danes have mastered. It’s time to take it outside, keeping your garden feeling calm and nurturing, with just the right amount of wild. Elements of this style can really vary, but most utilize a few common elements: a reverence for natural materials such as stone and wood, the mix of black and white for contrast, and a focus on conifers and dreamy flowering plants for texture and lightness.

How to create it:

  • Place boulders and stones artfully and naturally in the landscape.
  • Plant groundcover conifers to spill out and around the stonework or over walls.
  • Add upright conifers as anchor points.
  • Use dreamy flowering plants with blooms at the ends of stems.
  • Choose gray or silver foliage to contrast with black or white planters.

 

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Waterwise. Design and photo by Tish Treherne of Bliss Garden Design.

  1. Waterwise

This isn’t just a trend for 2023. It’s a move to be more climate appropriate as our world changes. For gardeners living in the West especially, the need to choose plants with low water requirements in the future is a must. But there’s no reason to sacrifice color, texture, or variety—breeders are working at introducing brilliant color in unexpected varieties, and plant hunters and tastemakers are bringing back finds from South Africa, Israel, and Australia that will work quite beautifully in our regions.

How to create it:

  • Minimize the lawn, or consider low-growing grass alternatives.
  • Add succulents as sculpture.
  • Choose drought tolerant shrubs and trees that fit your design style.
  • Look for perennials that add color as well as food for pollinators.

Want more expert design advice and inspiration? Sign up for the Monrovia Grow Beautifully newsletter to get first access to exclusive digital design guides, webinar invites, and helpful stories like these delivered straight to your inbox.


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