You might already be the proud owner of a vertical garden, an indoor jungle or bee-pleasing plants. But what new, planet-friendly trends are on the horizon in 2019?
It’s natural to make a few well-meaning resolutions when a new year dawns. Exercise more, eat better, be kinder to our loved ones, enjoy the outdoors more. Indeed, the latter goal is one we should all aspire to if we want to maintain good mental and physical health, say the experts. What other outdoor objectives should you be aiming for in 2019? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Grow your own
Our passion for growing our own fruit and vegetables shows no sign of diminishing. Clever plant breeders are continuing to introduce dwarf fruit trees and mini vegetable cultivars to suit smaller gardens, and innovative gardeners are squeezing food crops among ornamental plants or into specially designed pots or planters to help feed the family.
A new trend predicted to be big this year is homemade teas and cocktails made with herbs, flowers and weeds such as dandelions, dock, kawakawa and elderberries. No time for foraging? Then try brews from Forage + Bloom or similar.
With the world in disarray on so many levels and anxiety now becoming a major health issue, mindful millennials are realising that reconnecting with nature (and turning off their devices) can make huge improvements to their mental wellbeing. After all, we humans evolved as part of the natural world so it makes sense to immerse yourself in it when you need to soothe the soul. As well as getting outside to parks, beaches and forests as much as possible, make your home a natural sanctuary, too. Surround it with plants if you have a garden and also make space for more plants inside.
3. Space mission
With the move towards smaller houses set to continue in 2019 (coupled with smaller building plots), garden sizes will also keep shrinking. But the good news is that products to suit smaller, more urban gardens are on the increase. Vertical gardens will continue to be popular while fabulous new tabletop planters, terrariums, contemporary hanging pots and stunning planter designs will take the mini-garden trend to exciting new levels.
4. Auto pilot
Gardening chores are not everyone’s cup of tea so if you’re more into winding down than weed-eating why not bring a little automation into your outdoor spaces during 2019? Sit back and watch the robot lawnmower keep lawns in shape then give them a sprinkle with an automatic irrigation system, all controlled by your mobile phone. Scientists are even working on robotic bees to make up for the shortfall in the real critters who normally do all the pollinating.
You could even think about replacing the lawn altogether and laying artificial turf. No longer just a commercial solution, contemporary man-made grass looks like the real stuff with none of the work.
5. Start an insect-hotel empire
While eco-aware gardeners have been planting for bees for some time now, recent revelations on the dire plight of many other flying insects have made the cause more urgent. Keep planting nectar- and pollen-producing flowers in 2019 but also consider adding insect-friendly native plants and trees to your garden. Think about creating insect-friendly habitats such as ponds, insect hotels and compost heaps, too. Above all, reduce (or stop, ideally) your use of pesticides.
6. In house
Urban jungles are big in the house-plant department right now and we reckon this look will continue through 2019 and beyond. The emphasis is on lush-leaved foliage plants such as Ctenanthe, Monstera, Philodendron, peace lilies (Spathiphyllum), devil’s ivy, ferns and palms, with splashes of colour from orchids, Streptocarpus or Kalanchoe. Stuck for inspiration? Check out @thepottedjungle and @thejungalow on Instagram.
7. Green up
There’s no doubt that interest in eco-friendly gardening products is on an upward trajectory that’s sure to continue. Ditch the plastic and buy recyclable pots or make your own from newspaper, old tins or teapots, even plastic bottles. Look out for glyphosate-free weedkillers too, and use solar power for outdoor water pumps and lighting.
8. Just add colour
Given the move to smaller houses and sections, outdoor space will be seen as an extension to interior rooms more than ever in 2019. One of the effects of this will be the use of bolder colours and patterns for furniture, fences and other structural elements to allow indoor decor themes to be continued outside. Forget the natural tones and neutral shades of the past – some designers predict we’ll be opting for pink, citrus yellow and bright blue for our garden accessories and structures this year.
9. Go mobile
It has been forecast that more and more Kiwis will be living in rented accommodation in the next few years, so how will these people garden? In pots, of course – inside and out. Many plants will grow happily in containers outdoors provided they are looked after properly, and there are plenty of lightweight options on the market that are easily transportable. You can buy caddies to move heavy pots or, if you’re DIY-inclined, wheels can be fixed to timber planters. For those who lack green fingers, many garden centres and nurseries now supply pre-planted mini gardens in pots which you can take with you when you move.
10. Embrace imperfection
A popular design trend in recent years has been wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of welcoming imperfection, and now garden owners are taking this idea outdoors. Forget the manicured perfection that leaves you exhausted after a day with the clippers and rake; in 2019, savvy gardeners will be embracing a more relaxed look where flowers self-seed in gravel paths, hedges are soft and woolly rather than rigidly clipped, and beds are filled with a colourful mix of flowers to encourage diverse pollinators (and hide the weeds).
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: One Shot, Luisa Brimble, Anna Batchelor, James Henry/Bauer Syndication.