It’s no big secret that we love our gardens here in the UK,, whether firing up the barbecue, hosting a garden party, or simply just relaxing in the sun, for many a garden is a private piece of paradise – or it is when the British weather is kind. Appreciation for these garden paradises hit an all-time high during the pandemic, thanks to the lockdowns that saw households confined to their own homes, giving gardens a real time to shine! Delving deeper into Brits’ love of all things garden, we’ve reviewed Google Search trends along with TikTok and Instagram hashtag data to determine the most popular garden trends for 2023. From different styles of gardens, to trending furniture and accessories, and even the most desirable flowers, we’ve left no stone unturned or weed untouched. For tips on how to become a green-fingered god or goddess, expert garden designer Fran Lawson reveals her best bits of advice on how to achieve your own patch of paradise and bring these trends to life in your own garden.
Thanks to the good old British weather, many UK gardens go mainly unused throughout wintertime (December-February), however, annual Google Search trends shows that optimistic Brits have gardening on the mind year-round and never stop searching for garden items, even during the colder months.
Spring sees a 163% increase in searches compared to winter, before declining in summer and autumn. For those looking to beat the springtime rush, everything we’ve uncovered leads us to believe the earlier in the year you get planning, the better.
Unsurprisingly, the spring season is the time when Brits are most actively searching for garden items, with over 90 million searches during March, April and May.
Of the springtime months, April is the most popular for garden planning, seeing the highest number of garden related searches, with 35 million on average. This is followed by May with just under 34 million, and June with 28 million.
Research reveals that the most popular garden style or theme for 2023 is the ‘Cottage Garden’, followed by the ‘Zen Garden’, and finally the ‘Modern Garden’.
Each of these styles are so unique from each other, so we’ve enlisted expert garden designer Fran Lawson at Lotus Design to provide top tips and tricks to help achieve the look.
The 'Cottage Garden’ is the definitive traditional English garden with a riot of different colours, shapes, and sizes of flowers, plants, and shrubbery. This is a garden for a passionate horticulturist, amateur or not, and requires a lot of care and attention to make sure it’s nurtured correctly so the abundance of greenery can thrive.
This garden style combines everything; bulbs, perennials, shrubs, climbers, and trees so that it is full of blooming flowers throughout the year, attracting plenty of wildlife in the process.
As for furniture, since the garden is heavily influenced by period and traditional English cottages, wooden chairs and dining sets with soft floral furnishings and cushions blend in seamlessly and continue the theme. Also, garden features such as bird baths and wooden arches are a staple choice to add character and height to a garden’s design.
The ‘Zen Garden’ is an oasis for the minimalists amongst us, traditionally stemming from Japanese culture. With few elements such as rocks, gravel and sand, this style focuses on simplicity, naturalness, and asymmetry and is perfect for those low-maintenance gardeners. For this style, you want to focus on smaller shrubs and trees to add pops of colour. Japanese acers and low growing conifers are the perfect choice for this.
For Zen themed garden furniture, rattan is the ideal material to compliment this garden, with bistro sets or simply a feature chair, such as an egg or hanging style continuing the aesthetic. Other features include small lanterns and a fire pit to evoke soft lighting and highlight the natural features.
The ‘English Modern Garden’ is often an extension of our living space, merging the space to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out, often with clean geometric lines and topiaries or symmetrical planting. This garden is an environment for entertaining and living life and will often feature large patio or decking areas with bespoke seating areas.
This garden style is all about the wow factor, and so brightly-coloured flowers and shrubs are a great way to highlight different areas and create multiple focal points. Well-maintained lawns also play a key role in helping to give this garden space a clean look.
Furniture wise, it’s all about entertaining, so large corner sofa sets are a staple in this garden, combined with sun loungers and even fire pits. The best finishes to keep the modern aesthetic consistent would be a minimal wood finish or metal, with the premise here being straight lines and monochromatic colour palettes.
Sun basking is high on the agenda this year, with 85% of Brits planning to use their gardens as a haven of relaxation this summer. With that in mind it makes sense that the sun lounger is set to be the most popular furniture item of the year, clocking up over a million Google searches throughout 2022 and 2.7 million views on TikTok.
The study shows that two in five (43%) Brits are planning on using their garden to host parties and social gatherings, with over half (56%) planning to bring out the grill for a barbecue. In line with this, outdoor dining sets saw over 280,000 Google searches and 58,000 TikTok views during 2022 with this trend of alfresco dining expected to continue into summer 2023.
A further 44% of Brits are planning to use their garden for reading, while 15% will be cultivating an alfresco workspace, serving as a study or home working office. Searches for garden benches and sofas, to accommodate these activities, topped 739,000 and 487,000 respectively, while these furniture items amassed 9.7 million and 6.9 million respective TikTok views.
Other notable furniture items include garden swing seats (110,000 annual searches), day beds (91,000 annual searches), and hammocks (66,000 annual searches) being searched for by the masses throughout 2022 clearly indicating comfy relaxation is top of the agenda.
As for the most popular flowers, roses, the epitome of an English garden, rank highest across social media and Google search data, with over 31 million Instagram hashtags, 3.9 million TikTok views, and over 1.5 million annual searches.
In second place is the lupin flower, with 598,000 Google searches and 2 million TikTok views. These flowers are most-loved by bumblebees for their colourful spiked flowers, and typically bloom during the summertime. Perfect additions for those wanting to populate their garden and create a haven for the bees.
In third place, comes the iris flower with 595,00 searches, 2.1 million TikTok views and 200,000 Instagram hashtags. These hardy flowers are easy to grow during the autumn and spring months thanks to their ability to survive in total shade – ideal for UK gardens.
The magnolia flower comes in fourth place, with an impressive 412 million views across TikTok. These plants range in size from small shrubs to large trees, and blossom large opulent flowers of white and pink during the summertime.
And rounding out the top five most popular flowers and plants is the acer tree, with 370,00 searches, 388,000 TikTok views, and over a million Instagram hashtags. Otherwise known as Japanese maple trees, these plants range from smaller shrub-like trees to larger sprawling trees, each consisting of vibrant colours.
As well as looking into the top garden trends for 2023, we also asked homeowners what they would most like to change about their current garden.
Brits’ most popular garden request is a brand-new layout/design, effectively overhauling the entire outdoor aesthetic of their homes, with two in five (41%) prioritising this over adding features. This is followed by one in five (21%) wanting to add an outbuilding to their garden such as a shed or greenhouse.
A further 14% of Brits are looking to spruce up their garden with some decking, while 13% are keen on laying a stone patio, both of which are strong indicators of the popularity of alfresco living and dining.
When it comes to comfort, over half of Brits (59%) are looking to invest in new garden furniture, with 36% looking to upgrade their patio furniture and 23% opting to invest in new outdoor dining furniture, to elevate their space.
Other notable additions that Brits want to make include a fire pit (26%) made popular by television hit Love Island, a hot tub (21%) to unwind from day-to-day life, and a further 6% wanting to install a wildlife haven of a garden pond.
So, there you have it, the top garden trends and features for 2023. Has our Garden Trends Report given you the motivation to overhaul your garden in preparation for the British summer? Or even just inspire you to action some maintenance and much needed TLC? Why not check out Next’s wide range of outdoor garden furniture and accessories?
Everything you could possibly need from outdoor dining sets to chairs and sun loungers and even garden accessories. All of 2023’s top trending items are available in a wide range of styles and colours over on the Next Garden Hub.
Next reviewed Google search data from 2019 - 2023 using Google Keyword planner. This data, along with gathered TikTok and Instagram hashtag analysis, was combined to determine the most popular garden trends for 2023.
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