Trends in garden architecture for 2016
I see the increasing interest in garden architecture as this year’s main trend. We are involved in the design of the external environment of our dwellings in much the same way as we took care of our living rooms several years ago. Our living rooms have already been rearranged several times.
We are aware of the fact that this does not only include the planting of the areas around our houses, but that this truly involves a highly significant extension and improvement of the life in a family house. Now, it is time for the garden. For the garden as a place to live and relax!
We have gradually matured during our activities in our own gardens in recent years.
We have gradually matured during our activities in our own gardens in recent years. I am sure that this year will bring trends which will be generally positive for the environment, but also that it will not take us, the lovers of our own gardens, down blind alleys, but will bring us closer to natural pleasurable life in gardens. The garden is here for us, so let’s make use of it.
01/ THE CONTRAST OF COLOURS
The colour of garden structures and buildings versus greenery – dark colours, especially black, are the trend. The re-painting of gazebos, garden sheds, benches and structures is certainly one of the ways of painlessly giving a finished garden new flair and of ensuring that it is chic. This year, you can bet on black.
Do not fear using black. The contrast black / green gives a fresh flair.
Nice contrast between text and colour.
02/ DELICACY AND A FEELING FOR THE COLOUR SHADING OF FLOWER BEDS
Flower beds are beginning to be treated with greater sensitivity. Combinations of plants which remain impressive all year round are coming to the fore. It is no longer fun to plant the garden centre’s entire range in flower beds. The garden is best served by simplicity with flowers arranged in various shades of a single colour. I like shades of blue and purple in combination with a white background.
Natural elegance in soft, humble tones of green.
Tastefully selected textile accessories underline the intention to bring unity into the garden.
03/ THE EDIBLE GARDEN
Owners like to use the subsistence potential of their gardens without having to work all the hours God sends. Eating fruit and vegetables from your own garden is healthy, ecological and IN! You can carelessly pluck an apple on your way to work or nibble on a ripe strawberry over a glass of Prosecco during a weekend barbecue!
In such to the sun exposed plant beds, the soil warms up faster too.
04/ RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
This especially involves treatment of the soil and rain water, compost, energy and last, but not least the retreat from the use of horticultural chemicals in the garden. Small scale beekeeping and associated activities are on the rise, as is respect for the animal inhabitants in our gardens.
Recycling rainwater in the garden, doesn’t need to be with the use of an ugly plastic tank.
05/ A MODERN ECO-GARDEN WITH A SIMPLE DESIGN
An eco-garden is not a synonym for disorder or an impenetrable jungle. It can be a very organised, clean, beautiful and well-designed garden in which we can honour the elementary principles of sustainability and sensitivity towards the environment and which at the same time does not offend our aesthetic feelings.
06/ WORKING WITH LOCAL MATERIALS AND ORIGINAL PLANTS
Investors are aware that there is no skill and that it is not sophisticated to truck in tons of sand from India to your garden; no anonymous containers from halfway across the planet. We prefer local material with a story and an identity. Exotic plants require large amounts of care, if they survive at all, and they often do not fruit or, if they do, then only slightly. Cultivating local, albeit less exotic, species is “in” and they return the trust we place in them with their reliability and undemanding nature.
Why to ship exotic woods from faraway countries, when we have oaks, acacias, larches…
07/ RECYCLING MATERIALS
Everybody knows how to purchase things for lots of money, but have you ever tried to look at your garden or at the courtyard of your cottage? You may be surprised at what interesting options present themselves. Do you like old bricks from broken walls recycled into beautiful paving with a story on a terrace? Or do you prefer old solid wood beams which have been given a second chance as a tasteful set of steps which comfortably divide two parts of your garden at different height levels?“
A well thought-out concept of prescribed herb and woody communities hand in hand with clever aids. Gardeners all over the world now swap highly developed concepts of functional combinations of herby and woody communities. These mixes succeed under various conditions, they are able to grow together nicely and they do not let in weeds or any other undesirable plants.
Robotic lawn mowers are excellent. I also recommend a new product for watering gardens: sophisticated automated irrigation systems which are also able to irrigate more complicated shapes in the garden with the use of a significantly smaller number of sprinklers and associated materials. These are so-called smart sprinklers, i.e. sprinklers which are able adapt their spraying area to the programmed ground plan, but also to the direction and intensity of the wind.
A questionable example of a garden, which needs the regular input of pesticides.
09/ LESS LAWN
Lawns are being replaced with dense perennial and wood plantings. A lawn is one of the most demanding things which we can put in a garden. We have to constantly mow, fertilise and aerate it. On the other hand, dense perennial and wood plantings are beautiful all year round, always different and they only need to be cut twice a year.
We are being kept very busy by lawns, they need us. But do we actually need them?
10/ CULTIVATED HEDGES
A hedge is the best thing to shield us from our neighbours, it excellently intercepts dust and noise and it does require a building permit or even the neighbour’s consent. Moreover, it is now possible to acquire cultivated hedges in blocks of varying sizes. Don’t wait five or ten years until your trees grow and intertwine. It is possible to acquire finished hedges in blocks which have been modified in the required shape. The used shrubs are already nicely interwoven, dense and healthy. Forget thuja; try privet, European hornbeam, box trees or beeches. They are not expensive and they suit a garden much more.
A big topic in contemporary garden architecture! Light is no longer merely a matter of orientation or safety. It is here to entertain us, to decorate a garden and to brighten it in the period when the vegetation in the garden is dormant. Most of us only make it into the garden at dusk or after dark during work days. Then we realise that the garden’s night scene can be of fundamental importance to us and we can truly enjoy the garden thanks to its lighting.
12/ ART IN THE GARDEN
A garden deserves a piece of art as it is essentially an ideal gallery awaiting the placement of whatever you, its user, consider to be beautiful. And this may be a hundred-year-old hay wagon or a piece actually realised by a better or lesser known sculptor. You do not have to acquire a huge sculpture; your garden may be finished off by a small practical item, such as a well-chosen planter, a bird bath, a bench or a lantern.
13/ DESIGN FURNITURE
Day-beds are popular, for example. This is an elevated podium which is well hidden in the garden’s greenery which is equipped with arbitrarily thrown cushions and is simply used for relaxation, lounging and secret garden hang outs.
For shorter or longer resting in the green of our garden. Daybed is increasing demand by our clients’ gardens.
14/ BIOTOPE LAKES IN A MODERN DESIGN
Biologically healthy, sweet smelling water is realised in the garden in modern, simple and geometric shapes. Such a biotope then comes across much more naturally and authentically in a smaller urban garden. “Kidney” shaped lakes belong in wide-ranging landscapes rather than between four fences.
A natural water nearby the house suits more to modern shapes. Natural shaped ponds and pools belong to the wide and open landscape, not small, fenced gardens.
15/ FLAT TERRACES AND BALCONIES
We do not only design barbecues, saunas and hot tubs for terraces and balconies nowadays. A terrace is a complete, small-scale garden for which we can design diverse children’s playgrounds, libraries, herb/vegetable gardens, outdoor cinemas or, for example, outdoor gyms. Large volume containers with trees and adult shrubs in combination with other suitable elements are able to very capably create the illusion of an actual garden and moreover they provide highly pleasant shade in summer.
A joke with the use of old board terraces, making the space pleasantly refreshing.
Ferdinand Leffler is a garden architect and designer and the founder of the Flera studio. He selects careful, reliable and creative architects for his team. He will help you to come up with a garden which is made to measure to meet your requirements and needs and so that you feel good in it: “We are advocates of the fact that the architecture of a property should express a story which has a beginning, gradation and a point… The garden should arise from the consistent interconnection of all the elements, functions and motifs which the client’s requirements bring to it and it should have a single author.