The El Nino drought has played a significant role in the blazing of gardening trends in 2017 and it’s not just being felt in South Africa, it’s global! It seems climate change is having a positive effect on gardens by changing the way people plant.
“Dubbed the slowest of the performing arts, gardening can seem trend proof.” – Pam Penick
Life Green Group has researched current worldwide landscaping trends and here is what you can expect to see in the South African garden in 2017 –
1) Hyperlocalism and endemic plants
In the context of garden trends exotic plants are becoming as insignificant as the “G” in garden “gnome”. Send orchids back to China; cactuses back to Mexico; Jacarandas back to South America; Roses back to the UK and the Gerbera daisy back to Barberton! Local is lekker!
The election of Donald Trump and America becoming increasingly inward looking not to mention the El Nino drought, has caused landscapers to start focusing on endemic plants. And despite Trump not believing in climate change, the endemic gardening trend naturally has a very low carbon footprint. Not only are endemic plants more suited to their native environment and therefore look better in times of drought, they also have lower maintenance costs.
2) Bringing nature indoors with potted jungles
Indoor plants are sexy and the more interior pot plants you can squeeze into the room in 2017, the sexier! People are spending increasingly more time indoors, whether in an office or apartment. Studies show through the hapitic hypothesis that people need to touch greenery to stay happy, stress-free and connected with nature. With businesses embracing the Google-way of caring for employee’s well-being, indoor plants are a commonly occurring feature in offices.
3) Reduction of lawn
Garden lawns are receding faster than the ice-sheets in the North Pole because lawns have tedious maintenance costs. Corporates and homes are looking to get rid of costly lawns replacing them with synthetic turf or reducing the size of lawn and replacing grass with prairie gardens. Life Landscapes has been tracking this trend since 2016 but it is continuing into 2017 as landscapers are looking for cost effective sustainable gardening solutions. A prairie garden in South Africa is known as a veld garden. Gauteng is known among botanist for its grasses making it the prime place to do an endemic veld garden peppered with flowering veld plants.
4) Utilising outdoor space effectively
One of the more practical and health conscious fashions going into 2017 is utilising outdoor space effectively and not just making a garden a place to pick out weeds. Sports facilities like tennis courts, jungle gyms have often formed part of the garden. Now you can add bomas, outdoor gyms, soccer arenas and cricket pitches to that list as people continue to embrace physical activities (braaiing counts!).
Xeriscaping is a direct consequence of the 2015/2016 El Nino drought. You can call it what you want: xeriscaping, water-wise gardening or drought tolerant landscapes but xeriscaping is a hot new word being thrown around by environmentally-friendly landscapers. The fact is, water-wise gardens look better in times of drought, while iceberg roses melt and whither the minute you turn off the hosepipe.
This is a trend Life Landscapes, the gardening division of Life Green Group, is strongly pushing clients towards because of the current water restrictions South Africa is experiencing.
6) Paving and grass planter blocks
With all these water restrictions and droughts and flash floods in South Africa urban water runoff is an issue and we need to get as much water into the ground as quickly as possible.
Proper paving techniques are vital! Why have a concrete parking lot if you can have a grass one that is green? For those that have gravel paving there is new Dutch technology from BERA, on the market, that not only keeps the gravel in place, but prevents it from washing way and keeps it neat 'n tidy.
7) Greenwalls and Green roofs
This is not such a new garden trend overseas but in South Africa it is taking off. As space becomes an issue, especially in cities like Cape Town, vertical gardening is reaching new heights. Offices are installing greenwalls both interior and exterior, as a form of oxygen-giving decoration and peace-lilied-insulation.
Green roofs are also a reaction to space shortages and employee management. It’s a very decorative trend turning the balconies of sky rises and roof tops into an oasis and reducing radiation.
8) Fishponds and water features
The Trevi fountain has been attracting people to Rome for centuries and statistically businesses or public spaces with water are known to out trump their competitors. Fishponds and water features are hot trends for gardens in 2017. Honestly, nothing beats the calming sound of water in this bustling day and age.
9) Mix 'n match and potager gardens
Because minimalism is out, trends are dictating that you can mix old with new by garden styles putting a modern garden furniture juxtaposed to an old fashioned traditional cottage garden. Landscapers are also mixing food gardens with other plants known as potager gardens.
10) Natural materials
How did everything get oh-so-natural?! 2017 landscaping trend sees gardens moving away from minimalism and concrete as the recession ends in a more organic direction of sticks and stones - wooden benches, stone paths, wooden swings and stone walls. To add to this movement, people are enjoying the DIY-look doesn’t mean they literally did it themselves but they are buying the look.
11) Dye gardens
2016 was the year gardeners wanted to be subsistence farmers – investing in fruit trees, veggie gardens, chicken coops, compost heaps and beehives. This practical DIY landscaping trend continues into 2017 only it’s getting more extreme with corporations and households looking to plant dye gardens… Yes, start planting that beetroot so you can dye your own cloths or corporate uniform. Some South African plants that can be utilised in a dye garden are:
• Indigofera Juncunda
• Rothmannia longiflora
• Searsia lancea