Those of us lucky enough to have outdoor space have discovered a new appreciation for our gardens over the past year.
With so much time spent in and around our homes, having that extra space has been a huge benefit - and it’s set to be even more important this year as outdoor socialising becomes the norm.
Landscapers have been in high demand throughout the past 12 months, and as thoughts turn ahead to spring and summer, they’re about to be in more demand than ever.
We spoke to some experienced landscapers to see what kinds of jobs people were clamouring for -just in case you needed some inspiration to get your own project booked today.
Low maintenance is key
Just because people are spending more time at home and in their gardens, doesn’t mean that people want to spend all their time working and maintaining it.
When it comes to gardens, most people are looking for something easy and low maintenance, and that doesn’t need constant attention to keep it looking good.
Jorden Matthews of Distinct Landscapes in Walton-on-Thames said that people were looking for designs and materials that would take care of themselves for the most part.
“Whether it’s plants or shrubs, or things like patios, people are definitely looking for low maintenance options,” Jorden said. “We’re doing a lot of work where we’re putting in driveways along with all the other landscaping, and finding that resin driveways are very popular. They’re not the cheapest option, but they last very well without having to worry about them.”
Making an investment
Alongside trends for features that don’t need much work is a parallel trend for features that will stand the test of time.
Julian Northern of south London’s Gorgeous Gardens agreed with Jorden.
“Everyone is looking for something low maintenance, and that’s going along with things that will last and prove to be a good investment,” Julian said. “People are looking to move away from the cheapest options and find things that are going to go the distance.
“For example, with fences, people are looking for concrete posts and gravel boards, things that will give you years of service without having to worry about them.”
Another hard-wearing product is porcelain paving, which is seeing a surge in popularity according to Lee Goulding of Habitat Landscapes in Bedford.
“It doesn’t wear out like other paving materials,” he said, “it’s very resistant to weathering. It’s also non-slip. We find a lot of people are asking for it now.”
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Old favourites making a comeback
When it comes to things standing the test of time, some old school garden features are seeing a surge in popularity as people look for comfort and familiarity in their outdoor space.
Lee singled out one particular bit of nostalgia coming back into fashion - crazy paving. “There are still people looking for a very modern style, but we’re being asked to do a lot of crazy paving at the moment, which wasn’t something we saw before.”
He added: “In the same way, whereas before we did a lot of brick walls, often with rendering, now we’re being asked to do more natural stone walls, going back to a more traditional look.”
There’s always space for shelter
Garden rooms have exploded in popularity over the past year as people look to maximise their space, but lots of people are opting for more low-key ways to introduce shelter into their gardens.
Jorden said: “We get asked to install a lot of pergolas, particularly metal pergolas. You can get ones with removable sides and roofs, so it gives you a huge amount of flexibility with how it looks and how you use it.”
With garden socialising set to be massive in the coming months, it’s a sensible investment.
Creating your oasis
Water features go in and out of fashion, but there’s definitely a push for including them at the moment, according to Lee.
“It’s not just ponds or fountains, any sort of water feature, especially those that include moving water, are popular right now. I think after the last year with everything going on, people are looking to create that sense of tranquility.”
He added: “A lot of people know they won’t really be going away anywhere, so they’re looking to create somewhere they can escape to - a water feature can really help with that.”