Marshalls has researched the current hard landscaping trends, allowing merchants to make the best recommendations to their clients and customers when it comes to making the most of garden and outdoor projects.
If 2020 was the year people fell back in love with their gardens as one of the unforeseen consequences of the pandemic-enforced lockdown, 2021 was the year they began to invest in them or at least start to save towards a significant project. But what are the most sought after features of a garden for 2022, and what materials are currently the most popular?
Trends in garden design
When it comes to garden layouts, it’s clear that people are still spending more time in their gardens than pre-pandemic. Choosing to move away from minimalist planting, homeowners are bringing more flowers and shrubbed areas to their spaces; raised beds for growing vegetables are proving popular, for example.
And while people are still looking for low maintenance patios, they are clearly happy to embrace gardening as a hobby and still find the time to keep their outdoor spaces looking good. Indeed, many of the features that people are currently planning for their gardens also show that they want to continue spending more time in them — seating areas, pergolas and open-air kitchens are all must-haves for 2022.
For people lucky enough to have large outdoor spaces, they’re choosing to create different zones within their gardens. Even with a smaller garden, splitting it into different areas can maximise the space and its use. A popular way to do this is to use the same paving colour throughout the garden, but in a mixture of different sizes and textures.
Patio colour trends
Grey paving continues to be the most sought after product for homeowners — this trend has been rising for several years and shows no sign of slowing down. The benefits of grey paving are that it looks great against most types of brickwork and works well for both modern and traditional homes alike.
Still a popular choice for indoors too, a grey patio is often used to create a smooth transition between outside and in, especially where the house has bi-fold doors or similar.
Going away from a single colour, if your customers are looking for something completely different you can tell them about the growing trend in patterned paving. Porcelain is available in several different patterns and finishes such as corten and terrazzo, for example, and recent garden design trends have used these for step risers, underneath seating areas and even dancefloors.
Patio material trends
Natural stone and slate remain popular choices for patio paving, with porcelain continuing to grow in popularity too. All are great options for a hard-wearing and stylish garden, with natural stone a favourite amongst people looking for a timeless style and porcelain for customers who want a low-maintenance option.
For customers looking for grey tones in different paving materials, porcelain is an ideal option and offers a lot of different shades. Limestone is also popular, with people choosing it for its more modern and smoother finish, especially compared to traditional riven stone.
Homeowners are also increasingly using block paving for garden paths and a border around a patio in the same shade, showing the versatility of this classic paving choice.
Pro tips: creating garden zones by designer Pip Probert
If your customers are looking to maximise the space for their own clients’ gardens, use these tips from professional garden designer Pip to offer advice:
Use different heights — low-level steps and raised planters are a great idea for small gardens as well as large;
Recommend using different materials on the floor — this breaks up the monotony of a single material type and different block sizes of the same material can also be used;
Create alternative boundaries — this helps break up a plot into individual ‘rooms’. Boundaries could be decorative panels, trellis and climbing plants, solid structures like walling, or simply a planted border.
Key considerations for helping homeowners make their patio paving choice:
Style of the home:- Traditional homes suit rustic cobbles and natural stone; ultra-modern properties look great with smoother paving like porcelain.
Maintenance:- Some paving types need regular maintenance, whilst others can be left for longer. Talk to your customers about ensuring homeowners understand how much time they may want to spend maintaining it before recommending materials.
The budget:- In general, 80% of the cost of a garden or driveway project is in the preparation and groundwork and only 20% on the products chosen. Help your retail / outdoor showroom customers choose the best paving they can afford by sharing this information with them.