It's perfect gardening weather out there, so why not take some inspiration from RHS Chelsea Flower Show, grab your kit and give those flowerbeds the facelift they deserve?
We caught up with award-winning garden designer Jo Thompson and RHS Chief Horticulturalist Guy Barter a few weeks ahead of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to pick their brains on the hottest gardening trends for summer 2018 that you can easily achieve at home.
From low maintenance plants to garden furniture colours and updating your outdoor space in a flash, check out their very best top tips below.
What are the biggest garden trends of 2018?
Jo Thompson is one of the UK’s leading garden designers and has won many awards during her career, including ‘Best Rural Garden Designer’, and three gold and five silver medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
She says: “Edible gardening is set to get more and more popular. Being able to serve fresh herbs as a garnish for your favourite drink, or tasty leaves alongside a summer supper is both fun and rewarding."
Eating field-to-fork is a huge trend across both the food world and the gardening scene right now, and Guy Barton, Chief Horticulturalist at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, says he's being asked more and more about edible gardening by the public.
“Homegrown fruit and veg remains a top trend with some fascinating new ideas emerging, such as keeping fruit hedges to make preserves and flavoured gins with.”
How can people achieve these trends at home?
“Greenery doesn’t depend on plenty of space,” according to Guy. “Herbs in containers, blueberries in pots and cacti and succulents in windowsill boxes will all be more than happy in those environments, and great for small gardens and patios."
For our experts, it’s all about geraniums when it comes to low-maintenance plants that will bring colour to your outside space with long blooming periods.
Guy says: “Hardy geraniums fit the bill especially in the inevitable light shade of smaller spaces. The strands known as Rosanna and Orion both hold the RHS ‘Award of Garden Merit’ and flower deep into late summer.”
Jo also recommends trusty geraniums for filling the garden with colour all summer. “Perennial geraniums will flower all summer long until the first frosts, as will Salvias and Penstemons if you deadhead them regularly,” she says.
What's this year's 'colour'?
Purple is the colour to look out for at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, according to Guy: “We’ve been told that Pantone violet-purple is the colour of the year, which might influence people’s gardening choices.
"Of course, our RHS flower shows showcase the work of some of the best garden designers in the country, and so tend to set garden trends for the year ahead - pastels reigned supreme last year, but with rich purples and oranges coming up, too. We’ll see at the show.”
How can you make the most of your outdoor space?
For Jo, summer 2018 is about making your garden an extension of your home.
“With space becoming more of a premium, the trend for making your garden an extension of your home is here to stay. An al fresco dining room is top of a lot of people’s lists.”
Creating an outdoor room is easier than you think, according to the award-winning garden designer. She says, "Dress your garden table as if it was a dining table and an overhead structure, like a pergola, will give a sense of enclosure. Position pots around the entertaining area to divide the space from the rest of the garden."
Jo foresees that pergolas will continue to be one of the most popular trends in garden design and furniture this year.
"The light shade and enclosed feel they give to outdoor spaces help the garden to feel like an extension of the home," she says. "Some even have integrated drainage, lighting and heating so you can enjoy your garden whatever the weather."
Any tips for people short on time?
Forgotten to plant new flowers in time for them to bloom this summer? Have no fear! Guy recommends dahlia bulbs and canna rootstocks to add large, colourful foliage to warm spots.
"For an even easier option, purchase a wildflower mix for a quick and effortless way to cover sunny patches with plenty of wildlife supporting pollen, insects and seeds. All you have to do it scatter the seed mix, rake the soil and water the ground lightly for a full bed of flowers in just a few weeks."
For Jo, it’s all about adding pops of colour to the patio for an instant outdoor facelift.
“Pop some brightly coloured cushions on garden furniture, and include some matching blankets for when the evening chill sets in. Plant up some pots for another quick and easy way to bring something new into the mix. Herbs are a great choice, and there’ll always be a fresh supply.
Ready to inject some new life into your outdoor space this summer? Make sure to stock up on everything you need, from seeds and compost to outdoor furniture and BBQs, at Asda or pop into your local store.