Garden trends 2022 – 12 backyard looks to copy this year

These are the top garden trend predictions for 2022, according to industry experts. Perfect for backyards big and small

A contemporary garden with water feature, hostas, pergola, and padded furniture
(Image credit: Eirasophie / Getty)

Our annual summary of garden trends is in, and 2022 is looking stunning already. There's nothing better to get us through a long winter than by thinking ahead to springtime and summer when our outdoor living spaces are in full flourish mode with gorgeous planting, and people to enjoy the space with.

Back in 2021, our backyard designs reflected our desire to escape – remember all those vacation-themed gardens and outdoor rooms? This year is embracing our gardens in different ways. 2022 is all about celebrating our gardens as living, natural spaces that we share with wildlife. These are small (sometimes tiny) but crucial players in the fight against the effects of climate change and nodding to their habitats within our own approach to outdoor living is what this year is going to be all about.

Of course, beautiful design and gorgeous plants are still central to garden ideas this year. Eco-conscious and beautiful is the trendiest garden look – we suspect not just for 2022.

1. Climate change-conscious garden designs

A modern furnished patio and pergola with a small pond, water lilies, hostas and Clematis

(Image credit: Eirasophie/ Getty)

If garden trends for 2022 can be summarized with one word, it's sustainability. A sustainable garden can be many things. It can be a wildlife garden that creates its own thriving ecosystem, helping pollinators, hedgehogs, and amphibians. Increasingly, a sustainable garden also takes into account the changing climate and adapts to it. 

If there's just one change to make to your garden in 2022, it's incorporating elements of a rain garden into your garden design. This can involve something as simple as planting up areas prone to water logging with moisture-loving plants, or you could go for a more extensive redesign that includes a water reservoir and improved drainage. Wendy Allen, an award-winning garden designer specialising in rain gardens, has told the BBC that rain gardens are a great idea because 'they cut down on water use, they reduce flooding, they filter the water, and overall they're a brilliant benefit to both the people who look at them and to rivers.'

2. Slow living and slow planting 

A container garden scheme with grasses and steps

(Image credit: Dobbies )

This ties in nicely to the second-biggest garden trend of 2022 – slow living. UK-based Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, describes the trend as 'a soulful theme that inspires us to slow down and appreciate the world around us. Muted tones and colours that change with the light, mirror the way nature around us ebbs and flows.'

This type of gardening is all about enjoying watching your plants grow and admiring the way they catch the light at different times of the day. Grasses are the perfect plants for this trend, and Marcus recommends planting Stipa tenuissima, Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ and Carex ‘Prairie Fire’ as part of 'this muted theme.'

3. Living walls

A swimming pool garden area with a tall living wall

(Image credit: Bridgman)

If you've always wondered how to create a living wall, this is the year to finally try it. Much more natural-looking than solid fences, living walls are in keeping with the current backyard trends that maximize on all available space for plants – this includes the vertical space in your garden. 

And if you already have a garden wall or fence, this may be the year to cover it with rambling roses or disguise it with trees and shrubs.

4. Urban zen gardens

A modern urban garden with a Zen style planting scheme

(Image credit: Roberto Westbrook/ Getty)

Japanese garden ideas have never really gone out of fashion, but this year will see the zen garden updated and made to look more contemporary and angular. Zen gardens traditionally embrace soft, curvy shapes, but in 2022, expect to see soft planting contrasting nicely with sharp landscaping. 

Marcus beleivse that the zen trend 'ties in well with sustainability, as well as boasting engaging options for plants that look great on a balcony or terrace. Acer palmatum 'Katsura', Hardy Fern, and Ilex crenata ‘Kinme’ plants will inject some zen to your space.'

5. Balcony gardens

modern urban balcony garden with potted plants and reclining chair

(Image credit: Credit: frazaz/ Getty)

Have a balcony or terrace? This is the year you should consider creating a balcony garden. While small balcony ideas traditionally focus more on furniture, introducing even just a couple of planters will instantly bring this tiny urban space to life. You don't need lots of pots, or a wide selection of plants – just fill a corner with troughs and do a layered planting scheme with flowers and an evergreen.

6. Contemporary country style

A country-style garden with many pots

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Cottage gardens are typically seen as a country pursuit, but this traditional garden style is entering urban and suburban backyards in a big way this year. Marcus explains that this look is all about 'growing new and unusual produce and plants in our gardens for a wild, rustic country feel.'

You don't need much space to recreate the romantic country garden in your outdoor space – you just need to be clever with your plant selection. Plants Marcus recommends for achieving the look includ  'Delphinium light in blue or white, Echinacea ‘Sensation Pink’ or Digiplexis ‘Falcon Fire’'.

7. Tropical garden planting

A tropical themed garden with wooden sun loungers

(Image credit: Jean-François Monnot / EyeEm / Getty)

Tropical planting schemes have been popular for over a year now, but this year's tropical planting is more sophisticated than the palm tree bonanza from last year. Think exotic blooming vines, tropical bamboos, and subtropical evergreens. Tropical gardens in 2022 are less about imitating a vacation landscape and more about exploring rare and exotic plants. 

8. Indoor-outdoor backyards

A house with a living room opening onto a backyard with pool

(Image credit: stevecoleimages/ Getty)

This is quite different from the outdoor room trend that saw patios and courtyards transformed into living room-like environments. Although outdoor rooms aren't going anywhere, we expect 2022 to return more to the idea of creating one continuous space. between the indoors and outdoors. The aim is to open the indoors to the light and fresh air outside, rather than to create an illusion of the indoors outside.

9. Repurposed garden rooms

A garden room used as a home gym

(Image credit: Green Retreats)

A garden room is always a luxury, and for those of us now mainly working from home, it's an invaluable opportunity to create some separation between our homes and our work – or workout – life. We garden garden room ideas tin 2022 to include home gym and home office transformations. 

10. White garden planting schemes

A small urban wildlife bird friendly garden chamomile lawn stepping stones and a woven willow pod with bench and cushions

(Image credit: A Garden / Alamy Stock Photo)

White gardens are still here in 2022, but they will look slightly different from last year's. Think delicate all-white planting schemes instead of all-white furniture and painted decks. White with natural accents is the on-trend look for this year. It's a less intense look than last year's, and all the better for it.

11. Tiny gardens with water features

Frazer McDonogh s show garden for Bloom 2008

(Image credit: Ros Drinkwater / Alamy Stock Photo)

This year – the third of the pandemic – is all about valuing whatever space we've got, and filling as much of it with plants as possible. Innovative small garden ideas are entering mainstream garden design in a big way in 2022, with minimal structural designs and dense planting schemes the dominant look. 

Interestingly, even the tiniest of gardens will sport garden water features in 2022, and these will look like tiny natural ponds rather than the concrete or stone water features we're used to from previous years. Expect to see water lilies in even the smallest of backyard spaces. 

12. Midsummer night's picnics

Midsummer night's garden picnic, Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Using the garden year-round is one obvious post-pandemic garden trend, but we expect that gardens will get much more use round the clock, too, with evening garden parties becoming more popular. Spectacular garden lighting ideas will be central to transforming backyards into magical nighttime-friendly spaces.

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.