Top 10 garden trends to help your backyard thrive

Best garden trends: image of garden furniture with watering can
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re looking for current garden trends to give you a flash of inspiration before you make changes to your outdoor space, then we’ve got everything you need to know. From simple DIY ideas to arrangements that are a little more out there, these ideas should set you off in the perfect direction if you’re looking to spruce up your backyard.

After spending more time than ever in our gardens over the last year, it’s no surprise that many people are looking for a refreshing new angle as summer takes a hold. Backyards have so many functions, from a quiet sanctuary to a child’s playground, with everyone’s agenda being totally different. That’s why we’ve covered all of the in-demand garden trends to suit a variation of garden sizes and purposes. So, buckle up and get ready to apply these latest garden trends to your own space. 

If you want to go all out and completely revamp your garden, the best landscape design software offers a great way to ‘try on’ a new look in your backyard without committing to the work. 

1. Let your garden grow with wild gardening  

If you’re a keen gardener, then the idea of allowing your garden to grow haphazardly might throw you into a frenzy, but wild gardening is a recent popular trend focused on embracing your backyard’s natural form. With areas of natural beauty in steep decline, this movement is an attempt to let ecosystems thrive in more natural ways, rather than weeding and paving over their character.

If you want to help your garden flourish, but can’t quite bring yourself to put down your tools completely, then there are plenty of baby steps you can take. Installing a birdbath with a shallow level of water will be sure to attract new visitors to your garden, alongside planting trees that are native to your state, and berry bushes for your new flighty friends to feed on. Nectar-rich plants can also help attract lovely butterflies and other insects too; giving your garden, and the planet, the chance to flourish a little more.

Top 10 Garden trends: image of wild garden with birdbath

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 2. Create inventive outdoor play spaces  

If your home has doubled as both an office and a school within the last year, then you might be finding things a little cramped. One popular garden trend for this summer is to transform your backyard into space to let out that built-up energy, by creating an interactive playground for your little ones.

We’re all familiar with the classic markers of an outdoor play area, such as a swing set or a slide, but we like the idea of getting a little more inventive with your outside play choices. This ‘Mud Maker Mud Kitchen’ from Home Depot allows for mud pies to be served up in an unconventional twist on the classic mini kitchen, while this mini teepee would be great for making a den, with a print that will look the part in your yard too. 

If your garden is more minimalist than playful, then there are plenty of options that allow you to stick to your theme and entertain at the same time. Kickstart a passion for gardening with this mini Zen Garden from Amazon, which even comes with a miniature rake. Or opt for a life-size sandpit and bring the beach to you; we like this one from Amazon, which has a height-adjustable roof to shield from the sun.

Top 10 Garden trends: image of play station for making mud pies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Upcycle your garden  

Restyling your garden to fit current trends can be an expensive venture, and potentially involve old furniture and other garden items going to waste. If you’re looking to be environmentally minded, then upcycling your garden is a stylish way to tackle this problem. With a little vision, some paint, and the help of plants and flowers, unused items can quickly take on a life of their own. For some inspiration, head over to Yvonne Purcell’s Instagram and check out her lovely garden nook filled with upcycled goodies. 

And if you want to get into the upcycling game yourself, then why not start small and repurpose old mason jars from your home with the help of the best solar lights? These DIY light creations are perfect for adding extra ambiance to any seating area in your garden, as well as hanging from trees.  If you're looking for more ways to make your garden ultra-cozy, check out our feature on backyard lighting ideas

4. Make way for a DIY social space  

Create another room in your home by extending your space outside this summer, and conjure up a hub for social gatherings at the same time. The popularity of ‘outdoor rooms’ has created lots of DIY bars, as people search for alternative spaces to socialize safely. We love this iteration of the home bar from Dainty Dress Diaries, which integrates plants and easy-to-find materials to create a homely-looking area outside. Why not try your hand at an outside bar space in your home this summer, and get prepared with extras like this condiment container from Amazon for all your cocktail creations. 

5. Cottagecore crazy  

Another trend that’s arisen from the relative quiet of the past year is cottagecore: the craze for all things that resemble simple rural living. Though it’s spread to clothes and food with flowers popping up in all sorts of bakes and cakes, in the gardening world, it’s all about the prettiest blooms you can imagine. Picture snaking ivy, wisteria, and colorful rose bushes and you’re on the right track, with these plants often complimenting pastel furniture and kitsch outdoor buildings. 

Jump on the cottagecore trend with this arbor from Home Depot which comes with helpful trim kits for your new foliage and get one of those spectacular rose arches in your own backyard. Or if you’re not so good at keeping your plants alive, fake it with this dainty plant terrarium from Amazon

Top 10 garden trends: image of outdoor dinner setting

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 6. Make your garden a productive one  

Using your garden to grow fruit and vegetables isn’t exactly a novel idea, but with a marked increase in people spending time out in the garden, right now is an opportune moment to create a patch with a purpose. Rather than just fruit and vegetables, why not also branch out and create a herb garden, so that you can whip up a flavorful meal with produce from your own backyard?

Having a productive garden isn’t just reserved for those with lots of outdoor space. Make use of the space you’ve got with these windowsill herb planters from Amazon, or go one step further with this vertical planter, which allows you to stack strawberry plants on top of your veggies for ultimate space-saving.

Top 10 Garden trends: image of table with gardening tools and gloves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

7. On-trend garden furniture  

If you’re all about keeping your garden furniture up to date with the latest changes in trends, then you’ve probably already got your eyes on a hanging chair, by far the most popular item out there this summer. There’s a range of comfy-looking egg chairs available over at Home Depot right now, which would be perfect for relaxing with a good book. And of course, another garden essential this summer has to be one of the best fire pits, with our guide showcasing models that would be the perfect centerpiece for a get-together, allowing you to toast marshmallows with the whole family.

8. Balcony garden chic  

Balconies have been a saving grace for anyone unable to get out as they might usually, and it’s unsurprising that they’ve had a gardening boom to reflect this. If you’re fortunate enough to have an outside spot in your apartment, then go for plants that can handle the hot sun, and look for vertical planting opportunities, like a trellis. Colorful hanging planters like these from Amazon are great for brightening up your balcony in any weather, while tiered plant stands are a great way to keep your mini garden organized. 

Top 10 Garden Trends: image of plants on balcony

(Image credit: Getty Images)

9. Hot tub frenzy  

It goes without saying that the best hot tubs have seen a real surge in popularity over the last year, as a perfect garden getaway after a long day of work. Of course, the main draw of a tub is the luxury of the bubbles, but since our time at home has vastly increased, there’s been a real uptake in people building a social space around their tub too.

One way to achieve this tub hub is to add an exterior structure, such as a pergola, which adds privacy and shade to your relaxation time. Alongside this, people are extending their patio spaces with their tub to include seating areas, or even dining areas, where you can cook out with one of the best gas grills after your soak. If a permanent tub sounds like too much right now, don’t miss the best inflatable hot tubs

Top 10 garden trends: image of outdoor hot tub

(Image credit: Getty Images)

10. Keeping it simple with a white garden 

This particular trend might sound drab at first, with a sole focus on white flowers. But the effect can be pretty powerful in the garden, with dark foliage offering a perfect contrast in the backdrop. Perhaps more suited to a minimalist than those who crave color, a white garden scheme can also be integrated into the rest of your decor, including your outdoor furniture. Rattan furniture is always a hit in backyards, like this chair from Home Depot, and can be paired with an outdoor rug and cushions to keep the theme up. 

Molly Cleary

Molly is the Staff Writer for the Home Section at Top Ten Reviews, joining the team after finishing college. When she's not writing she enjoys baking and embroidery, as well as getting stuck into a good book. She now enjoys writing about kitchen appliances, gardening tools, and will even dip her toe into writing about fridges and ovens.