Straight lines or curves – your garden design, your choice Top gardening trends to watch in 2020

In 2019 garden designers and bloggers were talking passionately about both straight lines and curves in the garden. Fire pits became the must-have garden accessory and mental health experts told us all to go outside.

Sarah Kimbrey, designer and stylist with Forest Garden, the UK’s leading manufacturer of high-quality wooden garden products, has compiled a list of six of the top garden design trends to watch out for in 2020. She advises how to get the look in your own back yard, with the help of Forest Garden.

  1. Small-space gardening

According to the Horticultural Trades Association the average garden plot is just 14m2 and many urban dwellers will rely on balconies or tiny patios for their green space. The trend for making the most of tiny spaces will continue through 2020 and this pressure on space is one driver behind the trend for vertical gardens, with fence panels and walls being hung with anything from succulents to herbs – or used as backdrops for climbers or creepers.

Forest Garden’s top picks:

  • Slender Planters – just 40cm x 40cm and thus suitable for even the smallest space – are a perfect home for leafy, architectural plants or tall, slender shrubs such as bay trees, which ooze style.
  • The tall, slim Victorian Walkaround Greenhouse is a popular new design. Its unique design lets the gardener access plants from the outside in. Plus, its four doors can be hung on any of its facings.
  1. Statement contemporary fencing

A hot favourite right now is horizontal slatted fencing and for good reason. It allows wind to filter through so won’t blow over and has clean, contemporary lines.

Garden designer Stefano Marinaz believes that boundaries can be art and uses strong lines in the garden to contrast with the natural forms of the plants. He says, “The plants do their thing, change and die back throughout the year, but we still need to maintain a strong design, so we always have permanent elements repeated throughout, creating a link that holds it all together.”

Horizontal slats can be large, narrow or (for extra privacy) double slatted and can be transformative.

Forest Garden’s top pick

  • Our Contemporary Slatted Fence Panel is a substantial and stylish panel with a fresh look that will give a modern feel to boundary screening.
  • Sections of trellis can also be used as boundaries for different areas of your garden. Forest Garden Traditional, Premium Framed or Heavy Duty trellis has clean, square lines which sit well in a contemporary garden.
  1. Outdoor living

Nothing exemplifies our love of outdoor living more than the rise and rise of the fire pit. In summer 2019, major retailers were engaged in price war over this garden essential, driving prices ever downward. And garden designer Karen Rogers thinks the growing demand for teenage garden hangouts will mean separate areas featuring outdoor fire pits and fireplaces.

The challenge, then, is to create an outdoor seating area, transforming a section of your garden into an outdoor living room surrounding a warming fire. Garden furniture has become modular, simple and slatted, often with planters incorporated. Corner seating is extremely popular.

Forest Garden’s top picks: 

  • Our Refectory Table and Sleeper Bench sets come in two sizes (1.2m and 1.8m). They’re solid and stylish – and indestructible. Perfect for alfresco dining around the fire.
  • Or opt for a Double Sleeper Bench (in 1.2m or 1.8m lengths) and a casual low sleeper table (1.2m).
  • Alternatively, if you want to kick back and relax, our tipped-back Saratoga Chair is perfect for a quieter fireside experience.
  1. Green is good for you

Mental health was at the top of the health agenda in 2019, with experts agreeing that being outside is good for us.

A recent study conducted by garden company Bakker Spalding has found that 88% of people find that mental wellbeing is a key benefit for spending time in the garden.

Kathryn Rossiter, CEO of Thrive, our long-term charity partner and one of the UK’s leading mental wellbeing and accessibility charities, says: “As well as the strong therapeutic value of gardening, it can help people connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation. It makes us more active, bringing both physical and mental health benefits.”

So, if you do one thing in 2020, become part of the great British exodus into the garden. Step outside and go green!

Forest Garden’s top picks:

  • Become an environmental champion. Choose natural timber products – from greenhouses to garden stores to planters. The majority of Forest Garden timber comes from sustainable British Timber. It’s processed at our own sawmill and assembled at our own UK factory.
  • Grow your own with our raised sleeper beds, bed builder packs, troughs and greenhouses. View our GROW YOUR OWN AND GREENHOUSE videos.
  1. Curves are back

Garden journalist and blogger Alexandra Campbell, reporting on the 2019 RHS summer shows, noted that curves in garden design have returned.  Many show gardens featured curved pergolas, arches and arbours. According to Campbell, whilst straight lines work well for urban gardens – as exemplified by the rise and rise of the horizontal slatted fence – much larger spaces can benefit from curved borders and garden paths, to add a sense of mystery and adventure.

Forest Garden’s top picks:

  • A top seller from 2019 is our infinity arch, a simple but beautiful structural arch designed to trick the eye by adding a sense of depth into a garden. The arch also adds a vertical space up which to grow plants.
  • Our radial pergola literally radiates out in a semi-circle from a central point and is the perfect way to add a soft, curved areas of interest into the corner of a garden.
  1. Add the wow factor to your patio

Earlier this year House Beautiful suggested 40 gorgeous ways to add a ‘wow’ to your patio, from lovely loungers to comfy cushions and climbing vines. At Forest Garden we’ve created a simple dining pergola that we offer as a blank canvas to anyone with a creative streak. Add your own twist to this stylish structure and bring your garden to life – your own way.

Forest Garden’s top pick:

  • The Forest Garden Dining Pergola is a simple, contemporary structure which takes up just 3m x 2.4m (fitting neatly onto a patio or decking area). With the addition of side ladder panels, it becomes a structure for a vertical garden.


  • Slender Planters (40cm W x 40cm D) come in two heights. 75cm = £74.99, 100cm = £89.99
  • Victorian Walkaround Greenhouse (228cm H x 96cm W x 126cm D) = £529.99 minus auto vent. With auto vent = £554.99
  • Contemporary Double Slatted Fence Panel (91cm H x 180cm W) = £69.99. Wider width (180 H x 180 W) = £99.99
  • Traditional Trellis from £13.99 for 180cm H x 30cm W
  • Premium Framed Trellis from £19.99 for 180cm H x 30 cm W
  • Heavy Duty Trellis from £11.99 for 183cm H x 30cm W
  • Refectory Table and Sleeper Bench Set from £324.99 for 1.2m W
  • Double Sleeper Bench from £99.99 for 1.2m L
  • Low Sleeper Table £149.99 for 1.2m L
  • Saratoga Chair £119.99
  • Infinity arch £229.99
  • Radial pergola £229.99
  • Dining pergola without side ladder panels £479.00
  • Dining pergola with side panels £599.99

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