Gardening and Landscape Design Trends: What’s New for 2014?

January 14, 2014

How can we resist predicting the trends for 2014?  It seems to be an insatiable human desire, since the beginning of time.  Whatever the reason; bragging rights (who hasn’t relished in being the first of their friends to add a new plant introduction to their garden?), fear of the unknown, marketing, etc… those of us in the horticulture and landscape design world are no different.

As we begin a new year, we thought it would be fun to poke around and see what the trends in gardening are for 2014.  We must admit, we’re excited to see that what many of the experts are calling growing trends, have always and will continue to be, a part of Sublime Garden Design’s core values.

According to Garden Media Group’s 2014 forecast, “people are beginning to truly understand the relationship between gardening and connecting with nature – and how this can lead to a fully satisfied and purposeful life.”  While this is something we’ve always believed in it especially makes sense as we continue to emerge from the recession from a couple years ago.  We’re hungry for simplicity in all aspects of our life, from the material items we own to our daily schedules.  Outlandish opulence is out.  The enjoyment of simple pleasures and connecting with loved ones and friends is in.  We’ve also become increasingly aware of our connection to and impact on the health of the planet and subsequently our own personal health.  These two trends go hand in hand as we re-evaluate what’s really important.

OK, a lofty statement and prediction, but what does this mean for the horticulture and landscape design world?  People still want their outdoor spaces to be beautiful and inviting spaces for gathering and relaxing, but we also want to invest our time and money wisely on high quality, eco-friendly products that reflect our personal values and style.  As Katie Dubow, creative director of Garden Media states, “2014 is all about balance. People finally appreciate that being in nature and in the garden is true bliss. But now, they want the garden to do double duty: A Zen oasis and the social hub for entertaining.”

How are we seeing this on a more personal and local scale?  Let’s jump in and pull out a few fun examples.

Drink Your Garden

As a direct result of our increased awareness of what we’re putting in on and around our bodies comes the trend to drink your garden.  Think of it as a natural evolution on the edible gardening trend that continues to thrive.  People are drinking their gardens in the form of cocktails and smoothies made from super foods such as blueberries, kale and raspberries to growing their own hops for home brewing and grapes for home-made wine.  “Fermentation gardens are the new chickens,” says Rebecca Reed of Southern Living.  If this piques your interest, be sure to read Eureka, CA based Amy Stewart’s, New York Times best-selling book, “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks”, that came out in 2013 by Algonquin Books. Or to get the recipe for the yummy drink below, check out Amy Stewart’s blog.

The 'Blushing Mary' cocktail, found on pg. 354 of "The Drunken Botanist" Photo credit: Amy Stewart

The ‘Blushing Mary’ cocktail, found on pg. 354 of “The Drunken Botanist”
Photo credit: Amy Stewart

Young Men Get Their Hands Dirty in the Garden

I must admit, this one surprised me a bit at first, but makes perfect sense given the above mentioned trend – wink, wink 😉  Young men 18-34 are spending $100 more than the average gardener!  They’re growing their own hops for beer, grilling on outdoor BBQ’s and taking the kids out to play in the dirt.

For more information on growing your own hops and home brewing check out Seattle Home Brew’s blog.

Growing hops for beer Photo credit: Seattle Home Brew

Growing hops for beer
Photo credit: Seattle Home Brew

Mood and Brain Boosters

News Flash!!  Studies show that plants make us smarter, more productive and less stressed. This really isn’t new news, as past generations and other cultures most certainly had/ have a better understanding of  this. However, as a result of numerous studies showing the health benefits associated with living and working in close proximity to plants, more and more are showing up in offices, schools and hospitals across the country.  Related to this is our interest in personal herb gardens that we can grow in small pots or windowsill planters indoors.  By doing so we’re taking advantage of limited space while also growing fresh, organic herbs for cooking.  I love the DIY nature of the below idea, herbs in tea tins – how clever!


Windowsill herb garden using tea tins Photo credit:

Windowsill herb garden using tea tins
Photo credit:

Mixed Bouquets

Ooh, I like this one… it’s an opportunity to really get your creative juices flowing.  The next time you head into your garden to gather a fresh bouquet, don’t just stop at the flowers, consider clippings of fresh vegetables, branches, berries and grasses!  Try radishes, viburnum davidii’s silvery blue berries, flowering kale, fern fronds, squash blooms, chard, eggplant or even wax beans.  Think of the possibilities!  This ties in with the trend that many Seattle-based flower designers are embracing which is using locally sourced and sustainably grown flowers in arrangements. To learn more, visit the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market site.


Mixed bouquet Photo credit:

Mixed bouquet
Photo credit:

Sensory Gardens

In an earlier blog post about Designing a Garden With Children in Mind,  we discussed the importance of not only creating an engaging space for children to explore and learn about plants, but one that utilizes multiple senses.  Use plants that play on the senses, such as fuzzy lamb’s-ear, squishy succulents, tasty blueberries or fragrant lavender.  By doing so you’ll also be giving children with disabilities an opportunity to experience the joys of gardening and nature.  What better way to pass the magic on to the next generation!


Lamb's ear Photo Credit:

Lamb’s ear
Photo Credit:

 More Foliage – Less Grass!

In keeping with the trend towards of an increased awareness of our own personal space and its impact on the planet, there’s a growing trend to dig up old lawns and replace them with drought tolerant plants.  We love it!  What a great way to add more interest to your garden in the form of color and texture while being environmentally conscientious.


Woodinville landscape Photo credit: Sublime Garden Design

Woodinville landscape
Photo credit: Sublime Garden Design

As we here at Sublime Garden Design look forward to the coming year, we plan to hold true to the values and beliefs that have always resonated with us.  Your garden should be a reflection of you and your interests.  Whether you want your garden to be a Zen oasis of calm, a social hub for entertaining friends and family, or both – we’d love to help!

Here’s to a 2014 full of beauty, peace, love ones and all things green.

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