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Sustainable Landscaping: 2024 Trends to Design Your Eco-Friendly Oasis

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What are the key words that come to mind for crafting a modern, yet personal outdoor space? Environmentally friendly, sustainable gardening, and a strong connection to nature.

 

Landscapers and their Eco-credentials

Gardens by Keltie and Clark are dedicated to an eco-friendly landscape approach, keeping these principles at the forefront of our work. Working alongside clients and helping individuals feel a deeper connection with the natural world. Many of our projects have become more focused on creating outdoor living spaces that flow seamlessly from indoor to outdoor areas, rewilding to create wildlife habitats, using permeable surfaces for paths and driveways, harvesting rainwater, and using energy efficient lighting solutions that reduce light pollution.

 


Permeable pathways without puddling

 

Using natural elements and conditions, like rain barrels for water conservation, embodies our sustainable landscaping approach to crafting unique outdoor spaces. For instance, utilising rain barrels for harvesting rainwater not only conserves water and reduces costs but also supports plants during dry spells, aligning with our sustainable landscaping principles.

Choosing permeable materials like pea gravel reduces rainwater runoff and prevents flooding, letting water absorb naturally into the ground—a cornerstone of our sustainable gardening practices.

 

Useful Outdoor Living Spaces

Using the same flooring helps to create a stylish continuity from inside to outside, unifying the space and keeping the design simple and elegant. At Keltie and Clark, we’ve created bespoke outdoor living spaces, focusing on sustainable building materials and plant selection to enhance eco-friendliness. Ranging from simple covered BBQ areas to elegant, fully functioning outdoor kitchens. This trend is set to continue with increased inquiries in this area.

 


Keltie and Clark – examples of our outdoor kitchens, covered seating and dining areas and bespoke storage benches.

 

Re-imaging Water Features in the Garden

Designing a ‘rain garden’ or ‘swale’ taps into the natural process of handling excess rainwater, making your garden a part of the sustainable landscape design trend. Using pebble-lined streams or sunken depressions that collect, retain, and filter excess rainwater. They make wonderful wildlife habitats, and even when dry, they can be an attractive feature within the garden. Bioswales are more commonly seen in larger urban landscaping schemes. You are likely to see them alongside highways or areas where natural flooding occurs on a regular basis. But the principles are transferable to a domestic environment.

Here, the clever use of attractive, native planting can enhance the feature.

 

 

Dry Gardens

With predicted, milder, wetter weather more likely in the future, we need to adapt in terms of what we can grow in our gardens. Designing dry or gravel gardens has definitely become more popular. If you wish to grow a more diverse range of plants by creating an area within your garden for drought tolerant plants, then using gravel will allow for better drainage and, if sited near seating areas, can create warmer microclimates as light and warmth are retained in the gravel/stone. Look to the famous plantswoman Beth Chatto and her legacy garden near Colchester in Essex for inspiration.

 


Clever planting provides all-year-round interest

 

Other trends for 2024

Designers are moving away from grey and using more earthy tones, as seen in corten steel planters and sculpture. Fencing and wooden structures are being left with natural finishes, as texture is being celebrated in the garden once more.

The demand for eco-efficient lighting, an essential part of eco-friendly landscape lighting, has surged, extending our outdoor enjoyment while reducing water and energy use.

Advances in technology have seen lights controlled by apps or by voice commands. Traditional motion sensors, pre-programmed units, and solar lights are still popular too. They help to illuminate pathways, light up dark corners, and increase security, giving us peace of mind and creating personalised ambience for outdoor entertaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What other trends are you likely to see in 2024? The younger generations with little or no access to larger outdoor spaces are turning their attention to greening balconies with vertical living walls or investing in houseplants to enhance their mood & indoor spaces.

There is a definite shift towards a more wholesome existence. So no matter what your budget, a small plot of home grown fruit or vegetables is possible. With more naturalistic planting, people feel they’re in a wild space, which provides a sense of wellbeing, a place for wildlife, and the ease of low maintenance.