40 Garden Trends for 2018

We dived into the Garden Media Group's 2018 annual report to showcase the hottest garden trends and styles.

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Nature Is the Answer

Garden Media Group is calling it "Nature's Rx." From plant-based diets to forest bathing, consumers are focusing on improving their physical and mental health with Mother Nature at their side. This mindset provides a unique opportunity for both novice and seasoned gardeners to approach gardening the same way they would a spa appointment.

Forest Bathing

The term is borrowed from Japan where shinrin-yoku, forest bathing, just means visting a forest or wooded area for a short walk. In urban areas where trees coverage may be lacking, this could mean finding the nearest park, greenway or hiking trail. At home, you can plant trees, shrubs and flowers along a path. In this woodland yard, stone foot paths and bridges weave in and out of the garden, creating a walk of tranquility with the sounds of the stream.

See More Photos: Meditation Garden Retreats

Zen Gardens

This garden's modern zen design features succulent plantings set amid smooth stones. A seating area in one corner offers a shaded spot to enjoy the garden's sights and sounds.

Meditation Gardens

Meditation and mindfulness also showing up in garden designs. The garden at the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2014 leads to a vignette, designed by Kate Webster and Thayer Hopkins, to inspire and encourage reflection. A brick path draws the eye toward the abstract, mirrored sculpture that reflects light and creates the illusion that the pillars are also decorated with the flowers.

See More Photos: Meditation Garden Retreats

Instant Meditation Garden

You don't need anything too fancy to create a small meditation area in your garden. Something as simple as a small bench can encourage you to stop, sit down and reflect for a couple minutes. If you're an early riser, try placing a bench facing east so you can watch the sun come up before a busy day.

Surround Yourself With Plants

Houseplants go way beyond that fiddle-leaf fig sitting in your living room. Indoor hanging gardens have become especially popular.

Bathroom Plants

As long as you have the proper conditions, you can liven up practically any room with plants — even the bathroom. Look for low-light, high humidity plants.

See More Photos: Plants to Grow in Your Bathroom

Shower Caddy Gardens

Shower caddy gardens look—and smell!—a lot better than decorating with shampoo bottles and soap.

See More Photos: Make a Shower Caddy Garden

Air Purifying Plants: Peace Lily

Houseplants have an added benefit of cleaning the air in your home. Peace lilies are one of the most popular houseplants and for good reason: they're dependable, low-light plants that rid the air of toxins. But be forewarned: If ingested, peace lilies are poisonous to dogs, cats and small children so keep them well out of reach.

See More Photos: 20 Best Plants for Cleaning Indoor Air

Air Purifying Plants: Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is one of the most durable for low-light apartments and offices.

See More Photos: 20 Best Plants for Cleaning Indoor Air

Water Features

Water features keep on rocking. The soothing sound of running water is a welcome addition to meditation gardens of all shapes and sizes. We'd love to take a seat next to this gorgeous rock waterfall.

See More Photos: Water Features for Any Budget

Reflecting Pools

Reflecting pools are another option when choosing a water feature. You could almost get lost in this pool reflecting the sky and clouds.

Lights and Sound

The real showstopper in this Texas courtyard is a sleek water feature with jets that light up at night.

Upcycled Water Features

At home, try using salvaged items to create a pond-in-a-pot, like we did for HGTV Smart Home 2015. A stock tank with a spigot creates the perfect backyard water feature.

Upcycled Planters

The eco-friendly mindset has also led to more gardeners looking for ways to reuse items they may already have lying around, saving themselves from clutter and the items from the landfill. Almost anything, like these old boots, can be made into a unique planter. Just make sure to give the vessel proper drainage holes.

See More Photos: 9 Clever Ways to Use Dollar Store Items as Planters

Bedhead Gardens

We're all in for a low-maintenance garden design, especially if it inspires those who want to garden, but don't have time. Enter the bedhead garden: an informal planting method that relies on easy-care and native plants that look good without all the extra work.

See More Photos: Grow a Bed Head Garden

Cottage Gardens

Beloved cottage gardens are typically low-maintenance by nature. Plus, the garden style invites wildlife that will keep your garden buzzing with excitement all season.

See More Photos: Cottage Gardens We Love

Let It Grow

Pack on the plants and them let them grow. Purple hyssop provides a frame for this cottage garden filled with shrubs and grasses in a range of green shades and textures. These plants are designed to thrive with minimal care.

See More Photos: Cottage Gardens We Love

Grow Ornamental Grasses

Running your hands through Mexican feather grass is nearly irresistible; an extremely fine-textured ornamental grass, it's among the most "hairlike" plants, and watching it sweeping and flowing in the breeze is a pleasure. But be warned that this plant has a dark side: It's extremely invasive, self-seeding with abandon in dry, sunny climates. If you have space and are going for a meadow look, this may be just the plant.

Grow Wildflowers

Wildflowers, like the Tennessee purple coneflower, fit right in with the bedhead garden style. Choose native varieties that are already adapted to your climate's growing decisions and you'll barely have to lift a finger.

See More Photos: 20 Great American Wildflowers

Weeds, Too!

Can't beat 'em? Leave 'em! Many gardeners are saying goodbye to herbicides and pulling them by hand, or leaving them alone altogether.

Deadhead Less

Hydrangeas are even beautiful when they're not in bloom. Try leaving faded blooms and seedheads on the plant to provide interest through the winter.


Instead of a lawn that requires watering and regular maintenance, why not consider reconfiguring part of your yard for a landscape design that requires little to no water depending on your choice of plants and minimal care? You can create a much more sustainable and striking visual result with an assortment of conifers, flowering plants like the Swamp Hibiscus (note the red flowers), ornamental grasses and non-fussy perennials like this configuration from The Fockele Garden Company.

See More Photos: Low-Water Gardens: Sustainable and Beautiful

Go Native

Using native plants for low-water gardens usually result in a much more hardy, low-maintenance landscape because natives are well adapted to a region’s climate and weather conditions.

See More Photos: Low-Water Gardens: Sustainable and Beautiful

Unique Xeriscaping

This Texas landscaper came up with a unique solution for a flood-prone yard: a moat! The house is now ready to withstand any potential flooding with the gravel covered moat as a second line of defense. With its width and depth, it can easily handle and reroute water as deep as 8 inches or more.

See More Photos: Creative Xeriscaping: Save Water With Style

Rock Gardens

Native plantings along an arroyo will help conserve water while maintaining an attractive xeriscape design. Among the plants are yucca (in the foreground), Mexican feather grass to the far right, and in the background, blue sage, Knockout roses and salvia.

See More Photos: Creative Xeriscaping: Save Water With Style

Low-Water Plants: Succulents

It’s tough to beat rugged succulents for drought-tolerant good looks. Echeveria blends beauty with strong textural appeal. Rosettes of leaves sparkle in silvery-gray and contrast artfully with the bead-like leaves of pork and beans sedum (Sedum x rubrotinctum). Plant both of these water-wise plants in a spot that’s well-drained.

Low-Water Plants: Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush brings on twice the color with its pollinator beckoning blooms. These sweetly fragrant flowers lure butterflies, hummingbirds and a host of other flitting and zipping insects to the garden. Not only drought-tolerant, butterfly bush is also deer-resistant. You’ll welcome the flowers from summer through fall.

Freeze-Proof Plants

With the weather becoming more unpredictable, gardeners are preparing for the worst by choosing plants that can survive the coldest winters. Lily-of-the-valley is a pretty but tough spring bloomer, hardy in Zones 2 to 7.

See More Photos: Freeze-Proof Plants

Rain Garden Plants

Gardeners are also watching out for heavy rain. Some plants, like foxglove, are happy with wet feet. If you have an area in your yard that is prone to flooding, try adding wetland plants to the area.

Eat Your Greens

Consumers are trying to add more plants to their diet, with vegetarian options becoming more mainstream. Adding edible plants to your landscape is easy and attractive. This beautiful Tuscan kale can be planted in the fall, and is actually sweeter after a frost or freeze.

Protein-Rich Plants

Soybeans are rich in protein and can be a fun for gardeners up to the challenge: Grow a crop of edamame, and you’re rolling out the welcome mat for deer, groundhogs and rabbits. Take care to protect plants as soon as you plant, which shouldn’t be too early, because soybean is very cold-sensitive. Wait until temps are reliably above 55 F.

Little Bites

Even gardeners with small spaces can jump on the edible trend. 'On Deck' is the first sweet corn developed for container gardening. The 4 to 5-foot tall plants produce 2 to 3 bicolored ears per stalk. Wait until the soil temperature is 55 degrees F. or above to plant; then sow 9 seed per 24-inch container.

See More Photos: 13 Mini Edibles to Grow

Use the Entire Plant

Harvest sunflower seeds for a nutritious snack straight from the backyard.

How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

Purple Reign

The color of the year is purple. This regal hue has been popping up everywhere from cocktails to paint colors. This signature Purple Rain cocktail incorporates Don Julio Blanco tequila, fresh lemon and lime juices, cranberry syrup and a lavender flower from the rooftop garden. "There’s nothing sexier than making a drink and just reaching over and grabbing a handful of lavender or basil and muddling it then giving it to the guest," says Robert Gerstenecker, executive chef of the Four Seasons Atlanta.

Purple Plants

Add a pop of purple to your summer garden with dahlia 'Thomas Edison.' It's an oldie, introduced in the 1940s, so you know it’s a winner because it’s still around.

See More Photos: 11 Stunning Purple Flowers and Plants

Purple Edibles: 'Purple of Sicily' Cauliflower

The color on 'Purple of Sicily' is almost unreal, as is this Italian heirloom's sweet flavor. When cooked, the heads turn bright green. The 2- to 3-pound heads are ready to harvest in 90 days. Give cauliflower cool weather and plenty of space to develop properly.

Purple Edibles: 'Purple Passion' Asparagus

'Purple Passion' asparagus adds color to salads and offers a sweet, tender bite.

Purple Edibles: ''Jelly Bean' Blueberries

This dwarf 'Jelly Bean' blueberry bush from Bushel and Berry is the perfect size for small-space gardening.

Purple Edibles: ''Fairy Tale' Hybrid Eggplant

'Fairy-Tale' is an award-winning, compact variety that bears clusters of marbled fruits. Each creamy-tasting, purple and white "egg" measures 4 to 5 inches long.

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