June 13th, 2024
Posted In: Garden trends & design

Today’s top garden ideas at this year’s BBC Gardeners World Live were logs, corten steel, ponds, coloured garden furniture and more mixing of veg and flowers.

They can all be used in traditional, naturalistic or contemporary contexts.

BBC Gardeners’ World Live has three garden shows a year, featuring experts from the BBC Gardeners World programme, with talks, show gardens and exhibitors selling plants, garden tools and other gardening things. The main BBC GWL show is in June in the Birmingham NEC. Plus there is a spring show in  Beaulieu in Hampshire as well as an autumn show at Audley End in Essex.

There were logs and wood on many show gardens and borders. They were garden ornaments, trellis, edging, for raised beds, pavers, obelisks, as vertical interest and as bug hotels.

And bark chip was also used in many paths. It’s inexpensive, allows rain through and adds to the natural feel of a garden.

The other growing trends were an increasing mix of flowers and edibles – growing flowers to eat, planting veg amongst the flowers and creating places to sit in your veg patch.

More top garden ideas to look out for included coloured furniture. With the increasing popularity of natural or wilder-looking gardens, coloured furniture adds definition and contrast.

And, as any garden designer will tell you, ponds are better than water features. Water features break down and develop faults. Ponds almost look after themselves.

This year’s show gardens and borders overwhelmingly featured ponds rather than water features.

Add logs or wood for a contemporary look

Log and wood bug hotel in Stop and Smell the Flowers by Julie Haylock.Log and wood bug hotel in Stop and Smell the Flowers by Julie Haylock.

Log and wood bug hotel in Stop and Smell the Flowers by Julie Haylock.

Use natural wood as trellisUse natural wood as trellis

Tie together natural wood pruned from trees to use as trellis or plant supports as in this On Our Wavelength showcase garden by Kim O’Brien.

Top garden ideas - use logs for edging or vertical interestTop garden ideas - use logs for edging or vertical interest

Top garden ideas – use logs for edging or vertical interest – also in Kim O’Brien’s On Our Wavelength garden. Wood edging, obelisks etc won’t last as long as steel or plastics, but they will last several years. And as they slowly break down, they offer benefits to wildlife as the bugs break them down and the birds eat the bugs.

The Thrive Garden by Alexandra Bailey for Thrive and Gardening for Health shows bug hotels on the sides of wooden raised beds.The Thrive Garden by Alexandra Bailey for Thrive and Gardening for Health shows bug hotels on the sides of wooden raised beds.

Thrive and Gardening for Health show garden by Alexandra Bailey featured bug hotels on the sides of wooden raised beds.

Fee fi fo forage garden by Jemma Wylie and Rhona Glynn.Fee fi fo forage garden by Jemma Wylie and Rhona Glynn.

This garden combines edible and ornamental flowers – one of the other top garden ideas at BBC Gardeners World Live 2024. It also featured a willow arch, log pavers, log seating and bark chip paths. The Fee fi fo forage garden by Jemma Wylie and Rona Glynn.

The Viewers Garden by Pip Probert with raised beds made from wooden pallets.The Viewers Garden by Pip Probert with raised beds made from wooden pallets.

The Viewers Garden by Pip Probert with raised beds made from wooden pallets.

Top garden ideas with corten steel

Corten steel has been around for a few years now, but it works beautifully in either contemporary or naturalistic gardens. It has the strong lines for modern design and the weathered texture for the natural look.

Contemporary clean lines and corten steel in the Costa Cadiz garden by Anna Helps. Note that she's also using logs as upright vertical interest.Contemporary clean lines and corten steel in the Costa Cadiz garden by Anna Helps. Note that she's also using logs as upright vertical interest.

Contemporary clean lines and corten steel in the Costa Cadiz garden by Anna Helps. Note that she’s also using logs as upright vertical interest.

Corten steel step uprights, seating and moon gate (not seen) in the Lunatica Garden by Josh Fenton.Corten steel step uprights, seating and moon gate (not seen) in the Lunatica Garden by Josh Fenton.

Corten steel step uprights, seating, pond and moon gate (not seen) in the Lunatica Garden by Josh Fenton.

Flora and Flavour by Hannah Reid was another 'edimentals' garden, mixing veg and flowers. The pond is corten steel. Flora and Flavour by Hannah Reid was another 'edimentals' garden, mixing veg and flowers. The pond is corten steel.

Flora and Flavour by Hannah Reid was another ‘edimentals’ garden, mixing veg and flowers. The pond is corten steel.

Edimentals – the veg beds are no longer the Cinderella of the garden

The days when you tucked your veg growing out of sight are gone. Most of us don’t have large enough gardens, and we’re also letting go of some of the sterner aspects of gardening.

You don’t have to grow veg in rows any more, and there is some benefit to mixing in flowers. It attracts pollinators and the scents can confuse pests.

This concept has been around for a few years, but is now going mainstream in terms of top garden ideas. At BBC Gardeners World Live it’s led by Adam Frost’s The Chef’s Table garden.

Adam Frost explained that he had a vision of a chef who didn’t immediately take much notice of his garden. Then he realises that there’s an old apple tree. He begins to grow herbs and salads, and slowly discovers that he can create wonderful unusual flavours by using edible plants that aren’t usually sold in shops.

Eat where you grow your vegetables and surround your seating area with planting - two top garden ideas showcased here by Adam Frost in his Chefs' Table garden.Eat where you grow your vegetables and surround your seating area with planting - two top garden ideas showcased here by Adam Frost in his Chefs' Table garden.

Eat where you grow your vegetables and surround your seating area with planting – two top garden ideas showcased here by Adam Frost in his Chefs’ Table garden.

Also in Adam Frost's garden: tomatoes, berries and beans growing with lupins, salvia, eryngium and other flowers. Many of the flowers in this garden were also edible.Also in Adam Frost's garden: tomatoes, berries and beans growing with lupins, salvia, eryngium and other flowers. Many of the flowers in this garden were also edible.

Also in Adam Frost’s garden: tomatoes, berries and beans growing with lupins, salvia, eryngium and other flowers. Many of the flowers in this garden were also edible.

Outdoor kitchens were a trend at BBC Gardeners World Live 2024. They're quite an investment but Adam says that this is a standard shed (and he's looking forward to re-locating it to his own garden!)Outdoor kitchens were a trend at BBC Gardeners World Live 2024. They're quite an investment but Adam says that this is a standard shed (and he's looking forward to re-locating it to his own garden!)

Outdoor kitchens are another trend at BBC Gardeners World Live 2024. They’re quite an investment but Adam says that this is a standard shed (and he’s looking forward to re-locating it to his own garden!)

Living amongst the food you grow is spreading to allotment plots. This is based on Ben Shutler's own allotment and garden.Living amongst the food you grow is spreading to allotment plots. This is based on Ben Shutler's own allotment and garden.

Living amongst the food you grow is spreading to allotment plots. This is based on Ben Shutler’s own allotment and garden. He says he wanted to show how you could keep chickens and grow flowers and veg together.

Ponds are better than water features!

One of the best things we can do for biodiversity is have a garden pond, however small. There are posts on how to make a mini pond out of an oak barrel or a container pond here.

They’re very easy care if you follow a few simple rules (in the posts I’ve mentioned.)

A simple dish pond on the Following in My Footsteps garden by Leanne Wood.A simple dish pond on the Following in My Footsteps garden by Leanne Wood.

A simple dish pond on the Following in My Footsteps garden by Leanne Wood. This is an easy-care concept, but you need to remember to keep it topped up in hot or dry weather.

A small pond dug into the ground in the Stop and Smell the Flowers garden by Julie Haylock.A small pond dug into the ground in the Stop and Smell the Flowers garden by Julie Haylock.

A small pond dug into the ground in the Stop and Smell the Flowers garden by Julie Haylock. This has the word ‘reflect’ in corten steel across the pond so that you see it reflected on a sunny day!

Colour in garden furniture and outdoor kitchens

Garden furniture adds pops of colour to a garden – all year round! Garden furniture has been somewhat dreary for a while now, so it’s good to see some new designs and good colours.

However, colour isn’t the most important aspect of choosing garden furniture. Read how to choose the best garden furniture before you buy!

I love these blue chairs in the Lunatica garden by Josh Fenton.I love these blue chairs in the Lunatica garden by Josh Fenton.

I love these blue chairs in the Lunatica garden by Josh Fenton. Using furniture to add a pop of colour really works.

Stop and Smell the Flowers by Julie Haylock was another exceptionally pretty garden. The pink garden chair and table really show off the planting.Stop and Smell the Flowers by Julie Haylock was another exceptionally pretty garden. The pink garden chair and table really show off the planting.

Stop and Smell the Flowers by Julie Haylock was another exceptionally pretty garden. The pink garden chair and table really show off the planting.

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Top garden ideas from BBC Gardeners World Live 2024 Top garden ideas from BBC Gardeners World Live 2024