Contrasting background colors. Contrast is king in garden spaces. Often, contrast can be created by various hardscape and softscape elements, but attention should be paid to color tones too. In this garden by Andy Sturgeon, a rich, dark gray wall provides the perfect backdrop to emphasize the contrasting colors and forms of the foliage in front.
Incorporating industrial materials. Cor-Ten steel has become a very popular material in the garden. Its color tone contrasts beautifully with the surrounding foliage in this garden space designed by John Warland and Sim Flemons. The materials's corrugated texture makes for interesting shadows cast from trees.
Low-maintenance lawn substitutes. Meadow gardens were a big trend at this year's show, popping up in both traditional and more abstract applications. Meadow gardens are a great low-maintenance alternative to lawns, because they require much less water and upkeep. Paths can be cut through the meadow for access, and the flowers simply reseed themselves.
Classical ideas in modern settings. Pleached hedges, a classical form of living architecture resembling hedges on stilts, are making a comeback in modern garden design. This garden by Arne Maynard effectively uses pleached hedges to create enclosure down the path while allowing garden beds to flow seamlessly through the garden.
Controlling movement through the garden. The way you move through the garden is an important consideration. Breaking up a path with stepping stones, like in this garden by Chris Gutteridge, is a great way to encourage visitors to slow down and enjoy the surroundings.
Smart spatial solutions. In this garden, Jason Hodges found a great solution for a difficult angle transition from the stairs to the paving stones. The threshold planting of black mondo grass adds an interesting contrasting texture to the space and complements the color tones of the spiky phormiums in the background.