Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

The best and worst garden trends

Published: 10 June 2020 - Alex Fordham

The best and worst garden trends of all time have been revealed by leading tool firm Draper Tools - with bird feeders and vegetable patches among the good, and gnomes and fake grass among the bad. The study of 2,000 UK adults with gardens also found that over a third of people say improving their garden is a priority right now, with almost 2 in 5 people planning to spend more on their garden this year than ever before.

Water features, summer houses and decking are viewed favourably among green-fingered Brits – as are herb gardens, living walls and outdoors kitchens. However, the nation is less enamoured with hot tubs, trampolines and wind chimes – and they’re also not keen on fences painted with orange wood stain, or conifers.

Sustainability in the garden is increasingly popular too, with trends including composting and wildflowers or wild meadows making the top 30 list. Added to this, over half of the nation said the best thing about having a garden was attracting birds and wildlife to it. And a further third of people said the best thing was growing their own good.

Commissioned to support the wide range of gardening essentials available from Draper Tools, the study found 83% of the population believe they have impeccable taste when it comes to their garden. Although 4 in 10 admit they regret some decisions they’ve made in relation to their outside space.

Kev Smith head of marketing at Draper Tools said: “The research goes to show just how passionate we are as a nation about our gardens – clearly those polled have strong opinions on what works and what doesn’t.”

“In fact, 70% of people told us their garden is their ‘happy place’, so while garden choices will always be a very personal, individual thing, it’s certainly fascinating to find out what’s popular with the nation right now.”

There was further encouraging news for garden retailers, with 70% of people agreeing that spending money on the garden is a worthwhile investment and almost the same number saying it’s worth investing in quality garden tools too. The research also found Britain’s interest in their outside space is intensifying with more than 2 in 5 people admitting they’ve become more passionate about gardening in recent weeks.

Garden inspiration                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           It was found that garden retailers play a key role in enthusing Britain’s gardeners with 3 in 10 people say they get most of their inspiration from visiting garden centres. Gardening TV programmes were also cited as also a popular source (26%) – as were family members (21%).

Around a quarter of gardeners revealed they make a concerted effort to keep up to date with the latest trends in the world of gardening.

When shopping for the garden the chances are Brits won’t be spending too much time looking at items such as shoe planters resembling old shoes, faux bicycle planters or metal wall ornaments resembling birds, animals or butterflies.

These are all considered to be bad trends – as are artificial topiary balls, sonic animal repellers and patio heaters.

However, some fashions have divided the nation’s gardeners – namely that staple of 1990s gardening TV shows, decking.

Wildlife enticing garden trends such as hedgehog homes, meadow areas and bumblebee nest boxes fall safely into the good trends list. As do tree houses, lanterns and ponds.

A nation of garden lovers                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Over the course of a typical 12-month period, those polled will spend a total of 86 hours working away on their beloved gardens – that’s three days and 14 hours.

Further to this, seven in 10 said they have been spending more time in their garden during recent weeks.

Kev Smith of Draper Tools added: “The findings suggest those lucky enough to have a garden are very thankful to have one.”

“And rightly so, because gardens can be a wonderful and rewarding place to escape to – I know mine is and I love nothing more than relaxing in the hot tub with a gin…though clearly I’m off trend!”


Bird feeders

Vegetable gardens

Water features

Lanterns/outdoor lights

Summer houses

Hanging baskets

Bird bath

Herb garden

Solar lighting

Green houses

Raised garden beds


Hedgehog homes


Wild meadow area/growing of wildflowers

Fire pits


Built in BBQ/Outdoor kitchen


Garden pathways/stepping stones

Bumblebee nest boxes

Rose gardens

Tree houses

Rock gardens

Terracotta plant pots

Patio heaters

Garden bar/pub in a shed

Living walls

Repurposing household items to grow plants in - such as bathtubs, sinks, old bikes

Bird/animal box cameras




Fake grass

Plastic ornaments

Fake animal/bird statues e.g. Flamingos

Artificial topiary balls

Buddha statues


Hot tubs

Recycled old tires as plant containers

Pub in a shed


Fences painted with orange wood stain

Wind chimes

Shoe planter (a planter that looks like a shoe)

Fairy gardens (tiny mini gardens for fairies)

Pretend bicycle planters

Metal bird/animal/butterfly wall ornaments

Garden tiki bar

Repurposing household items to grow plants in - such as bathtubs, sinks, old bikes

Outdoors beanbags

Crazy paving

Sonic animal repellers



Patio heaters

Gas powered barbecues

Fire pits

Topiary (trimming hedges into shapes)


Decorative crates




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