In a previous professional life, I spent many hours  forecasting  fashion trends.  For me, this is still an integral part of what I do as a designer.  This week I’ve been asked to submit my ideas for 2010 landscape design trends for use in various ways (more on that at a later date).   Trendspotting might seem paradoxical to gardening–with its self image of dirty wellies and hands in the soil, but it’s not.

An accurate and viable trend forecast is not something you just pull out of your hat.  Forecasting is research based and takes knowledge and just more than a little bit of intuition.  A wide variety of influential sources are used to make trend predictions:  business and consumer trends, pop culture, lifestyle trends, what’s happening in other design disciplines, books people are reading, movies they are watching,  etc., etc., etc.

The example below is not a trend prediction, but these photos collected over the last year in my ‘idea’ file point in a direction that shows the trajectory of a possibly emerging trend for garden furniture and accessories.  The illustrations show one small idea in what could become part of a larger trend of looking to nature to inspire garden accessories and furniture.

A bird's nest

The next photo is known as ‘The Bird’s Nest’ and was not necessarily inspired by a real nest but it is its visual cousin and was seen by billions of people as part of the 2008 Olympics.  Hmmm.  Architecture and sports influencing garden trends?

Bejing Olympic Stadium

The DeCastelli chairs, ‘bird’s nest’ fence at Terrain and a firebowl from Anna Columbo all support this trend idea.

DeCastelli Chairs
Fence at Terrain
Core ten fire bowl

And lastly, the photo below is on the back cover of the current issue of Garden Design–note the name of the furniture- New Bird’s Nest…

Often emerging trends are alien looking.   We’re not ready for that yet.   Think about all of the times you have seen someone wearing something and you think to yourself ‘I would never…’ and then a year later you’re buying it as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.  That happened because the arc of the trend (sometimes years long) reached your market.

Below is a well researched trend report on broad garden trends for 2010 from The Garden Media Group.  Take a look and use your own powers of observation to connect the garden trend dots.

9 thoughts on “Trendspotting

  1. Susan, I agree. I adore this natural woven or nest look. The first things that comes to mind are the structure in the movie Where the Wild Things Are and Patrick Dougherty’s work (that you introduced me to).

    Because I want this look in my garden, I keep threatening to construct a composting fence, similar to this one featured in the Seattle Times:
    Not only will it look good, but it’s functional too.

    See, Angela. You’re connecting more dots and they’re absolutely spot on!

  2. Susan, I love the core ten fire bowl. Where can I find out more about it?

    You can click on Anna Columbo’s link above that series of images. It will take you to her amazing website.

  3. Super cool fence idea! I gotta build one of those one of these days! Perfect for the kiwi too. Thanks Angela! Talk about trends: I’m putting in another fire pit. The stainless double circle just got shipped. These are fun and so satisfying.

    Dave…it’s not the fire pit, it’s the fire bowl that looks like a nest. Sounds like yours is going to be very contemporary.

  4. In my former life -I handled trends for a major dinnerware company – but now have my own shop selling native plants and garden giftware. Love your report — and have just finished handcrafted about 75 nests to sell at the local garden shows.

    There are fewer of us out there than you would think…those who try and connect the dots as it were…

  5. Great article! I read this like I was in a class. I am sure I will have to go over it again and again to digest all of the information.

    That is a huge compliment–if every student I had was that dedicated…

  6. It is refreshing to see the push for education with the younger generations. We are teaching a class on beginner vegetable gardening this week to a group of 25-35 year olds who just want some basics to get started. Very exciting stuff for those of us who have been gardening for so many years to be able to pass information on to the generations who will pass it on to their kids!

  7. That Bird’s Nest is Fab and good to see all the follow on stuff. I was intrigued to read that they say perennials and shrubs are in. Perennials have been in for yonks, but shrubs have been the unsung heroes for years!

    I have been thinking for some years that they were due for a rennaisance. And the weather spiral we are into year after year now seems to suit them better, with heaps more blossom than we have had for years.

    Will shrubberies become the new sex?!


    Sex in the shrubs might be a trend…hmmm

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