The return of the garden gnome - the retro trend gardeners are returning to

These winsome little garden friends are everywhere this year, so experts tell us why the trend for gnomes is taking off

three pastel gnomes holding a sign
(Image credit: Wisteria Tree)

You may think gnomes belong in your granny’s garden, but characterful plaster-cast or resin ornaments are back in fashion. These days though, these cute characters are as likely to be striking a yoga position or posing for a selfie as fishing or leaning on a spade.

According to new research from Atlas Ceramics garden gnomes are in the top five garden trends for 2022, along with raised garden beds, bird baths, garden benches, and pergolas. The #gardengnome hashtag gained 17,300,000 views on social media platform TikTok last year, according to the garden ornaments company. 

The garden gnome trend returns

'We’ve all spent a lot of time in our gardens over the past couple of years, as we were unable to escape to other green spaces like parks,' says Mike Head, director at Atlas Ceramics. 'This really shows in the resurgence of some of the more old-fashioned garden features, including gnomes and bird baths.'

gnome in a swing with a red hat

(Image credit: Wayfair)

If this sounds like one of the worst garden trends you can imagine they could actually be good luck omens. Garden gnomes first appeared in our gardens in the 1800s says Nadia McCowan Hill, resident style advisor for online homes and gardens retailer Wayfair. 'Garden gnomes are commonly known as symbols of good luck.' 

Mike says that it’s believed their family history starts even further back; as mini scarecrows to protect crops from birds.

Wayfair

(Image credit: Gnomes)

Available in all shapes and sizes and ideal as a gift for the gardener with everything, gnomes have grown to be a fun, statement piece that you can use to show off your personality believes Mike. 

'With gnomes available as part of beer kegs, or in football kits, or in life-sizes, they are a great talking point for your garden,' he says. 'As we go into warmer weather, more people will be socializing outside, and their gnomes provide an easy conversation-starter.'

tree gnomes with owl

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Nadia adds that the gnome trend is evidence that the maximalism trend so popular in our homes is heading outdoors. If you want to get creative, you can even create a full-on woodland scene with gnomish ornaments as the star of the show.

At homes and garden retailer Olive & Sage, founder Kealy McLeod says she’s seen demand for gnomes – and other garden characters such as fairies and pixies – surge over the past couple of years. Fairy garden ideas were even trending last year in 2021.

'We feel this is due to the trend towards retro and unusual pieces for the garden, and we also believe that people are searching for garden decor that will bring joy and a little bit of fun to their outdoor spaces.'

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning freelance gardening, homes and property writer who writes about everything from swimming ponds to skyscraper apartments, for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. Awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021, she has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and a lifelong love of homes, interiors and gardens. Her first memories include planting potatoes with her grandfather and drawing houses. Her own garden - her fourth - at home in a 1920s house in Yorkshire, is south-facing and on the side of a valley. It’s a constant challenge