As usual, we were on the lookout for the top Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2022 trends at this year's event. And amongst all the fabulous flowers and lovely landscaping, there were a few features that really stood out.
Hampton Court Flower Show has a slightly more relaxed, 'festival' feel than Chelsea Flower Show, but the gardens are just as spectacular. From the smaller 'Get Started' plots to the larger gardens by renowned designers – some of which visitors can walk through – it's always a hub of inspiration for every plant enthusiast.
From statement water features to dazzling dry gardens, we've rounded up our top highlights that made an impact this year, all of which could be applied to our own gardens back home on a smaller budget.
6 beautiful Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2022 trends that we loved
These looks will get you inspired for a stylish update to your outdoor space.
1. Wonderful water bowls
Incorporating water into outdoor spaces has been a garden trend spotted across both Chelsea and Hampton flower shows in 2022. But at Hampton, we couldn't help noticing the more minimal approach. By this, we mean the prevalence of simple water bowls.
Perhaps the most obvious example was Mark Gregory's 'RHS Planet-Friendly Garden' (opens in new tab), where a large, metal bowl took center stage. More water bowls, gently flowing into one another, were tucked amongst the surrounding borders. Their soothing sound upped the peaceful ambiance of the space.
Matthew Childs' gold-medal-winning design (opens in new tab), filled with hot-toned planting against a backdrop of a deep-blue wall, also featured a circular water feature in terms of a pond topped with delicate water lilies. And in 'The Vitamin G Garden' (opens in new tab), a circular, Corten steel water feature babbled beside a dining area, while another water bowl complemented circular planters and an above-ground plunge pool on the other side of the plot.
2. Sleek and contemporary outdoor living
Over the last few years, the trend of using our gardens as extensions of our indoor spaces has become more popular than ever before. This means creating areas for entertaining, cooking, dining, and socializing, often complete with heating and lighting solutions. And at Hampton Court, we noticed how these outdoor-living spaces utilized plenty of simple, sleek patio furniture ideas for a cool and contemporary look.
Samuel Moore's 'The SunsLifestyle Outdoor Living Garden' (opens in new tab) stood out with its glass-paneled garden building, built-in gas fireplace, bar, and a comfy daybed surrounded by scented plants. Showing us around the garden, he explained how large, solar-powered lanterns were included for a 'decadent and ambient' impact. 'All the furniture doesn't need covers,' he added, pointing to the stylish gray sofa. 'It's all quick-dry foam, so within half an hour of rain you can sit on it again.'
Meanwhile, Rhiannon Williams' garden (opens in new tab) included a sleek bar table and modern, gray seating surrounded by large planters. 'The Vitamin G Garden' also fitted the contemporary theme with its sculptural dining chairs and a statement red bench.
3. Rocky landscaping
Another of the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2022 trends that would be simple to recreate was the use of gravel, stones, and pebbles.
Samuel Moore's design incorporated landscaping with boulders beautifully: 'they break the planting up,' he explained. Describing them as small accents, he added how they also bring an element of structure and hardness to the scene amongst all the perennial planting. Statement boulders were also included in Matthew Childs' design, as well as Sarah Eberle's (opens in new tab).
Landscaping with gravel was used by many of the designers across the festival, too. Hamzah-Adam Desai's 'Turfed Out' (opens in new tab), for instance, showcased a striking sea of purple and yellow drought-tolerant blooms planted directly into the graveled floor.
There were also lots of gravel garden paths: the curved, sloping example in 'The Wooden Spoon Garden' (opens in new tab), for instance, and the winding walkways through 'RHS Forest Bathing Garden' (opens in new tab) and 'A Journey, in collaboration with Sue Ryder' (opens in new tab).
We've always been advocates for gravel due to its low-maintenance and affordable nature, and it was great to see its versatility across the different types of show gardens.
4. Upright timbers
Another of our favorite Hampton Court Flower Show 2022 trends was the creative use of timber.
Katherine Holland's design used weathered oak posts of different heights which added drama and structure on either side of the central path. And Alan Williams and Jo Whiley's garden used timber in a similar way to define two patio spaces.
Meanwhile, Toni Bowater and Lucy Welsh's design included landscaping with timbers in a few different ways. Upright posts formed structural bird feeders and a small water fountain, while the sunken seating space was surrounded by sturdy timber block seating.
We also spotted timber sleepers being used as rustic flooring and pathways. The versatility of the material was demonstrated beautifully.
5. Wild and weedy planting
'Weeds and the wild look are still "on-trend" this year,' says Garry Coward-Williams, Editor of Amateur Gardening. 'The success of the "Rewilding garden" at The Chelsea Flower Show has spurred other designers to follow suit, with Ryan McMahon's "Connections" garden (opens in new tab) at Hampton Court a superior example.
'Essentially it is a meadow planting, with a mix of 35 plant varieties in white, cream, and green including tussock grass, wild carrot, scabiosa, astrantia, achillea, and, poppies to create a random wildness,' he continues. 'The overall effect is calming and tranquil, making it a beautiful space to inhabit. I found myself wanting to spend all my time there.
'You could create your own small-scale version in a partially shady (less used) part of the garden, but the trick is to underplay the color,' Garry says. 'Keeping it to white, cream, and green helped to create a calm and relaxing environment: turning off the color is a smart trick.'
6. Corten steel features
Corten steel is certainly still in vogue and was used in all sorts of garden features throughout the showground.
From oversized planters and water features to garden edging, its rusted patina added an element of industrial-chic to plenty of plots. But the most show-stopping example had to be its inclusion in the 'Sunburst' garden, designed by Charlie Bloom and Simon Webster (opens in new tab). The ornate screens created a beautiful backdrop to the water feature and vibrant planting, while moongates drew the eye through the center of the space.
Durable as well as aesthetically pleasing, this is a material that won't be disappearing from stylish garden design ideas any time soon.