The trend that's taking over our outdoor decor – everything you need to know

The subtle look of the ombre trend is proving a hit this summer as we seek out a laid-back, chilled-out look for our backyards and gardens

ombre effect fence painted in multiple pastel colors
(Image credit: Sadolin)

We’ve seen it on hair, on the catwalk, nail art and even celebration cakes. Now the ombre trend has made it outdoors, with gradients of color adorning fences, sheds, rugs and cushions. 

Ombre is a popular garden trend because it helps to establish a theme in a garden, pulling complementary shades together, says Matthew Brown, technical consultant for Sadolin (opens in new tab) and Sandtex outdoor paint. 

'One thing we often recommend regardless of the size of the garden, is to consider creating a theme around which your colors and accessories naturally flow,' adds. 'A Mediterranean-themed space with warm earthy tones such as reds, browns, oranges as well as blues makes for a stunning exotic environment, for example.'

brown and yellow painted fence behind a garden bench

(Image credit: Sadolin)

The origins of the ombre trend

The word ‘ombre’ has its roots in Latin languages. It comes from the French word ombrer’ which means to shade, and the Italian words ombrare’ and umbra’, translated as 'to shade or shadow.' 

It came into fashion in Victorian times when textile machinery became capable of creating fabrics incorporating several different gradient shades.

Ombre is a perfect choice when you’re planning an easy-going garden color scheme, bringing to mind sunny holidays and poolside vibes. 

'I love the flow that ombre creates,' says interior designer Alex Alonso, founder of Mr Alex Tate (opens in new tab). 'It gives the eye a soft progression, and it allows you to be more playful with color in a space without being too dramatic or harsh in the transition.'

garden fence painted in multiple pastel shades for an ombre effect

(Image credit: Sadolin)

Using ombre paint effects outdoors

If you’re looking for simple ways to use paint to brighten up your garden, it’s easy to create an ombre effect on a shed, garden wall or as part of your garden fence decoration ideas

Matthew Brown explains how to create the effect on a wall: 'Pick two shades of paint you would like to create the ombre effect with, one light, one slightly darker. First paint the whole wall in the lighter shade and let it fully dry. 

'Next, apply the darker color to the bottom section of the area. On a separate board, mix together the two colors you’ve used and apply them to the middle portion of your wall with a feathering brush, to achieve a soft gradient. 

'Finally, run a clean roller on the divide, to achieve a seamlessly blended look.' 

ombre effect wall behind an outdoor sofa and table

(Image credit: Made.com)

If you don't want want to create anything as permanent as this in your outdoor space, but still want to tap into the ombre trend, there are plenty of outdoor accessories that will introduce this playful look into your space. 

From ombre-effect outdoor rugs to colorful cushions, you don't have to spend a fortune to work this on-trend look successfully. 

Will you be trying this simple garden decor update this summer?

ombre effect outdoor rug and white chair on a patio

(Image credit: Cuckooland)
Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.