5 Landscaping Trends in 2020 | 5: Container Gardening

It’s hard to go wrong with container gardening. Believe me. There is nothing more flexible in gardening as growing stuff in pots. Once sowed, or planted, a pot can be moved anywhere and can be put in all manner of arrangements to create the beautiful vista you desire.

And potted plants are not limited to particular plants, anything can be grown in an appropriate pot. I’ve seen huge olives, washingtonias, plumerias, lemons, oranges, and many other types of trees happily ensconced in pots. Some pots are huge and unwieldy to be sure, but they too can be moved.

There is also nothing stopping you from planting other types of fruits and vegetables in pots. Many have done so very successfully. 

Containers need not be the typical pot-style either. Containers come in all shapes and sizes too. Round, oval, square, irregular, rectangle are just some of the shapes available as are the sizes and material used to manufacture them. Pots are available in clay and porcelain – which are the traditional material used and now more popularly, plastics and fibre glass which makes them light and ideal for rooftop and balcony uses.

You can also satisfy your design senses with pots of different colours, and I predict that as in 2020 the colour “Classic Blue” has been declared the colour of the year by Pantone, expect to see many blue pots available for sale this year, not that blue has not been a classic pot colour in gardening for millennia that is, so we gardeners are ahead of the curve there.

Here are some potted gardens for your inspiration. Show us yours by sending your pictures to hello@gardenaffairs.me or tag them #gardenaffairs.me for others to enjoy and be inspired by your efforts.

Happy gardening!

5 Landscaping Trends in 2020 | 4: Vertical Gardens

Vertical garden, living wall, green wall and living green walls are some of the names that indicate the same thing: plants positioned vertically and normally fed hydroponically to fill a wall with greenery and flowers. These walls can be internal or external, as small as a picture frame or a gigantic 20-meter installation.

This need not be complicated, so don’t be intimidated. The simplest vertical garden you can easily create is to hang a few potted plants on your wall. Place a few brackets and hang the pots on them, and hey presto, you have a green living wall.

But as you might have guessed, simple ideas are just too simple for people, so some complication can actually bring pleasure to some people. And in comes the myriad of cups, pots, plastic sleeves and trellises for people to while away their time with, and some will actually create some beautiful arrangements with.

These pre-fabricated vertical installations are mostly like socks that can receive a plant or planter, and then some sort of piping and drip system will be utilized to water them at regular intervals. What you can plant here is up to your imagination; you can plant herbs, annuals and perennials to suit your design scheme and needs.

What comes after that is the regular garden maintenance chores; pruning, feeding, fertilising, pest control, dead-heading, etc. These green walls – like any regular garden – can last for many happy years amply rewarding you with good dividends on your investment of time and energy. 

I’m not going to go in to the how-to’s in building such a wall, but I’ll share with you some examples to get your imagination going. Here are just four installations, let me know what you think in the comments:

And, as usual, if you have created a vertical garden installation, please share your pictures and experiences. Email me at hello@gardenaffairs.me or WhatsApp me on +973-33442255. We’ll be happy to create green walls for you too. Again, just give us a buzz to start the conversation.

Happy gardening!

5 Landscaping Trends in 2020 | 3: Rooftop Gardens

Most of our roofs in Bahrain are underutilized. At best, they are those spaces onto which we install air-conditioning units, water heaters and tanks. They are spaces that we rarely visit, unless something goes wrong with one or more of those services that is.

It’s a situation that is actually understandable, what with the extreme temperatures we have to contend with. Temperatures closing in on 50 degrees Celsius in the summer are no joke! Why would anyone venture on roofs?

So the problems that our roofs present us include: an inhospitable environment due to high temperatures through most of the year and underutilized space which is prioritized for home support systems.

We need a solution that will essentially make that roof space more welcoming.

The ready solution to correct this situation is to create a garden on the roof! With an established garden, you will reduce the ambient temperature due to the presence of plants and moisture. You will have also very essentially reduced the overall temperature of the house itself and with that, reduce your energy bills. The trees, shrubs and grasses will provide shade and invite feathered friends and beneficial insects into the space. And et voila! You will have made a space that is very welcoming for you, your family and friends to enjoy throughout the year. 

Now, Imagine the time you can spend in your rooftop Haven in the early evening breeze amongst plants, enjoying a glass of tea while watching the sun going down?

Sounds enticing? You bet!

Apart from the aesthetics and tranquility such a rooftop garden offers, it also receives the most sun (and rain, if and when it happens) in the house, therefore it’s naturally the ideal location for your agricultural efforts. Take the opportunity to grow some easy crops like fruit and vegetables in raised planters on your rooftop.

Now that the roof is green, cool and a beautiful place to while away the time, it naturally becomes a welcoming space to greet family and friends. Add a BBQ and you have most of the components of a fantastic friendly get-together.

Another benefit of rooftop gardens is the appreciation of the price of the property. That wow factor will add a sizable amount to the property’s value.

So go ahead and start your planting efforts on your roof. You don’t need to go all in at once. Start small and grow (pun intended) from there. Start with easy crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and the like. Just install a hose pipe for watering your crops and off you go.

But before you do that though, it’s important to ascertain that your building’s structure can handle the extra weight of planters, soil and other material and also make sure that the water proofing is good too. The last thing you want to do is dismantle a part of the new garden to re-do your water proofing. Check with your home’s builder or engineer to make sure that it’s okay to go ahead with this scheme.

Once you do get the go-ahead, use light-weight material anyway like plastic planters and pots, mix vermiculite with your compost and soil to reduce weight, and put in some styrofoam at the bottom third of your planters to reduce the weight even further.

There are various other structures you can install on your roof to beauty the place up and provide practical shade as well; pergolas, awnings and shades are ideal for this. Costs vary widely though so you’ll have to shop around to get a solution that is within your budget. Talk to us if you’re interested as we provide these items too.

Do you use your roof for planting? Please share your pictures with us so we can feature your efforts. Please email them to hello@gardenaffairs.me

Happy planting!

5 Landscaping Trends in 2020 | 2: Transitional and Contemporary Gardens

I wonder, what image comes into your mind if I were to ask you what a transitional and contemporary landscaping design looks like to you?

Would an image of an austere space with steel and glass pop into your mind? Maybe with minimalist design, straight lines, light colors and lights integrated within that image too?

That might very well be an accurate description of that “modern” trend, but it needn’t be as plain as that though. A “modern” or “contemporary” design to me includes a translation of global issues and challenges fused with traditional aspects of landscape design. 

The contemporary part would consider the environment and the impact a garden will have on it. For instance, that design might prefer water consumption aware plants and design techniques to expansive lawns. The use of modern energy efficient and law voltage LED lights to tungsten, and the incorporation of water features into the design.

Other modern integrations into the landscape design might include an audio system distribution, wifi enabled and computer controlled smart irrigation systems that test the soil and decide how much water is needed at that particular moment. This will ensure that no water is wasted and is used in an optimal fashion, and a lighting system that adjusts to the ambient light.

Areas used by people are given a high priority in the design stage. They are the areas most used after all, and these hardscape areas will utilize a mix of material to suit the design ethos and might include marble, wood, steel, water and other elements to answer that design need.

Let’s not forget the plants. In contemporary design, functional selection of plants outweigh just the beauty aspects. Trees will be chosen to offer focal points in the design as well as the required shade, especially in our arid Bahraini climate. Shrubs need to be chosen and installed appropriately as well and long grasses will be used to soften the edges of the design.

Overall, we’ll also ensure that maintenance requirements are kept to the minimum too. We recognize that families now have to spend countless hours at work and the last thing they want to do is take from their relaxation hours and put them into garden maintenance.

The landscape will be designed with the idea that a garden is an extension of the house. It too is a livable space; hence, it will offer a natural bridge between the inside and the outside of the house. It is a room without a ceiling after all.

The garden is designed for the whole family to use and enjoy, so sitting and play areas should be clearly visible and inviting, not be hidden away in back lots and corners.

With this in mind, we know that our contemporary landscape design will benefit all, and be of utility to them too for a very long time to come.

So you see, a contemporary design reflects the practicality of your vision and style. It’s flexible and customisable to its users’ needs and vision to be used and enjoyed.

5 Landscaping Trends in 2020 | 1: Ponds & Water Features

In the series we’ll share our predictions of what we think the trend in landscaping in 2020 will be: the first of our predictions is that the importance of water features will be fully appreciated this year. From ponds to wall waterfalls to fountains.

Why?

Well consider this list of 7 benefits of water features in gardens:

  1. Water cools down your garden, and we know how desperate we need that in our climate in Bahrain.
  2. A water feature invites local wildlife to your garden; from birds to dragonflies to other beneficial insects. This adds a lot of variety to the garden rather than a simple austere greenery. The chirping of birds bathing, frolicking and drinking from your water feature is enough benefits to justify having a water feature!
  3. A water feature is infinitely customizable and that makes your garden quite unique.
  4. Water features don’t need much maintenance. If you install the properly sized filter and pump, it will really look after itself for a good period of time.
  5. Water features do not require much space in your garden! A pondless fountain will take very little space for instance. Same with a wall fountain if installed correctly.
  6. Water features project size to your garden. The reflective properties of water allows for this phenomenon. You can augment that by installing dark lining to your water feature and provide some underwater lights.
  7. Most of all, water features creates serenity and tranquility in the garden, especially in noisy neighborhoods by attenuating external noises. All you need to create a peaceful haven in your garden is to install a fountain or even better a pond with some fish. Plant some water lilies or some fragrant flowers on the boarder of the pond and you will have made your tranquility dream come true!

Tomorrow we’ll be sharing our thoughts on modern or transitional landscape design and the elements that this design philosophy encompasses.