Gone are the days of large English country- or lush tropical gardens. Here is the new gardening trend…

Gardening styles have had to adapt to increasingly busy lifestyles and climate change.

“Gardens today are sleek and stylish, yet sustainable and water-smart,” says Mimi Rupp, a respected garden designer and champion of water-wise gardens.

She says that, in the US this garden style is being called ‘New Age Minimalist’ (NAM) and each detail in a garden is designed to be savoured.

“NAM gardens show off pared-down plantings that emulate art, or Chanel’s classic LBD.”

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NAM gardening tips

Here are some suggestions to help spark your creativity and help you embrace this gardening trend:

1. Create a backdrop

Use vivid wall colours to act as backdrops for sculptural plants, such as this trio of Aloe ferox with its ‘candlelabra’ form, with a pair of Echinocactus grusonii (golden barrel cactus) for textural contrast.

2. Add drama

Imagine a pair of Pachypodium lamerii (Madagascar Bottle Tree) which fan out in front of a mustard-coloured wall where they create the illusion of a giant abstract painting. Later, when bright green leaves sprout along the stems and white flowers appear, the golden background will make those colours pop. Add up-lighting for a bit of drama at night.  

3. Plant en masse

The use of clever planting of succulents can create a mesmerising effect. Imagine tiny rosettes of mixed Echeveria, and lime-green Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, widely spaced and surrounded by pebble mulch. They would look like anemones on the sea bed, and a reedy Chondropetalum tectorum, could play the role of kelp, moving in the breeze. 

4. Layer

Perch Tillandsia (air plants) on a tree branch with rosettes firmly attached to tails of Spanish moss (another type of Tillandsia) that are draped over the branch so they move in the breeze.

3. Fill small spaces

Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria) is normally a houseplant, but it can be grown outdoors where winters are mild, to beautifully fill narrow borders.

5. Concentrate on colour

Picture the cool glamour of blue Fescue and silver Puya as they shimmer in a sunny border.

Use companions like Phormium ‘Amazing Red’ and thread-leaf Nandina (N. domestica ‘Filamentosa’) with a brushed stainless steel screen behind to contribute some additional glamour.

For more gardening ideas and tips, click here