As summer draws to an end we’re looking at one of the largest trends in gardening right now the natural look. This has really taken off in the last few years as clients are turning away from modern, minimalist looks, towards a more natural and wild approach. We expect to see this trend growing over the next few years, but you can get ahead and inject this trend into your garden right now in a few simple steps. Read our blog to find out exactly how….

 💧 WATER 💧

One of the most popular and show stopping features of this trend (and our real favourite!) is the rise of popularity in natural swimming pools (as opposed to the traditional chlorine pool). These natural swimming pools have emerged as the hottest trend in garden landscapes right now. Aralia having been asked to work on not just one but three, in the course of this year! Not only are they stunning they can instantly  transform a garden into a natural looking escape, they are also wild life friendly and highly sustainable.

For those not willing to jump right into the natural swimming pool (metaphorically and literally!), water features can also achieve a subtle version of this look. The features themselves create natural sounds and ambience for the garden, whilst also creating a flowing natural feel and journey through the garden space. Instead of the natural swimming pool you can go for a small pond, like the one we used here in our Church Mill Grange Project. These look especially beautiful and natural when submerged and partially concealed by wild planting.  Alternatively Rills, like the one seen here at Little Eden project, are water features that can be used to achieve a more natural relaxed look.

For those with smaller spaces, or roof terraces with low loading weight limits, rills are especially good as they allow you to inject this natural water trend without taking up too much space. Brownfield Beauty, our show garden from RHS Tatton Park, is a good example.  

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From Left to Right: Church Mill Grange, Little Hadham, Tatton Park Show Garden ‘Brownfield Beauty’, Little Eden


We’ve seen a real turn towards wilder more natural landscapes in the garden design industry, with client’s favouring wilder and more natural low maintenance options such as prarie style planting schemes and wildlife meadows. One way to achieve this (if you don’t have a sprawling country estate) is to include wild planting within upright structures such as green walls like those at Chelsea Creek London. Aralia also recommend contrasting natural soft planting against neat edges and lines, i.e. juxtaposing natural grasses against formal clipped Box balls like we’ve done here at Essex Country Garden. This creates a more contemporary approach to the trend, and can create a tidier version of the wild landscape trend, for those people who prefer a little more structure. If you want an even more modern feel (or for those with OCD!) wild naturalistic planting can be contrasted with contemporary sleek furniture and structures (like shown here at Little Hadham Hertfordshire project). In doing this you can still break away from the rigid and man made look of straight lines, but still maintain a true modern touch.

If you have a roof terrace (lucky you!) and are worried that this trend is only applicable for more rural country gardens then fear not, you can still get this relaxed natural look. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add some greenery to the terrace, instantly hiding the more industrial skyline. We used this approach at our Ganton street London Roof Terrace, inserting vibrant natural planting and green walls to add a lush wildness to the London Roof Terrace.

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From Left to Right: Chelsea Creek London Roof Terrace, Essex Country Garden, Little Hadham, Ganton Street London Roof Terrace


One of the easiest ways to embrace this natural trend is to use more organic colours. Think Autumn colours found in natural landscapes such as deep browns, whites and burnt oranges (like the colour palette used here at Brownfield beauty). If you’re not a fan of this rustic colour palette, you can also turn to a colour palette of deep purples, greens and burnished browns, working off of the colours found in lush greenery. These colours can easily be injected into the garden by planting, or sculptures, as seen at Maltese Road. 

If you want to add colour, but want a more low maintenance option than planting, and prefer hard landscaping and contemporary details, add these colour schemes through furniture choices, like Aralia have done at London City Island Roof Terrace. If you prefer brighter colours you can ease your way into a more natural look with bright colours in a natural more rustic context. This also goes hand in hand with the new colour blocking trend that is gradually making its way into gardening, making yours the trendiest garden around! Our favourite example of this is to do it through art or sculptures, scuh as this colbalt blue and dark red glass art panels that we used in our Chelsea Creek London Roof Terrace project.

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From Left to Right: Tatton Park Show Garden ‘Brownfield Beauty’, London City Island Roof Terrace, Maltese Road, Chelsea Creek London Roof Terraces


Turn back towards nature through your material choices. Opt for natural raw materials such as wood, bricks, natural stones and metals such as Corten Steel. If you want to do this on a large scale, use these natural materials for paving or walling. We used a mixture of wooden panels sitting alongside natural brick walls at our recently completed Cambridge bar and restaurant roof terrace project for Novi, and the overall result came out as rustic but with a refreshing modern twist. 

A more subtle and affordable approach is to add these materials in through pergolas or awnings. We love using wooden pergolas in country estates, like the one used here at Essex Country Garden. Reclaimed Wood can instantly add a more rustic feel, without taking away or detracting from contemporary elements of a garden. Wood or metal, pergolas can also be added to roof terraces, as seen here at Chelsea Creek London, making the trend adaptable to any size or type of garden space.

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From Left to Right: NOVI Cambridge Bar & Resteraunt, Essex Country Home Garden, Ganton Street London Roof Terrace, Chelsea Creek London Roof Terrace


We can’t possibly cover every single way you can embrace this natural trend in your garden because there are simply millions of rustic touches and details you can add. There are so many different ways you can inject this trend.. Our favourite picks at the moment are to use hammocks or hanging chairs (like the ones we used at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012) for a contemporary but natural look. For those looking to fully embrace the natural trend, use a traditional wooden bench which can also doubles up as a log storage space for your fire wood (like the bespoke one we created for our Little Eden Project). Another log storage option, with a contemporary look, which still captures the trend towards nature, try an outdoor fireplace that uses stone and wood like this shown in our Essex Country Estate project.

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From Left to Right: RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden 2012 ‘Rooftop Workplace of Tomorrow’, Little Eden, Essex Country Estate Garden, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009 ‘Freshly Prepped’

For more garden ideas or advice on how to capture the natural trend in your garden contact Aralia now on 01279 721 461 or email