2020 Garden Trends Include Tiny Gardens and Hardy Tropical Plants


The start of a new decade brings exciting new developments and ideas—including new 2020 garden trends. Fortunately for gardeners, the 2020 garden trends include a new way to look at tiny space gardens, embracing cold-hardy tropical plants and even pet-friendly gardens.

The new 2020 garden trends are all about challenging the conventional aesthetics of gardening. At Home, Garden and Homestead, we think that’s a good thing!

Read on to learn what garden industry experts have to say about gardening in 2020.


Tiny Space Gardens

Everyone deserves a little garden in their lives, so it’s no wonder that small space gardening is a big trend for 2020. Even centuries-old techniques like espalier are making a comeback.

small garden with lots of green plants in containers

One of the most exciting 2020 garden trends is the wide availability of true dwarf trees. Unlike their larger 50-foot-tall cousins, these diminutive trees max out at only 10-15 feet high. That’s a perfect size for small yards—and even growing in containers on the patio. There are many exciting fruiting and ornamental trees to choose from, but these are our favorite trees for small spaces.

For big impact in small spaces, self-watering growing containers (such as City Jungle and The GrowBox) are still a major trend in gardening. Unlike typical raised planters, these containers have water reservoirs that hydrate plants from the bottom up. As a result, they take a lot of the guesswork out of gardening.


Hardy Tropicals

Experienced gardeners who are looking for something a little more different will enjoy the unique rewards of growing hardy tropical plants in their gardens this year. Don’t let their exotic looks fool you: these hardy tropical looking plants are surprisingly adaptable!

cold hardy tropical plants include banana musa basjoo

Try something new like Hardy Banana, capable of growing as far north as New England, or Hardy Kiwi for a taste of the tropics in Chicago.

For even more ideas, read 12 Cold Hardy Tropical Plants to Grow Now.


Help from High Tech

The Smart Home industry is now entering the garden market with a lot of exciting new products. Garden traditionalists may balk at the idea of a robot telling you when to water your plants, but for the beginner, this can provide some much-needed peace of mind.

If you want to take your green thumb to a high-tech level, consider helpful gadgets like a smart plant sensor that monitors moisture, light and nutrients. (Some will even alert you when it’s time to water). Or try a garden planning app for some extra help in making your garden plans come to life.



Lush green lawns are still common in suburban neighborhoods, but some lawns are starting to give way to more sustainable “wild” gardens. These new xeriscapes—full of perennials, shrubs and trees—are easier to maintain, less expensive, and better for the environment.

a low-water-use xeriscape from high country gardens

“Rewilding” is a catch-all term for these cottage garden-inspired landscapes, which celebrate unruly growth and the occasional dandelion. Done right, a wild-inspired garden can even help bring back dwindling species of butterflies, birds and other animals.


No-Dig Gardening

According to Google Trends, “no dig gardening” is forecast to be a major trend this year. This cultivation method isn’t new, but its benefits for the gardener and the environment are becoming more widely known.

Less hard labor, better results. What could be better?


Foodie Gardens

Vegetable and edible gardening is the perfect complement to the foodie lifestyle. The taste of freshly grown herbs, greens and scrumptious fruits just can’t be beat! Many of these plants are already common, such as mint and oregano. But more unique homegrown foods are also trending, like rutabaga and serviceberry.

The good news is this: you do not have to be an experienced gardener to grow delightfully unique food! Try one of these beginner-and-foodie-friendly edibles:

  • Cucamelon
  • Chocolate mint
  • American serviceberry
  • Pineberry



Although it is technically not a garden-specific trend, foraging is making a huge comeback. Foraging for wild food is more than going into the woods and picking mushrooms. With just a little guidance, foraging can be surprisingly easy and a great way to introduce new, nutritious foods into your diet.

It’s no surprise that foraging expert and author Ellen Zachos is thrilled by the growing popularity of foraging. Wild foods are delicious, seasonal, local, and organic—and all those factors are trending. But there’s more to foraging than just good, wholesome food.

backyard foraging book by Ellen Zachos is a 2020 garden trend

“Foragers are intimately entwined with their natural surroundings, and I think the increased popularity of foraging indicates an increased respect for our natural world,” said Zachos. “Being a forager means having a special relationship not only to your food but also to the natural world that produces that food.”

According to Zachos, foragers understand that sustainability is essential to the ethos of foraging (and to backyard gardening). Yes, foragers harvest wild plants and eat them, but they take care to leave the lion’s share of every wild harvest behind to feel wildlife and propagate the species.

To learn more about foraging, read Ellen’s book, Backyard Foraging, and check out her Home, Garden and Homestead story about Winter Foraging.


Disaster Resistant Landscaping

The many natural disasters in 2019 are making homeowners more aware of their landscaping. Now, homeowners are thinking about how they can protect their properties from hazards like fallen trees and wildfires.

Firescaping is one proven method of wildfire mitigation for homes in at-risk areas, and it is expected to be very popular this decade. It involves creating a non-burn buffer zone around your home while maintaining a wildfire-resistant landscape. It also involves choosing fire-resistant plants. Firescaping cannot completely protect a home from wildfire, but it can make a big difference.


Pet-Friendly Gardens

According to a recent study, more young adults are buying homes for their pets than for children or marriage. So, it comes as no surprise that these homeowners are also choosing to design their gardens to be as pet friendly as possible.

a dog in a dog-friendly yard

The pet, and especially the dog-friendly garden trend, is all about landscape elements such as digging areas, open spaces and pet-safe plants. Fortunately, a well-planned garden can be enjoyable for humans and their pets.

If you don’t have garden goals for the new year yet, try one of these 2020 garden trends and get excited for the growing season. You may just find the plant, app or technique that will take your garden to a new level.

Happy gardening as you embrace the 2020 garden trends!

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