Trends change as the seasons and years come and go, and this year we're seeing some exciting developments in our gardens... The 'grottage' A portmanteau of the words garden and cottage, the grottage is essentially a garage conversion turned into a much more pleasant habitable space that allows the indoors and outdoors to flow into one another. It’s a way of maximising disused garage storage space, and turning it into something beautiful and loved. They vary in style, with some that are smaller and with more of a sun house feel and others akin to a summer house with separate facilities – perfect for the Airbnb generation. One way to help your grottage feel much less garage-like is to combine the outdoors with the structure, perhaps by adding trellis panels along the side of the building and growing a variety of climbing plants. More colour in outside structures People are painting the structures in their garden – such as fencing or a garden arch - for an extra pop of colour all year round. Instead of wooden structures being the traditional neutral white, brown or grey, we’ll be seeing more painted dark green or blue. This is perfect for those who have left their planting too late but still want colour and energy in their outside space. Without making any other changes, colour in outside structures can dramatically change the look of a garden. Attractive lighting With LED lighting being much more available, people are rethinking the way they light their garden space and are incorporating beautiful lighting that is also practical and functional – party lighting and café lighting where lights are strung across gazebos or a garden arbour are adding a talking point to gardens this year. Raised garden beds Another of 2016’s top garden trends according to that well-known source of home and garden inspiration, Pinterest, is raised flower/herb beds. Whether these are boxed in with wooden panels/pallets (pallet inspired features both inside and outside of the home remain a big part of the rustic trend that has dominated interior design for a few years now) or have stone structures built around them, raised beds are an effective way of letting your plants do the talking and are relatively easy and cost effective to create.