Fill gardens with ‘happy colours’

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‘Slow down to appreciate all Mother Nature has to offer’

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Vegetable gardens, happy colours and gardening for climate changes are among the trends that will take root this year.

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“2023 garden trends encourage us to get our hands dirty, surround ourselves with colour, eat freshly grown food and slow down to appreciate all that Mother Nature has to offer,” says garden expert and BT/CityLine personality Frankie Ferragine.

Better known as ‘Frankie Flowers,’ Ferragine is at The Home + Reno Show, presented by Re/Max, at the International Centre in Mississauga this weekend. (Visit to learn more.) He predicts the following trends:

Growing your own food. “The No. 1 trend is growing your own food and that’s a trend that’s been happening year after year. It happened years ago because people wanted to control what they’re eating and to also experience what they’re eating,” Ferragine says.

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As an added benefit, gardeners experience ‘the harvest high.’ “As hunters and gatherers, we get really excited about harvesting our own tomatoes because we get a dopamine release,” he says. Now, with the price of produce at an all-time high, growing your own food is experiencing a resurgence and an opportunity to save money.

Container gardening. You can grow veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplant in containers and potatoes in a recycling bin. Ferragine predicts the interest in container gardening will grow because so many people are renting and can take containers with them if they move from one property to another.

“Container gardening is a cost-effective, flexible way to transform dull spaces into interesting places. Containers are perfect for smaller spaces, can be moved around and switched up with the seasons,” he says. “They’re like mini landscapes. A container can be used to direct people, to block something out and to create a theme like a Miami backyard pool theme.”

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Happy colours. After several years of dark news, Ferragine predicts 2023 will be the year of colour and happiness. “Gardening really is emotional. Pastel colours are great in shaded locations. They’re calming and soothing and can make a space look larger,” he says. “Bright colours are happy and energetic. If you have a large space, you should do mass plantings of bright colours. Even in pots, I’m seeing a lot of bright colours.”

Gardening for climate change. Gardens that conserve water, save energy and use fewer pesticides are smart choices. Ferragine encourages homeowners to embrace landscape techniques and garden designs that withstand adverse weather conditions. Rain gardens, such as terraces in a hillside, absorb moisture from increasingly common flash rains and thunderstorms, for example.

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Retro vibes. “Bring ‘70s colours into your garden and home with a mix of avocado green, sunset orange and earthy tones. Bring it inside with terra cotta pots, macramé hangers and spider plants.”

Garden retreats. After years of isolation and changing times, maintaining and improving our mental health is more important than ever. A garden retreat, complete with soundscaping like waterfalls and wind chimes, is a calming space that will satisfy your sense of smell, sight, sound, touch and taste.

“People want those places where they can journal, read, relax and just be around nature,” says Ferragine. “The Japanese have been doing forest bathing for thousands of years and more of us are realizing that in order for us to be grounded, we do need green in our life…In order for us to help others, we’ve got to make sure we’re good too.”

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SIDEBAR: DIY projects set to ‘explode’

With the interest in DIY projects predicted to “explode” because of the economy, Mark Rason from Remarkable Woodworks in Bowmanville expects The Home + Reno Show’s DIY Centre will be a popular destination this weekend.

“People are going to look for ways they can save money and one of those ways is investing in their spaces and staying at home more. Many of the people who come to the DIY Centre have never worked with power tools before,” he says.

“I teach them how to use some tools and things like the difference between using pressure treated versus non-pressure treated wood for exterior projects. I can show them the simplicity of making a plant box that will last for years and doesn’t have to look like a simple box. Staple some wood scraps onto the front to give it a geometric feel.”

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At the same time, more homeowners are prioritizing sustainability by investing in durable products like composite decking. “People are thinking long term, so they get more bang for their buck,” Rason says. Case in point: a playhouse that’s built on its own foundation and designed for a second life as a garden shed once the kids outgrow it.

It’s also time to think outside the box, such as forgoing straight lines in favour of circular patios and curved pergolas. Instead of planting cedars to create privacy, consider building a wall to hang plants and to house a chalkboard to entertain the kids. Reducing maintenance, such as installing stamped concrete instead of interlock, is also on trend.

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