Revisiting garden design from the 70s and 80s

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

In the 70s, brown and orange were very popular in the home, Jerry Hall and Lauren Hutton were the supermodels of the day, and the Mother-in-Laws-Tongue sat in the middle of the best room bay window.  The era was plush and to be seen, with the latest must have the aim of the day!

The 1970s saw a revival of indoor plants, with spider plants, Swedish ivy and ferns being the most popular - a craze brought from Europe and our first taste of Scandinavian living!

Gardening on TV arrived and a keen interest was shown in low-maintenance gardens.  Evergreen conifers, birch trees and cordyline became icons of the 1970s garden.  Roses were sold that could be planted at any time of the year, and roses of choice in the 70s included Blue Moon, Double Delight and Just Joey - all good, reliable varieties which came out in the 70s before the rose revival of David Austin swept us along and back in with the big blouse, old-fashioned types which we still crave today.

Groovy baby, the 70s and 80s are all the rage on the high street - so bring this glamour outside!
Paul Hervey-Brookes

Gardens from the 1970s and 1980s

The centre bed in the front garden surrounded by bricks gave way to grasses and scree loving shrubs, planted in a clean and calming gravel garden that reflected the sunlight.

Creating an uber cool garden of the 80s or 70s doesn't require a synth machine.  Sleek contemporary paving, with bold, well-made ‘designer’ look furniture and looks of glossy evergreens with bold swathes of colour will bring the best of the look bang up to date! screeloving shrubs, planted in a clean and calming gravel garden that reflected the sunlight. Whilst in the 1980s, wildlife gardening became a conscious practice.  This was popularised by designer Chris Baines who built the first wildlife garden at Chelsea in 1985.

Also in 1985, the first mobile phone call was made in the UK.  Big hair, shoulder pads and power dressing were the norm and of course we had coloured bathrooms.  Colour swept through the garden like never before with plastic garden furniture and pots adding year-round interest which was never seen before.

Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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