Revisiting garden design from the 90s and noughties

Revisiting garden design from the 90s and noughties

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, May 10

Revival, the 90s and the noughties truly made your garden all about you!


In the 90s we had ripped denim, slogan t-shirts and exposed midriffs. The Spice girls gave us buffalo shoes and we had the Sega Mega Drive.

As with most other things, gardens trend and evolve with plants of yesteryear making a comeback time and time again.  The 90s saw a whole sale revival in the classic artisan cottage garden, soft cornflower blue paint evoked an innocence we thought we had lost in the commercialism of the 1980s.

From the 90s onwards, composting became popular and it seemed that this and organic produce were a new invention - but, of course, our parents and grandparents had been doing this for years.  Now it was brought  up-to-date and made stylish.  Beehive composters became a stand by for as terminating vista adding romantic charm to gardens and views out from the house. 

The lawn was shrinking and terraces and patios were the necessary addition to everygarden, no matter what size, as we embraced the outdoor life and took tea, breakfast and evening meals outside with friends and family. This is still an addition to most gardens today as outdoor living is still important, but instead of crazy paving, we now know the value of sleek sweeps of natural stone paving and reproduction heritage paving for style and sophistication.Outdoor living

Naturalised planting schemes became the rage with mixed borders replacing ‘specialised’ areas. Shrubs, roses and herbaceous perennials swept through Chelsea gardens with pavilions and long gravel pathways leading to large urns and focal points.  In all, a revival of the classic English garden epitomised the 90’s with the millennium strangle taking a turn towards postmodern, fusing the naturalistic style with uncompromising hard landscaping.

The great thing about the 90s and noughites is that your house and garden truly became an extension of your tastes.  With so much choice around, it was easier than ever before to go it alone and create a space all about you!


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

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