The chief factor influencing the growth in garden timber is the consumer’s increasing inclination to view the garden as another room in their home. Once the garden is considered as a living space for relaxation, leisure, eating and entertaining, then the trends within it inevitably become more akin to those you would expect inside the house and in the pages of the magazines that influence today’s lifestyles.

Consumer tastes are now shifting from the traditional, practical uses of garden timber to more decorative applications. It is no longer acceptable to expect consumers to stick to the same old, tired designs when there is increasing pressure to meet the growing demand for more design-led, affordable garden timber.

Traditionally timber has been favoured as a garden design material due to its warmth and durability. However, timber manufacturers are now looking to evolve their products by sourcing other materials to use in conjunction with timber to create contemporary designs. The Regatta Pergola kit from Forest is a good example of how trends are developing, with oval aluminium uprights fused with premium quality timber rafters creating a contemporary focal point for any outdoor space. New twists on old ideas are encouraging timber producers to explore the potential of their product range, combining different textures and materials.

With the world becoming more accessible, consumers are now taking their inspiration from further afield, whether recreating styles seen on holidays or via the ever popular makeover shows. With a variety of colour treatments available on the market, consumers are now able to select the colours and products that best meet their own criteria.

Changes in lifestyles are now having a direct effect on the demand for certain timber products. For example, the growing need for higher levels of security and privacy is influencing the volume of high quality fencing being sold. Recent years have also seen a dramatic rise in inner city living, with small garden space driving the sales of smaller products including planters and trellis.

Viewing the garden as an extension of living space is also driving the trends towards creating areas with different themes within the overall garden, maximising the potential of the outdoor living space available. Decorative cottage-style fencing or a traditional Arch is seen as a practical way to divide an outdoor living space and introduce elements of design.

The increase in demand for more creative timber products has allowed timber merchants to access a whole new market and many are thriving on the result. By using their display areas and incorporating more decorative items, timber merchants have been able to create numerous design ideas to inspire consumers. These range from the larger focal points to displaying their range of fencing and trellis in a more inspiring way.

Garden enthusiasts are now looking beyond their local garden centre to find exactly what they want for their gardens, while professional landscape designers are welcoming the opportunity to choose from a range of decorative timber products alongside more functional products, and are increasingly using local merchants as a one-stop shop to source everything for their projects.