Lucy Huntingdon, a fellow of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD), said in 45 years of business she had seen self-sufficiency characterise 1970s gardens, wildlife the 1980s, gardens as sanctuaries in the 1990s and sustainability in the past decade.
"Where next?" she asked the SGD autumn conference in London last week. "Healing gardens and gardens offering physical, spiritual and emotional fulfilment are likely to play a bigger role in our busy and evermore complicated lives."
She told the 300 delegates that she had recently designed a garden for 12- to 17-year-olds, of whom "the girls were anorexic and the boys out of control". It included a tepee and screening plants to offer seclusion and a graffiti wall to express emotional anger.
Play-design adviser Wendy Titman said between 15 and 50 per cent of children aged seven to 11 could not identify plants such as bluebells and primroses. Yet "given a chance children will be conservors, not consumers, of the natural world", she added.