Set the Landscape: Cottage Garden Style

Mention the term “cottage garden” and most of us imagine a vibrant, fragrant garden full of billowing perennials, all surrounded by a picket fence. Ornaments, trellises, arbors and seats are nestled among the plants, and also a very simple route leads to a charming entryway.

That is the typical cottage garden nowadays, but what many admirers do not see is that the cottage garden began its life as a purely functional space for growing herbs and vegetables for regular usage. If the single space you have is facing your front door, then that’s where you will grow the food you need. As for the fence, it’s a practical way to keep fleas out (both human and animal).

Throughout the centuries, the cottage garden has become less functional and more cosmetic. It has also been adapted to match different climates and architectural designs, from traditional to contemporary. Just like any garden design, however, there are a number of guidelines which will help ensure that your cottage garden appears pleasing and hauled together, not simply enjoy a hodgepodge of plants which have been placed haphazardly.

Maria Hickey & Associates Landscapes

Start with the layout. Traditionally, the main route would lead directly to the front door, with plants billowing over on each side. That is still suitable, but you could also cause a winding route that leads you on a trip through the backyard.

Inside Out- Exterior & Interior Design

Keep it informal. A specific informality defines cottage garden plants, of course, but in addition, it applies to a hardscape. Gravel, pebbles or bark create great options for avenues, as an example. Rather than bricks set exactly in mortar, look for discolored older bricks with a few cracked edges, and place them so that the distance is not just even between each paver. Stepping stones also offer a cottagey look. Local substances are the ideal option if you’re able to locate them.

Design suggestion:While imperfections in a walkway look charming, have the effect by changing the width between different pavers and keep the walking surface even. No one would like to travel within an irregular rock, particularly at night.

Minglewood Designs

Reduce the yard. At a true cottage garden, a yard is seldom the focus. If you do want a little bit of green, then consider using bud as your route substance. A low-mow fescue will keep your maintenance levels down while adding to the informal feel.

Maria Hickey & Associates Landscapes

Plant for colour. A cottage garden is, most importantly, vibrant. You can use an exuberant mix of colors, choose something bold or stick to softer shades. A color wheel may be a great guide for choosing colors, if you want them to complement or contrast each other.

Design suggestion: If you are new to design with colour, select a motif color or colors, such as pinks, blues or purples, much as you would for colors inside a house. The different shapes of the plants you select will give you variety; the repetition of colour will have a calming and harmonious effect. Since you get bolder, add a pop of contrasting color — yellow nasturtiums blended in with blue pansies and delphiniums, bright red lupine nestled among white Shasta daisies and pink echinacea or some glowing orange black-eyed Susan scattered about in a sea of lavender.

WA Design Architects

Plant the unexpected. Bright purple allium, standing tall, adds colour. Artemisia and santolina are both good filler plants; their tender foliage and inconspicuous flowers function as a backdrop for more colorful plantings.


Enclose your own space. A white picket fence is the epitome of a cottage garden look. Here, the fence itself is simple, however, the bright white color helps it hold its own against the yellows and greens which front it. Additionally, a birdbath is always a welcome touch.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Stone and unpainted timber are equally authentic options for fencing, and also this fence artfully combines both. You may even use hedges to make a border. Maintain the substances simple; for instance, a rock wall ought to be brief and look dry place, not like a huge construction bit.


Include gates, arbors and trellises. This really is a traditional mix, complete with a climbing rose, but you can also scatter structures which support climbing plants throughout the space. You may even add extra gates, if to enclose a smaller place or as decoration.

Insert the finishing touches. Cottage gardens call for individual details, and also this birdbath is a stunning example of taking a very simple detail and making it your very own. Constructed of a very simple bathing jar, it provides colour and creativity to the backyard when providing a spa for birds. In turn, the birds offer plenty of amusement for those homeowners.

Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design

Water features are common in a cottage garden. If you plan to add one, keep it simple. Ponds should be relatively small and natural in appearance. Fountains should also be low-key affairs, for example simple urns.

What’s a cottage garden with no birdhouse or two? They may be only decorative, of course, but it doesn’t take much to make one into a cozy home for a nest. Different birds have different nesting requirements, so opt for a birdhouse style which will attract birds indigenous to your region and keep them safe from predators. Check with a local pet store or birding group to find out more about what will work best for you.

Designs by Shellene

You have to be able to enjoy your backyard. A seat placed somewhere inside the space will allow you to look out over your backyard creation. You’ll likely discover that butterflies and birds will enjoy the garden as well.

If you are going to sit for a while, you will want a comfortable spot to do this. Fortunately, thrift store finds and older favorites will match right into a cottage space, so you don’t have to spend a great deal of cash. However, if your space is exposed to sunlight and rain, then you might choose to search for furniture and fabrics which seem weathered but are really designed to resist the components.

Between Naps on the Porch

Obviously, you’re going to need a place to work, whether it’s starting seedlings or arranging fresh-picked flowers. This seat is practical, and the green colour blends in with the plantings about it.

Arcadia Gardens, LLC

Produce a cottage garden that’s right for you. It is sensible to work with the distance and the climate you have. If you reside in the Pacific Northwest, amazing; you have a similar climate to England and you can probably recreate a Cotswold backyard. In other climates, you ought to be creative. At the upper Midwest, plants such as hostas function well as anchors in a cottage garden space.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Just inland from the central coast of California, a Mediterranean climate and lack of summer rain implies plants must be more drought tolerant. While this backyard proves, that doesn’t mean you need to give up about the cottage look, simply select grasses and perennials that could handle the climatic problems.

Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

While cottage gardens are unusually adaptable, somehow a fluffy yard of roses doesn’t necessarily operate with a more modern architectural design. Grasses, especially those with a mix of colors in their own flower heads, create a great, slightly more contemporary substitute.

You might not be prepared for a complete loss of yard and permanent paving, and that’s fine. Instead, make a cottage feel in a large garden bed, and allow the plants billow around on the pavement to soften the distance.

Troy Rhone Garden Design

This advantage of a sloping driveway offers the ideal spot for a contained cottage look which also brightens the edge of the driveway. In cases like this, the picket fence is keeping the cottage garden out of the yard, rather than in it.

Call it cottage. The containers have an urban appearance, but they’re full of spilling plants which evoke images of a cottage-inspired front yard.


If you are really restricted for space, then a cottage container may work very well. Place it on a patio or in an entryway to get the appearance, even in the event that you don’t have the property.

Design suggestion: You can also use containers inside your current cottage garden. They’re a terrific way to bring a decorative component, and easy to swap out if the plants start to look shabby.

Tom Meaney Architect, AIA

Of course, sometimes your house will seem like a cottage even with the minimum amount of landscaping. This house would state cottage even in the center of a town. Nevertheless, you may see the basic cabin components, from irregularly placed paving materials to climbing plants and a wooden seat.

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