Cottage Garden Plants

Fill your yard with cottage garden plants for over-the-top color.

Bright and Airy Flower Garden With White Fence

Bright and Airy Flower Garden With White Fence

Purple coneflower, daisies, foxglove, black-eyed Susans, astilbe and hollyhocks fill this garden. "More than half the plants were split from perennials in other areas of my garden," says the homeowner, "and this turned out to be my favorite bed."

Photo by: HGTV fan jndesign

HGTV fan jndesign

Purple coneflower, daisies, foxglove, black-eyed Susans, astilbe and hollyhocks fill this garden. "More than half the plants were split from perennials in other areas of my garden," says the homeowner, "and this turned out to be my favorite bed."

Design a planting area with cottage garden plants, and you’re in for a season-long show. These old-fashioned favorites feature flowers in every color that bloom at various points throughout the growing season. Choose the right mix of cottage garden plants, and you’ll have non-stop color. 

If you like the look of picket fences and entry arches, you should explore cottage garden design style. Typically stuffed into a pocket-size patch, this garden boasts a lush, carefree abandon where plants jostle and lean in a tangle of bud and blossom. But cramped quarters aren’t a requirement to mimic the lively display and overstuffed plantings of a cottage garden. You can capture the magic and romance of cottage garden style in a sprawling border, a modest front yard or a cluster of containers. 

Cottage garden plants might be annuals, biennials or perennials. By planting a mix of all three plant types, it’s easier to ensure you’ll have the riot of color that typifies this garden style. Tuck annuals between perennials to stage a steady parade of blooms, especially when perennials may be between flowering windows.

Annual salvias make fabulous additions to the cottage garden plant roster with their spikey, colorful blooms. Consider including hummingbird sage (Salvia coccinea), Brazilian sage (Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’) and frost-tender Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) in your cottage garden design for a mix of flower colors all season long. 

Self-sowing annuals are must-have cottage garden plants. If you let these plants set and drop seed, you’ll have the serendipitous plant combinations that typify cottage garden chaos. Plants to consider include cleome (Cleome hassleriana), sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus), larkspur (Consolida ambigua) and calendula (Calendula officinalis).

Biennials also belong in the cottage garden. These are plants that require two growing seasons to complete their life cycle. In colder regions, that means one year you have a tuft of leaves, followed by flower spikes the following year. In warmer zones, biennials complete their life cycle from fall (planting and leaf sprouting) to spring (blooms). Some classic biennial cottage garden plants are sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis), sweet William (Dianthus barbatus), forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) and foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).

50 Cottage Gardens

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Cottage Garden Pond Framed by Wisteria

A naturalistic pond is planted with aquatic plants to give the property an authentic cottage garden feel.

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

Lush Green Outdoor Garden with Bronze Statues

A trio of bronze girl statues stand in an idyllic garden where trees, ornamental shrubs, grasses, and white flowering plants are abundantly growing.

From: Jeff Allen

String Lights and Lanterns Illuminate Garden

String up lights and lanterns around your outdoor space to give an enchanting twinkle to any garden party. The soft glow will invite everyone to linger outside in the nighttime summer air. Line lanterns and smaller string lights around your seating area, and hang a few off tree branches for a touch of ambiance.

Front Yard Perennial Garden

Visitors to HGTV fan Sunny777's home are greeted with this beautiful garden near the front porch.

Cottage Garden With Flagstone Walkway

For her own front yard, designer Margie Grace of Grace Design Associates Inc. matched the hardscape to her home's architectural syle for a cozy cottage garden. To keep the yard low maintenance she laid a large patio using Arizona flagstones, then filled the rest of the space with lush flower beds. A reclaimed concrete bowl is transformed into a water feature that brings the sound of rain to the garden.

A Cottage Garden is a Study in Green Textures

Purple hyssop provides a frame for this cottage garden filled with shrubs and grasses in a range of green shades and textures.

Rainbow Rose Garden

HGTV fan SpackleMuddPalin conserves water in her southern California garden. The roses get drip irrigation, she says, and "surrounding plants survive only on winter rain and waste water from the koi pond."

Photo By: HGTV fan SpackleMuddPalin

Cozy Cottage Garden

There wasn't much of a garden when the homeowners bought this cottage with the idea in mind to create flower beds that would soften the edges of an organic raised-bed garden. Their ultimate goal is to create a landscape where they can "graze throughout the yard on fruits, herbs and berries." Says HGTV fan Craighead, "We still have a long way to go, but we've at least started to establish a country-cottage feeling to our little bungalow in the city."

Photo By: HGTV fan craighead

Cottage Garden at Entryway

This charming cottage garden is a showcase for shade-loving plants. HGTV fan wlaker used stain to transform the plain concrete patio and walkway into faux flagstone.

Photo By: HGTV fan wlaker

Container Garden

A beautiful container composition can bring the cottage-garden look to a deck or patio. Here, foxgloves, petunias, and sweet potato vine combine to create a beautiful vignette. Posted by HGTV fan countrygrl125

Photo By: HGTV fan countrygrl125

Planted Cottage Garden Surrounding Concrete Patio With Staircase Leading to Covered Pavilion

Patchwork concrete tile creates a decorative flooring for the open patio. The stain on the wood patio furniture makes a beautiful statement against the surroundings. Concrete stairs travel through planted sections with natural rock retainers to the outdoor living pavilion.

Cottage-Garden Greeting

HGTV fan SilvesterII's cottage-style plantings lead from the street up to her front door and include perennials, herbs, grasses and more.

Photo By: HGTV fan SilvesterII

Cottage Garden With Herbs, Vegetables and Flowers

A path meanders through a mix of vegetables, herbs and flowers growing in raised beds in this casual cottage style garden.

Photo By: DK - Learn to Garden © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tranquil Garden With Flagstone Pathway

Lovely hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs line the flagstone pathway of this peaceful garden.

From: Groundworks Inc.

Backyard River Rock Waterfall With Blue Hydrangea

A river rock water feature is surrounded by pockets of plantings, including stunning hydrangea, in this cottage-style backyard.

From: Katrina Fairchild

Organic Flower Garden

This organic flower garden was carefully planned to display the radiant colors of the flowers within. Foliage plants add to the lushness of the beautiful display.

Photo By: Mary Palmer Dargan

Patio Planter

HGTV fan Chris Major packed the cottage-garden aesthetic into one planter. Several varieties of coleus, Mexican feather grass and other plants give the container garden a soft, free-form look.

Stepping Stone Walk Near Flower bed

This stepping stone walk along a bed edge provides a path in the Valenta garden in Cashiers, North Carolina.

Photo By: Photo Credit: Mary Palmer Dargan

Garden Birdhouse

A birdhouse nestled in fragrant plants creates a sanctuary for your feathered friends, and a beautiful space to take in the wildlife.

Photo By: DK - Gardening Shortcuts ©2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Formal Cottage Garden with Metal Gazebo

A vibrant purple-flowering vine spills over an antique metal gazebo nestled amongst the verdant plants of a formal cottage-style garden. Planting the garden up against the gazebo helps to soften the structure's edges and creates a cohesive design. The gazebo offers a comfortable vantage point from which to view the wetland-like pond and the rest of the lush cottage garden.

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

Rustic Cottage With Natural Stone Walkway

This comfy cottage has a fantastic front porch with natural branches for spindles and a natural stone walkway that leads around the garden and up the hill to the driveway. The lush forest surrounding the cottage accents the gorgeous stonework and matches the green painted shutters.

Photo By: Mary Palmer Dargan ©Gibbs Smith, Lifelong Landscape Design, Mary Palmer Dargan

Front Cottage Garden

We often say that homeowners shouldn't feel limited by a lack of space. HGTV fan Richaro's front yard literally billows with beautiful flowers.

Photo By: HGTV fan Richaro

Cottage Garden

Busts can bring a sense of elegance to a garden. Consider adding one to a potting table, as seen in designer Susanne Hudson's Georgia garden. She's the co-founder of the annual Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival, Garden Tour and Flower Show in Douglasville, Ga.

Cute Container Garden in Metal Pots

These reycled metal pots and textural plants are the perfect addition to a sweet cottage garden.

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Abundant Backyard Flower Garden With Pergolas

Everywhere you look, HGTV fan Dotsgarden's outdoor space is a riot of color. She says her roses and clematis are "like old friends who come to visit every spring and often during the summer."

Lilypad Pond is Inviting Backyard Space

Backyard wildlife ponds create homes and breeding places for beneficial animals and insects. A pond also adds an interesting focal point to landscape design.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cottage Garden Pergola

This small, enclosed garden is framed by a wood pergola and fence covered in lush plants, including ivy, other vines, annuals and perennials.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Stream With Boulders and Purple Flowers

Hundreds of feet of boulder-lined streams are the centerpiece of these resort gardens and accompanied by lush plantings like the tumble of purple petunias seen here.

Photo By: Clinton & Associates, PC

Kids at Crystal Mountain Resort

The shallow stream and surrounding garden is a natural wonderland for kids visiting this resort.

Bright and Airy Flower Garden With White Fence

Purple coneflower, daisies, foxglove, black-eyed susans, astilbe and hollyhocks fill this garden. "More than half the plants were split from perennials in other areas of my garden," says HGTV fan jndesign, "and this turned out to be my favorite bed."

Cottage Garden and Adirondack Chairs

Part of the charm of this resort's landscape design is how the residences are incorporated seamlessly into the gardens. Here, Adirondack chairs are nestled next to large blooms of flowers and ornamental grass.

Black Fence Design

A black fence allows the lush greenery in this cottage garden to stand out. Design by Virginia Rockwell

White Pergola Shines in Cottage Garden

A beautiful arbor anchors HGTV fan molly_dog's garden, which is rampant with lilies, Shasta daisies, roses and much more. "This is where I spend almost all my free time," she says.

Photo By: HGTV fan molly dog

Landscaped Backyard With Spring Flowers

This sloped landscape is speckled with flower beds and leads to a garden gate. Pinks, purples and deep reds are represented throughout.

A Cottage Garden with Blooming Bulbs

A garden of yellow tulips and daffodils blossom in this cottage style garden. Planting bulbs separately from other blooming shrubs allows the tulips and daffodils' beautiful blooms to be the focus and so they don't compete with other flowers.

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

Cottage-Style Garden Bed

In HGTV fan triciaf's front yard, a glorious combination of phlox, liatris, monarda, rudbeckia and joepye weed mix with blue spruce and birch.

A Formal Cottage Garden with Gazebo

Climbing pink roses spill over a wood gazebo in this formal cottage garden, framing the entryway towards the shingled home. A simple rope fence intersects the garden and defines the entry garden from the large expanse of lawn framed by silvery lavender Russian sage.

A Gravel Pathway Through a Formal Cottage Garden

A casual gravel pathway leads visitors to the home's front door, passing through layered plants in the cottage garden. The soft color palette creates a soothing garden and a welcome entry to the home.

Photo By: Andrew Grossman

Gothic Cottage Garden With English Design

A cottage garden features an English design with colorful perennials, white lattice screens and a stone patio.

Backyard Brick Arbor

Set in the Sierra Foothills, the landscape is made equally interesting with flagstone and Irish moss, Potato vines, and a diverse selection of lime and grey colored low perennials.

White Cape Cod Exterior and Cottage Garden

Lush herbs and flowers mix and mingle in this home's charming cottage garden. Meander along the stepping stone path and on up to the front door.

From: James Bertrand

Photo By: Bertrand Landscape Design

Wooden Bench in Cottage Garden

Easily maintained landscaping and hardscaping creates a serene green space within this cottage garden. A wooden bench is tucked beside a stone accent wall, while a pair of Adirondack chairs are perched on the raised patio.

From: Katrina Fairchild

Perennial Cottage Garden

A pretty picket fence helps provide the structure for the this gorgeous cottage-style garden. Another perennial garden surrounds the gazebo, which is illuminated at night. Posted by HGTV fan retired editor

Cottage Garden Nook with White Arbor

A brick walkway winds through a cottage-style garden with a crisp white lattice fence and arbor.

Cottage Garden With Black Picket Fence

Relaxed plantings are typical of a cottage garden design. Pink and red flowers line a stone walkway surrounded by pebbles and a black picket fence in this garden for a classic cottage design.

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

English Cottage Garden With Covered Dining Area

This beautifully landscaped courtyard includes an arched arbor and stone pathway that leads to a covered patio and outdoor dining area surrounded by container plants and tall topiaries. Traditional chandeliers are covered in leafy vines to continue the garden look.

A Cottage Garden's Colorful Planting Palette

The flowering plants are primarily pink, white, yellow and blue, a soft palette that complements the natural shingles of the home. Flowering shrubs, roses, perennials, annuals and spring bulbs ensure that the garden is in bloom from March until late fall. Plants like iris, alliums, echinacea, roses and foxglove emphasize the cottage style of this colorful garden.

Charming Cottage Garden With Flagstone Pavers

This outdoor space features a flagstone paver patio with groundcover plants growing between the stones, blooming perennials and rounded, low bushes.

Photo By: Mary Palmer Dargan ©Gibbs Smith, Lifelong Landscape Design, Mary Palmer Dargan

Colorful Backyard Garden

HGTV fan KeithC's cottage garden features a sweeping mix of roses, grasses, annuals, perennials and decorative garden art.

Photo By: HGTV fan keithc

Storage Units Built to Fit Garden Space

Matching sheds feature clapboard doors. These storage sheds were designed to be part of the garden landscape, blending in with the setting and giving a place to store lawn equipment, planting supplies, outdoor furniture and even toys.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Count on perennials to give a cottage garden design structure and seasonal color. Peony (Paeonia spp.), Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), bee balm (Monarda didyma), bearded iris (Iris germanica), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) are easy to find and even easier to grow. Perennials like phlox and campanula include species with varying heights and flower colors. Draw from these perennial groups to fill your garden with color and interest.

Work plants with an airy texture into your cottage garden. Position them to fill spaces between other plants and give that sense of floral fullness. Candidates include tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis), lavender, baby’s breath (Gysophila paniculata) and ornamental grasses or grass-like plants, such as hair sedge (Carex flagellifera), pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) or fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum).

Shrubs and roses should complete your cottage garden plant collection. Consider using butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) and summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) to add winter forms to your garden. Classic cottage gardens also include structures and ornaments, like a trellis, stepping stone path, armillary or tuteur. Work these items into your garden to enhance the off-season display.

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