Create a Charming Cottage Garden
Cottage Landscape - Add Curves
A classic English cottage garden is popular because of the natural feeling they evoke. They feature a colorful array of practical, easy to grow flowers, shrubs, and trees in a traditional setting.
Designs By Elizabeth
Charming, romantic cottage gardens are believed to have originated during the Elizabethan era. According to historians, they began as informal plantings of vegetables, herbs and fruits around English homes and probably expanded to include flowers and shrubs as families became a little more prosperous and had more leisure time to garden for beauty as well as for food.
Violets, daises, hollyhocks and many other flowers were commonly found in these lovely gardens. Today this "old-fashioned" design is still popular with gardeners who want a natural, casual look.
Lush Green Outdoor Garden with Bronze Statues
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.
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.
Rainbow Rose Garden
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Landscaped Backyard With Spring Flowers
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.
Cottage-Style Garden Bed
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
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.
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
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
For a true cottage garden, choose plants with lush, many-petaled blooms; climbing vines, such as clematis, wisteria and honeysuckle; rambling roses; and a rich variety of fragrant flowers and herbs. Don’t forget lilacs, hydrangeas and other blooming shrubs.
Perennials make an excellent backbone for these gardens. Tuck daffodils, crocus and other bulbs or annuals in and around them, and add an apple, pear, or crabapple tree if you have room. Remember to let your plants mingle and blend together, and avoid putting them in straight lines. Part of the fun of a cottage style garden is letting your plants grow exuberantly.
No cottage garden would feel complete without sweet-smelling lavender. While lavender can be difficult to grow in areas with high humidity, English lavender is less demanding. Give the plants full sun and soil that drains easily. This tall, perennial herb is a good companion for coneflowers (Echinacea) and black-eyed Susans, as well as shorter flowers and herbs.
Fragrant sweet peas are the mainstay of many cottage gardens. These climbing flowers come in a wide variety of colors and many have intense perfumes. They’re annuals that prefer full sun, although they dislike hot weather and produce their best blooms in early spring. If you live in a hot climate, sow the seeds in fall. Sweet peas are usually trellised, but in a cottage garden, you can allow them to weave around shrubs and tall perennials or train them on a fence.
Heliotropes, with their vanilla perfumes, can be found in shades of blue, lavender and white. Grow them alongside pink or pale yellow flowers for a soft color combination, or with hot pink or gold blooms for a bold palette. A navy-blue heliotrope variety, ‘Marine’ is especially striking. These spring-blooming annuals need full to part sun.
Although their blooms last only one day, daylilies are beautiful additions to any cottage garden. These nearly indestructible plants crave sun, but grow even in less-than-ideal soils. Look for rainbow colors that vary from butter yellow to raspberry pink, maroon, cream, apricot, watermelon red and more. Plant varieties with staggered bloom times to keep the flowers coming until frost. A bonus: daylily clumps can be divided to help increase your cottage garden.
Drought-resistant hollyhocks add stately charm and bright color to cottage gardens. Tall varieties that grow 8 feet or more can tower over other plants, but shorter varieties that top out around 30 inches are also available. Grown as biennials or short-lived perennials in zones 3 to 8, hollyhocks are beautiful when planted alongside daylilies, delphiniums and sage. Because most hollyhocks are so tall, protect them from strong winds and rain by growing them near a garden shed, gazebo or other structure.
Look closely, and you may spot tiny white flowers popping up through the grass in medieval paintings and old tapestries. English daisies were bred from these flowers, which were low-growing plants native to Europe. Today, English daises have large blooms in single or doubled varieties, and their colors range from white to rose pink or red with yellow centers. Combine these early bloomers with pansies, violas, and other spring flowers; they take full sun to part shade and tolerate average soil.
Carefree larkspurs are easy to grow from seeds. These annuals are best sown in fall, since they don’t fare well once the summer heat arrives, but they self-seed readily to re-appear the next spring. Try them with roses and lavender for a soft color palette and a pleasing mix of flower forms and heights. You’ll find larkspurs in shades of blue and pink as well as white, but you may need to start with fresh seeds after a year or two. Self-sown flowers tend to become drab over time.
A member of the nightshade family, flowering tobacco is also known as woodland tobacco and jasmine tobacco. The plants’ trumpet-shaped flowers come in pink, white, red and pale green, and are filled with nectar for hungry hummingbirds. Grow this annual with other plants that tolerate sun to partial shade, such as love-in-a-mist or cleome. For more impact, use the tall, airy plants in masses or clumps. Note: the plants are toxic, so avoid growing them near pets or children who might chew on them.
Hardy pansies, with their cheerful faces, belong in any cottage garden. They prefer cool temperatures, so start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting them, or sow them during the summer for early winter flowers. Pansies are available in more colors than almost any other garden flower. Some varieties have a delicate, light perfume.
When the wind blooms, scabiosa’s lavender, pink or white blooms often nod on their slender stems. Despite their rather unattractive name—scabiosa may come from a Latin word that refers to scabies, a skin disease that the plants were used to treat—the pretty, delicate flowers are butterfly magnets. The plants prefer full sun and tolerate drought and blossom until frost.
Less well-known than the classic French or African marigolds, signet marigolds are small yellow or orange flowers with fine-cut, lacy foliage. They grow 12 to 24 inches high and have a lemony fragrance. Give them a spot with full sun in beds or along paths and walkways. The light, airy foliage combines nicely with violas, nasturtiums and snapdragons. These deer and rabbit-resistant plants can tolerate periods of drought.
Sun-loving penstemons are pink, white, lavender, purple, red, or hot pink perennials with contrasting colors in their throats. There are over 200 species of these members of the snapdragon family, and their trumpet-shaped flowers are a valuable source of nectar for many bees. The blooms open in early spring. After the flowers are finished, the foliage makes a good backdrop for plants that bloom later in the season.
Hummingbirds and butterflies adore the red, tube-shaped blossoms of lobelia, also known as cardinal flowers. These native perennials thrive in sun to part shade and may need afternoon shade if grown in a hot climate. They prefer moist to wet soil, so try iris, ferns, hostas and astilbe as companion plants. Be cautious of using cardinal flowers around children and pets, since all parts of the plant are poisonous.
The nectar-rich, arching flowers of buddleja are the perfect landing pad for butterflies. Butterfly bushes are known for their fuchsia blooms, but also come in white, purple, red or yellow. Grow the shrub in mass for a striking effect, and don't forget to deadhead to keep the blooms coming until frost.
Add heirloom plants, if you wish, but don’t hesitate to try modern varieties that have been bred to resist diseases and re-bloom vigorously.