Create a Charming Cottage Garden

Add a little romance to your garden with our favorite cottage garden flower and design ideas.
Cottage Landscape - Add Curves

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.

Photo by: Designs By Elizabeth

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.

Browse 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

Front Yard Perennial Garden

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

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.

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

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

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.

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."

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

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.

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

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.

Cottage Garden Flowers

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English Lavender

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Mayabuns

Sweet Pea

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Emily Marie Wilson

Heliotrope

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Zigzag Mountain Art

Daylily

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Prettyawesome

Hollyhock

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/drpnncpptak

English Daisy

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Claudio Divizia

Larkspur

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/andersphoto

Flowering Tobacco

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/troshina

Pansies

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Jean Ladzinski

Scabiosa

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Gurcharan Singh

Signet Marigold

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/mizy

Beard Tongue

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/PhotoTrippingAmerica

Cardinal Flower

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/LesPalenik

Climbing Roses

Spreading across fences, trellises and pergolas, climbing roses make gorgeous additions to cottage gardens.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Jorge Salcedo

Columbine

Columbine, Aquilegia, is a real treat for gardeners: These spring-bloomers look like two flowers in one and come in an array of colors. The woodland perennial performs best in part shade and well-drained soil.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Randy Moore

Lobularia

Lobularia, commonly known as sweet alyssum, makes for perfect groundcovers and borders in cottage gardens. Typically grown as an annual in zones 4- 9, sweet alyssum produces an endless stream of fragrant, tiny white blooms throughout the summer.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

Fountain Grass

Looking for an ornamental grass for your cottage garden? Fountain grass, with tall sprays of foliage topped with fuzzy flowers, will bounce gracefully in gentle breezes and color beautifully throughout the year.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Anna Gratys

Phlox

Butterflies, birds and hummingbirds find phlox irresistible. Phlox bears spikes of fragrant flowers that come in pink, red, white, purple and more during the summer. Creeping varieties make great flowering groundcovers and border plants.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Ole Schoener

Foxglove

Where would a cottage or woodland garden be without foxglove? The biennial produces delightful spires of vibrant flowers in early summer. Protect these charmers from the wind and give them light shade and moist, well-drained soil.

Photo By: Shutterstock/atiger

Butterfly Bush

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.

Photo By: Shutterstock/LianeM

Iris

With tall, striking leaves and even more dramatic flowers that come in a variety of colors, irises are a cottage garden staple. Plant them behind borders and beds, and remove spent flowers for a bright foliage display throughout the spring.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Koliadzynska Iryna

Peony

Peonies are classics in the cottage garden. These hardy, low-maintenance shrubs keep producing big blooms in a bright range of colors year after year.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

Hydrangea

Loved for their unique blossoms and bushy habit, hydrangeas are perfect for brightening a shady spot in the cottage garden. Bloom color depends on variety and soil pH: blue flowers appear when planted in more acid soil, and you can expect pink flowers in alkaline soils.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Pratchaya Ruenyen

Forget-Me-Not

Romantic forget-me-nots greet gardeners in the spring—their bright blue blooms are often one of the first flowers to pop up. Forget-me-nots prefer moist, well-drained soil with some afternoon shade. Try using them as a flowering groundcover or in front of borders and beds.

Photo By: Shutterstock/Shulevskyy Volodymyr

Osteospermum

Osteospermum produces an endless display of flowers from early summer to autumn and are great for sunny borders. 'White Pim' has pure white with a pink and grey striped reverse.

Photo By: Shutterstock/alybaba

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.

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