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Cottage Garden Ideas

Garden of Abundance

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It is so beautiful to wander around a cottage garden discovering all it has to offer in its glory.  You can create your own little slice of heaven by planting the right flowers, herb and vegetable varieties.  Almost any garden regardless of the size can be turned into a cottage style garden with the exception of extremely shaded plots.   The cottage garden is low maintenance with the slightly overgrown appearance adding to it’s appeal.

The popularity of this traditional style is no longer reserved for quaint countryside dwellings but has been incorporated into new buildings from the traditional style to ultra modern.  The informal style of the garden allows the owner to spend time enjoying the beauty of the garden rather than constantly slogging away trying to keep it under control.   What is not to love!


With the focus on organic vegetables and wellbeing this once traditional garden is gaining in popularity.  Growing your own flowers, vegetables and herbs side by side not only looks glorious but is a great source of food for you and your family.  The health benefits of herbs are amazing so make sure you grow a variety.  Fabulous flowers can be easily picked and your garden is still vibrant and overflowing.

Spending time among flowers, foliage and nature has been well documented to aid well being. The cottage garden is a delight to the senses with it’s beautifully fragrant blooms, profusion of colour and our beautiful pollinators – the bees and the butterflies.   Carefully placed seating areas and winding paving stones add to the functionality and charm.

What to plant in a cottage garden

A cottage garden can simply be a place for you to sit and enjoy or you can have the added benefit of growing for your kitchen.  It can be controlled to an extent or it can be a rambling wildness!    Create a space that suits you and your needs, a cottage garden offers you lots of options which we will explore to help inspire you.  Have a look at your space and start planning!

Cover all walls with climbers such as ivy, climbing roses, honeysuckle, pyracantha, wisteria and let them run riot.  This is a wonderful and stunning way to create the perfect back drop to your cottage garden design.

Perennial choices add shape with larger plants to the back such as poppies, foxgloves and hollyhock.  Add mid height plants such as lavender, geranium and aquilegias and interplant with fruit and vegetables.  A visual delight and eclectic feature is to have runner beans growing up a wigwam cane among your blooms.  Oregano, parsley and thyme have pretty leaves and will fit nicely on your borders with violas and lady’s mantle.  Red currants, rhubarb and gooseberries are just some of the traditional fruits that can be grown on your borders.  You can have a separate vegetable, fruit or herb plot if you prefer, just choose a sunny area.

Features for a Cottage Garden

Every cottage garden needs the odd feature or two, it just gives it the finishing touch.  The great thing is, they do not have to be expensive and you probably have things lying around or in storage that can be utilised.  These do not have to be in great condition,  the more rustic the better!  Fill what you can with compost , plant and create distinct aspects.

Here is a list of the features for a cottage garden.  Do not use them all as it will be too much and will spoil the look of the garden.  So many gardens look beautiful but we can get a little carried away and over do the look – create your chaos methodically!

18 feature ideas for a cottage garden.

  • buckets
  • vintage bikes
  • wagon wheels
  • old wheelbarrows
  • large rocks
  • stepping stones
  • cast iron water pumps
  • stone troughs
  • old milk churns
  • terracotta pots
  • old wagons
  • Archways and pergolas
  • Table and chair
  • picket fence
  • Trellis
  • weather vanes
  • sun dials
  • Statues
Choose an area to place a table and chair where you can have your morning coffee or afternoon tea!  Try placing under a Pergola in an area that allows you to admire and soak in the tranquility of your garden.
A beautiful archway adorned with roses adds romance and is a must for every cottage garden,  your archway can lead to another corner of the garden creating mystery or can simply be a stand alone feature.
Every available space in your garden is another opportunity to plant, think about walls and doors also.  Use climbers for walls and around your doors,  this will ensure your house is incorporated into the look and feel you are portraying.
Paths can be made with varying materials, stepping stones or gravel can look equally as pleasing.  Make sure your paths are curved in keeping with the flow of your garden and avoid straight lines.
Choose a fence that compliments the size of your garden,  try a picket style or sheets of trellis that you can use infuse with colourful climbers.
If you already have a fence that you do not want to change,  paint it white and train climbers for a new look that compliments your garden.
When Summer ends make sure to leave your annual plants alone and let the seeds mature.  You can then use them to plant back into the soil or in trays to be planted the next year.  Come Autumn, you can start to tidy your garden when your perennials start to look a little tired.  Divide large clumps to create more flowering for next year.