Even if you don’t have a cottage, you can blend your home and lawn into a cottage-style landscape. By learning the basics of this carefree style and using plants that thrive in your area, cottage gardens can be easy to design and to maintain. The key to cottage garden design is to not make it look designed or formal. Try to avoid tight shapes, rigid patterns and straight lines. Curving or winding walkways are nice ways to break up big areas and they can be lined with cobblestones, stepping stones, mulch or even left as grass. Planting creeping thyme between pathway stones softens the look and adds a bit of fragrance with each step taken!
A cottage garden style is one that conjures up a flower-filled landscape bursting with colour. But there are also other elements that add to the overall effect. White picket fences, pieces of curved wrought iron, old containers, old wooden barn boards and garden art strategically placed throughout the garden can add to the overall cottage feel. Repurpose well-worn items and materials for a cozy, homey look that’s full of character. For instance, pieces like old wheelbarrows, a worn wicker chair, a rusted wire egg basket or old metal bucket lend an aged, authentic, whimsical look, as well as a sense of stability and permanence.
Cottage or “English” gardens got their start as far back as the late 1400’s in England and France. They were essentially edible and ornamental plots around small, humble cottage and featured plants that grew well in England’s cool, wet climate. These plants included old-fashioned favorites like foxglove, hollyhocks, irises, daisies, hydrangeas, roses, peonies, hostas, lupines, violas, pansies, phlox, Johnny-jump-ups, primrose, delphinium, wisteria, snapdragons, bachelor’s buttons, columbine and bleeding hearts.