Cottage Garden Design Tips And Ideas

What Is a Cottage Garden?

There are those of us out there that will declare that they have the cutest cottage garden on this side of town. What exactly is a Cottage Garden?

So what is a cottage garden and can I have one? Here in the United States the term “cottage garden” has become a widely used phrase embracing all gardens that have a vast array of flowers and plants but lack a specific style. These gardens are more representative of the tastes of their owners than the traditional cottage garden plants you read about.

Cottage Garden Planning

In fact, to be more precise it’s accurate to say that the cottage gardens of today don’t follow any particular rules, but instead, the real plan is to simply let your heart dictate what goes into it by planting what you love.

Small Space Gardening History

The first cottage gardens were created by British laborers who lacked land as well as time. They didn’t need flowers or particularly care about them. What they needed was food to sustain their families and herbs to cure sickness, so they sowed vegetables, fruit, and herbs with some flowers sprinkled in between to keep the insects away.

About the time when the eighteenth century was coming to an end, members of the gentry class began to admire the cottage garden lifestyle and planted their vision of what a cottage garden was. So it was that the British cottage garden was converted into the lushly flowered setting that we see today.

Today, if you want to see formal gardens, you need to tour an estate or take a trip to some foreign country known for their elegant floral and landscaping displays. Order is the keyword when it comes to formal gardens while cottage gardens are simply an abundant delight, fairly exploding with color and gaiety.

In fact, to be more precise it’s accurate to say that the cottage gardens of today don’t follow any particular rules, but instead, the real plan is to simply let your heart dictate what goes into it by planting what you love.

Cottage Garden Planning And Design

The key to coming up with the perfect cottage garden idea is to remember that cottage gardens are informal. They are a happy mixture of plants and flowers that are awash with color so don’t hold back when you create. Some of the cottage garden plants you might consider are delphinium, hydrangea, iris, and primroses.

Home Style Gardening

While you certainly don’t have to reside in the country to have a cottage garden, it’s really the style of your home that is going to dictate what type of cottage garden you end up with.

If you have a cottage type dwelling or any kind of a country style home it will make design a cottage garden as simple as reciting your A B Cs. Although it can be done with a more urban style home as well, you need to make sure that the addition of such a garden will truly increase the attractiveness of your home or detract from it.

Design Your Cottage Garden

A cottage garden needs to be situated in a sun-filled area, probably by a path leading to the front door and enhanced with a rustic gate or fence. The walkway to the front door should have straight lines and can be edged perhaps by brick, but lush flowers falling over each side are a must for that casual, easy feeling.


In the maze of your cottage garden ideas, it is essential that you give the type of paths you want and where you want them serious consideration. Paths are especially important in this type of garden because they not only lead the feet but the eye as well. They can point the eye to the main focus area of your garden, or direct you to an, especially enchanting area.

Your paths can be straight, winding or just curvy depending on your personal preference. Remember not to get too fancy. Simplicity is better for this type of garden. Use cobbled paths, brick paths, or stone paths. Keep in mind that your choice should always add to the aura around your garden, not distract from it.


Once again the theme here is to keep it simple. You can decorate your cottage garden with items that have a traditional flavor, such as stone statues, birdbaths, and the like. You don’t have to be rigid about this. Have fun and enjoy decorating your garden without worrying too much

Cottage Garden Plants

It’s the very assortment of plants and flowers that makes a cottage garden so enticing. Their scents and brilliant colors gladden the heart and create a casual, relaxed feeling.

Some of the more popular garden planting tips:


English Lavender



Bleeding Heart


Garden Phlox







You should eliminate any grassy areas as much as possible and try and keep the focus on the flowers and plants instead of shrubs and trees.

Concentrate on plants with pleasing fragrances such as roses. There are also many herbs you can plant that will add a refreshing aroma to your garden. Some of these are parsley, rosemary, etc.

You can, however, use ornamental grasses in order to devise a structure for your garden and shrubs like lilacs.

If you are so inclined, adding vegetables along with your herbs will increase the feeling of old fashioned charm, and provide you with some delicious edibles too.

Flowering Vines

This is where the importance of having installed arbors, pergolas, and arches is realized. Flowering vines such as a Climbing Cecile Brunner’ Rose are a major part of your cottage garden and should not be ignored or minimalized.

There’s also morning glory, clematis, wisteria, and so many others to choose from. Drape these vines over your gate and fence and allow to grow free, or attach to arbors, etc and watch them take off as a vertical garden.

Get Growing With This Style Of Garden

When all is said and done, a cottage garden is a truly wonderful creation that you can fill with fun and exciting plants and ornaments.

Its main rule is that there are no rules and you can create all the disorder you want and enjoy the freedom it gives you. There can be beauty in things that are not perfectly organized, and it’s truly worth tapping into.

Country gardens are known for their charming, old-world flavor and flair and if you can work within a few simple boundaries, you will find that creating one can be a true source of pleasure and pride. Not only will it be a testament to your gardening skills and creativity, but it will be the ultimate compliment to your home.




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