Whether you have a period home or a more modern dwelling, an English-style cottage garden might be the perfect landscaping style for you. Cottage gardens are verdant and colourful and provide a rustic, country feel to your outdoor areas.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about which plants are ideal for a cottage garden, so you can choose a selection which will suit your tastes and the climate of the area that you live in. However, to create a successful and authentic cottage style, you'll need to stick to the following three principles of design and planting.
1. Variety in plant heights
One of the key elements you'll need to consider when planning your cottage garden is choosing plants that will provide a variety of heights once they reach maturity. This will provide the loose architectural structure that is a universal characteristic of the style.
Include plants that grow low to the ground, such as dianthus, violets and lady's mantle. Add in mid-height varieties such as dame's rocket, daisies and coral bells. Finish off with tall plants which will add stature and height, such as hollyhocks, hydrangeas and roses.
2. Ensure year-round colour
Bright and beautiful blooms are another quintessential feature of cottage gardens. When you're selecting your plants, make sure that you choose varieties that will provide you with an array of colourful flowers throughout the different seasons.
Include a mix of seasonal, biennial and perennial plants. Seasonal plants such as daffodils will bloom in only one season. Biennial plants such as foxglove will flower twice each year, and perennials such as geraniums will provide you will colour all-year-round.
3. Focus on aromatic planting
One of the delights of a cottage garden is the heady aromas produced by the variety of plants. Aim to include as many aromatic plants as possible to ensure you'll get a full sensory experience while enjoying your outdoor space.
Roses, jasmine, lavender and wisteria are all highly fragrant plants that also have the benefits of beautiful flowers and all-year-round greenery. Adding a selection of herbs such as basil, mint and tarragon will provide further lovely scents as well as useful fodder for your cottage kitchen.
With an understanding of these basic principles, you're then free to select plants that are the most pleasing to your sense of sight and smell. Visit your local plant nursery to select your plants and start the exciting process of designing your ideal cottage