English Cottage Garden Design
Paving, plants and décor for a country cottage garden
Plants, color and character abound in the English cottage garden. The informal combination of materials provides a cozy, romantic atmosphere that draws visitors in, making them feel right at home. Over the years, recreating this cottage garden atmosphere in residential yards has become quite popular. Many American gardens feature wooden arbors shrouded in roses, white picket fences bordering garden beds, and colorful flowers filling every nook and cranny.
Cottage gardens originated with the English rural working class who lived in small countryside houses. They couldn't afford to spend money on their gardens so they resourcefully transplanted plants from friends' gardens or used native wild plants. They also salvaged and reused old materials for paving and creating garden accents. This mixture of elements from a variety of sources led to the somewhat random, whimsical style we are so familiar with today.
With a little ingenuity, flexibility and creativity, you will be able to design your own quaint cottage garden abounding with country charm. However, keep in mind that a cottage garden is something that evolves over time. It cannot and should not be completed in one weekend; rather it should be cultivated and developed for years.
Get these tipsIn this section, you'll find tips from landscaping professionals on:
- Popular materials for paving cottage garden pathways and patios, including cobblestone, brick, stamped concrete and concrete pavers.
- Design ideas for using concrete as a paving material in an English garden.
- Recommended widths for cottage garden paths, based on the amount of foot traffic and where they lead.
- Ideas for patio furniture that will add charm to an English cottage garden, including Adirondack chairs, wrought iron, wicker or bent willow, and teak.
- How to put the finishing touch on your garden using vintage accessories like quaint birdhouses, weathered stone bird baths, old metal watering cans and antique wheelbarrows.
- Ideas for fence styles well-suited for a cottage garden, such white picket fences, weathered wood, and stone walls.
- Using arbors made of wood or metal to welcome visitors to your cottage garden.
- Ideas for adding a potting station or shed to your cottage garden to store gardening tools or to serve as a decorative element.
Although a cottage garden is intended to be a work in progress that will provide continuous enjoyment, you should start with a good layout and design plan that will adapt to your needs.