Cottage Garden Design

Easy Ways To a Colorful Landscape

Cottage garden design can be similar to English gardens, except that they are very informal. Where the English garden paths are straight, in this type of garden design they can either be straight or curved and meandering.

Where much thought goes into the typical English gardens, the cottage garden is extremely carefree.

Cottage gardens are fun! Plant perennials you fall in love with. Place them where you like in the garden. Use perennials, but you can also use annuals that re-seed. The key is to plant MANY. The more the merrier. Oh it's true, it might get a little messy, but...that's a cottage garden!

Ok, there are some things you can do to "get the look". Put some old fashioned plants in your garden. Some good choices are:

  • Peonies
  • Delphinium
  • Bleeding Heart 'spectabilis'
  • Foxglove
  • Roses
  • Lupine
  • Hydrangea

You can also mix in annuals in the garden. Try Cleome which is tall and loose. You can also add some Cosmos and other wildflowers. Some of these will re-seed, so although the plants themselves die at the end of the year, the seeds they drop will form new plants.

If you have fencing or lattice, Morning Glory is a wonderful flowering vine to use. I love its blue flowers which open in the morning only. It's a late bloomer though. It's now the end of October as I write this, and my Morning Glory is in full bloom...but I had to wait quite a few months for this! It did not start really blooming until the very end of the summer.

How about a pretty bird bath among those pretty flowers? You might also take a look at bird bath fountains. By adding this type of garden ornament, you will have a nice architectural element, a water feature, and you will attract birds to your garden.

Cottage gardens do have a wildflower look to them. When selecting your plants, think about it as a cutting garden also. Since there are so many plants and they are not regimented, it is easy to cut flowers for inside your home. You most likely won't ever miss them in the garden.

Place a 3" layer of mulch to help keep the weeds out. Water as needed. This will most likely be a garden in progress...but that's the fun!


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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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