A country garden is one of the most inviting ways to bring the outdoors in. With its abundance of flowers, natural textures, and casual elegance, it’s a great place to relax.
A cottage garden, on the other hand, is a less formal approach. It’s less expensive than other types of gardening, doesn’t require as much upkeep, and can be created with a few packs of seeds and some patience.
There are many things to consider when designing a cottage garden, and although the plants will be the focal point of the garden, hardscaping is an important part of this style as well. Look closely at the photos of established cottage gardens and you’ll realize that the garden is often complemented by elements such as brick, stone slabs, pea gravel, rustic fences, terracotta pots, or even vintage metal pieces.
The backbone of the cottage garden is made up of perennials that grow year after year. These include aquilegias, delphiniums, phlox and pinks. They should be planted in groups or clumps and can be divided every few years to keep them looking fresh and vibrant.
For a traditional touch, add a few old-fashioned roses to your garden too. They come in a range of opulent colors and are ideal for creating a sense of romance in your space, as well as offering a fantastic scent.
Drift planting is another popular cottage garden idea, with swathes of naturalistic planting used to create a loose and unstructured effect. It’s easy to do and works best with drifts of colorful blooms like foxgloves.
Planting tall spires of flowers in a group is another way to give your cottage garden a distinctive look. This is usually done with foxgloves and can be done in repeat rows for impact.
Heuchera (coral bells) are also an attractive option for a cottage garden. They have huge leaves that are silvery in appearance and come in a range of shades, including dusky pink, soft apricot and misty mauve.
Providing texture, height and structure, vines are an important part of any cottage garden. They can be woven into a pergola, adorn gates and fences, and even climb over arches or arbors.
Climbers are an effective way to tie a cottage garden together and provide additional height, shade, and privacy. They can also be used to create a dramatic focal point in the garden.
A cottage garden should be designed with a mix of small, medium and tall growers to create the look of barely controlled abundance. This is because cottage gardens have a more informal feel than other types of landscaping, so you don’t want to overdo it with large flowering plants that will be in full bloom at all times.
The best way to plan a cottage garden is to draw out the space in advance and then lay out your plants on paper before planting. It’s a much more efficient method than dropping in plants where you want them, and it will ensure that there is a new area of the garden to discover around every bend.
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