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cottage garden design

Cottage Garden Design Ideas

Cottage Garden Design Ideas for your GardenCottage garden design ideas

This charming typically English country cottage could almost be on the cover of a chocolate box! Based on our experience of designing and landscaping this garden we’ve put together some cottage garden design ideas to help you re-create this attractive style. Visit our inspiration page for more cottage garden design ideas. 

Making a start.The garden before

The garden before

When a garden is not new but already established, or even neglected, it’s best not to rush into action immediately. Live with your new garden and decide what is needed in both summer and winter. You may find that the basic concept of the garden has been diluted over the years with a hotchpotch of planting and materials. Decide what you want to keep and build the garden around them. Bear in mind that the previous owner may have put things in a place for a reason so check before removing an overgrown shrub for example – what might it be hiding?

Existing trees and shrubs – what have you got already?

When shrubs have got completely out of hand, cut them back hard after they have flowered. After a year you will know if you like  them or not and whether they are worth keeping. When large trees need attention it is best to check with the local planning office before taking action in case they have a protection order on them. Old trees may be taking light, using up too much space or impoverishing the ground around them. Get an opinion from a tree surgeon before removing or loping off branches.Cottage garden design ideas

Decide what to keep – make a list of what will stay

Once you have decided what you are going to keep in the garden, draw up a list of what it is you really want and work out your style. There may be a shrub that could be pruned to make more attractive, in the above example some cloud pruning looks appropriate.  A mixture of styles can look pretentious and overdone, so if something is not quite working resist the urge to add more in, it’s much better to take something away. The art is to take each element of your garden, be it the walls of the house, furniture, steps or a planter as part of a single design and bear in mind how one relates to another.

Pathwayscottage garden design ideas

In this garden, plants we used to soften the gravel pathways. Local shingle was used. The tones of the local stone and surrounding landscape must all be considered prior to deciding what materials to use for pathways and patios. The colour of the walls, brickwork, paint and roofing are all factors in setting the style of garden. There are no set of rules that govern how this should be done, the key lies in having an awareness for an overall picture with  plants being added as the final touch.

Cottage garden design ideas using plants

Cottage plantsThe classic cottage garden style with roses and honeysuckle rambling around a door, is often imitated but is in reality is difficult to achieve. The relaxed disorder of a county style planting scheme needs to be controlled within a strong underlying framework. The beauty of a typically English cottage garden lies in its simplicity. Keep it informal. Stick to a simple palette of two or three colours. Purples and pinks create a soft, romantic feel, while a bed in shades of blue and yellow will be more striking.

Cottage garden design ideas – a water featurewater feature

The colour, scent and visual pleasure of a garden can all be enhanced by the sensual nature of water. If properly used, water in a garden gives light and life and will always be eye catching. No matter what the space, water can always be incorporated into some sort of garden design. If you decide to add a water feature into your garden for the first time this year, the size and style of the house and garden will largely determine your choice.

Car Parkingenglish cottage garden

Many front gardens have to double up as car parks, and this garden was no exception. Try to create a screen, preferably using planting, so the cars aren’t visible from the house. In this cottage garden we used Hornbeam Carpinus betulus, which will eventually screen off the parking area. In keeping with the house a bound resin gravel driveway was created.

Cottage garden design ideas – Storage Spacegarden storage areas

Gardens often have to be used for storage areas, especially front gardens. Bins, bikes, logs can all be hidden in a neat wooden storage unit and screened with plants so they can hardly be seen!

A place to sit

Most gardens are at their loveliest on fine summer evenings in the softer light, when many flowers give off their most delicious fragrance. If you only have space for one seating area in your garden, try to make it in a west-facing position and position the furniture on some permanent paving. This is an ideal place to position containers of scented plants that can be moved according to the season.

Of all the pleasures that a garden offers perhaps the simplest and greatest is just to sit  outside and relax for a while on a summer evening.

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