Create an English Cottage Garden

Heady scents, voluptuous flowers and a dash of whimsy; this romantic style was created by urban dwellers who adapted the vegetable, fruit and flower gardens of countryside plots. Thought to be an act of rebellion against the rigid, formal French gardens of the 17th century, the “jardin anglais” or English cottage garden has become a firm favourite amongst gardeners all over the world.

No matter what size or shape garden you have you can create this garden style by following these steps.

Design and Landscaping

Abundant planting that spills over narrow pathways, masses of colour and scented flowers. Framed by hedging, simple lawn shapes softened by a profusion of plants.

  • Informal colourful perennial planting, scented climbers, Roses, topiary, wildflowers
  • Fluid planting with a mixture of heights
  • Outbuildings, sheds, summerhouses
  • Pergolas, walkways
  • Traditional stone & brickwork
  • Ponds, fountains
  • Formal hedges
  • Seating areas, Benches
  • Planters, pots
  • Vegetable patches and herb gardens

Which plants to use

Think romantic - planting should be carefree and not too restricted. Mix colourful planting and formal with wildflowers to attract pollinators. Consider scent when choosing your plants. Add late summer flowering shrubs such as Hydrangeas and English Roses to fill larger gaps. Hydrangeas look particularly stunning grown in groups at the back of a mixed border or as an informal hedge.  Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and Hydrangea paniculata Limelight are perfect for larger gardens.

Scented climbers

  • Honeysuckle
  • Wisteria
  • Roses - Grow repeat flowering climbing roses up trellis or along a fence for continuous blooms and to soften the boundary. With regular dead-heading these will take you well into autumn leaving you to sit back and enjoy.

Seasonal fillers to attract wildlife and soften paths

  • Lavender
  • English Roses
  • Salvia
  • Nepeta
  • Penstemon and Echinacea
  • Alchemilla mollis
  • Heuchera

Fruit Trees – create a mini orchard

  • Apples
  • Pear
  • Cherries
  • Plums

Topiary and Hedging

  • Yew hedging, balls and cones
  • Box hedging, balls, cones and spirals
  • Mini bay trees with twisted stems
  • Bay cones

Things to avoid

  • Contemporary landscaping and features
  • Mediterranean and exotic planting
  • Clean straight lines – pathways and borders
  • Blocks of colour

This is how we do it

Creative Landscape were asked to create an outdoor living space to meet the needs of family life and a dog with traditional cottage style planting in keeping with the surroundings <find out how it's done>