Cottage Garden Design Without the English Cottage

Cottage Garden Design Without the English Cottage

If you love old-time cottage garden design, but dwell in a modern home, do not despair. You can still enjoy this charming style in your landscape.

With blooms of all kinds everywhere, cottage gardens exude a casually quaint and romantic appeal. Hollyhocks, old-fashioned roses, lilacs and sage are favorites in these plots, enchanting the senses of sight and smell. Developed from centuries-old English cottage gardens, which prized function over form, vegetables, herbs and fruits were grown as practical food sources. Flowers only gradually made their way to the garden scene when their therapeutic effects were discovered. And everything grew together in delightful disarray, since space, finances and time did not allow for extensive landscaping as we know it today.

Over the years, the style evolved, and now, cottage garden design is interpreted broadly to include:

Aesthetics, as well as, or in lieu of function.

Planned layouts.

Groupings of flowers and plants for greater visual impact.

A combination of old and new types of plantings.

A variety of landscape settings, large and small.

Owners of period-style homes may strive for an authentic cottage garden appearance to accent their historic homes. But the look can be modified to fit practically any lifestyle or location, including back, front or side yards, patio or deck surroundings, and even containers.Rather than attempt to replicate an exact ideal, consider the spirit of cottage gardening style:

Informal elegance.

A variety of simple, classic plants and flowers.

Sweet-smelling, old-fashioned roses.

Winding paths made of natural materials.

Climbing vines against walls.

Naturalized bulbs.

Hybrid plants, modern accents and perfectly shaped shrubs or conifers generally do not lend themselves to the traditional cottage style. But if you adore a contemporary hybrid flower variety, go ahead and include it. The cottage style is very adaptable, and you will enjoy it most when it surrounds you with your favorite plantings.

The possibilities are endless. Allow yourself to be inspired by cottage garden design, rather than bound to its absolute authenticity.