Cottage backyard ideas – 25 ways to bring a rural, rustic feel to any garden plot

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The entreaty of cottage backyard ideas are rooted successful their informal charm: brimming with color, texture, fragrance, and romanticist blooms, they are a sanctuary for radical and wildlife alike. Cottage backyard ideas besides bring with them a consciousness of freedom, letting you make a plot filled with your favourite flowers, plants and nutrient arsenic good arsenic having country for a pond, fountain oregon seating area.

Cottage planting schemes are inspired by accepted English backyard ideas that day backmost to the 16th century. These gardens were beauteous and productive, billowing with old-fashioned flowers, seasonal produce, and location remedies. But present the conception has evolved into much of an cognition than a rigid look – and US gardeners person taken the benignant arsenic their own.

Cottage backyard ideas 

Massachusetts-based scenery decorator Margaret Hensel wrote a publication connected the taxable – English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners (opens successful caller tab) – and helps gardeners to construe the look successful their ain backyards and offers proposal connected how to program a cottage garden.

'There are precise fewer thatched cottages successful America but the thought of cottage gardens works precise well,' she says. 'You tin unrecorded successful a split-level oregon ranch location and inactive person a fantastic cottage backyard. I person seen cottage gardens for Arts and Crafts-style houses successful the Midwest, Berkeley California, North Carolina, century-old adobe houses successful Santa Fe New Mexico. I could spell on. Think effusive, informal, abundant and loved. I deliberation emotion is truly the key.'

1. Start by planting cottage favorites successful your garden

cottage plot  with floral planting

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

All cottage backyard ideas commencement with cottage plot plants. As with each elements of cottage backyard design, determination are nary hard and accelerated rules, simply take plants that marque your bosom sing. 

‘There are galore plants to turn to found the cottage benignant successful a plot - roses, clematis and honeysuckles are indispensable for adding tallness and scent, and are immoderate of our favourites to turn for cutting too. Romantic and indulgent peonies and alliums, adhd colour and shape. Delicate airy annuals similar Ammi majus, Orlaya grandiflora and cut-and-come-again cosmos volition capable borders and supply buckets of chopped flowers,’ says plantswoman Sarah Raven (opens successful caller tab)

When selecting your plants for your cottage gardens don’t hide to see immoderate plants for pollinators successful your selection. 

Once you’ve finalised your selection, beryllium definite to probe how to works a cottage plot border to guarantee that you show each works to its top effect.

2. Opt for hardscaping successful earthy materials

flowers successful  a cottage plot  successful  beforehand   of a adust  chromatic  wall

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

Hardscaping provides a plot with its backbone and tin spell a agelong mode to defining a garden’s look. For cottage backyard ideas, instrumentality to earthy materials with a rustic edge. Dry chromatic walls and brushed gravel paths are large options that volition blend perfectly into your cottage plot ideas. For existent rustic appeal, root salvaged timber and repurpose it successful your scheme. Timeworn materials marque a plot consciousness similar it is already established, and adhd aged charm.

This besides applies to front gait cottage plot ideas, wherever paths and walls are arsenic prominent.

3. Create a cottage patio space

exterior of cottage with flagstone floors and rattan sofa

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

Cottage backyard ideas aren’t conscionable astir the planting. Cottage patio ideas are a large mode to summation the versatility of the garden, giving you a abstraction to unbend and bask each your hard work. There are plentifulness of antithetic patio ideas that enactment successful a cottage mounting but the champion harvester rustic materials specified a chromatic pavers oregon flagstones with modern modern plot furnishings specified arsenic this laid backmost woven sofa, implicit with cosy outdoor cushions. Take inspiration from cottage decorating ideas to make a patio abstraction that works successful harmony with some your location and garden.

4. Add a quaint shepherd’s hut for surviving abstraction successful the garden

shepherd's hut successful  cottage plot  with flowers and plot  path

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

The eventual imagination for cottage backyard ideas, shepherds’ huts person been astir for centuries. Originally designed to beryllium a home-from-home for shepherds during the lambing season, contiguous this rustic benignant of cart is much popularly utilized successful the plot to supply further abstraction without the hassle of extending. Whether you enactment from location and request a peaceful bureau oregon privation to make an other chamber for guests, a shepherd’s hut is simply a beauteous and applicable prime of garden country ideas. 

5. Opt for a gravel way to soften the edges of a lawn

cottage plot  with pebble way  and tract   and bicycle and flowers successful  buckets

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

'The accepted presumption of a cottage plot is that it surrounds a quaint location adorned successful scented roses and climbers, is simply a confined abstraction with nary lawn, and intersected with paths,' says Clapp. However, these days determination is nary 'typical' plan – and that is 1 of the joys of creating a cottage scheme.

So, you surely don't request to travel the thought of nary lawn, but adding a mildly meandering way volition adhd a romanticist consciousness of whimsy to your cottage backyard. Gravel, brick, oregon paving stones are each large garden way ideas for cottage backyard ideas.

'Choose plants that spill implicit paths to soften immoderate hard edges,' adds Margaret Hensel. 'And if you adhd a way springiness it a goal. Let the way nonstop your oculus (and your feet) to a bench, vertebrate bath, oregon a statue for a person look. Nothing is much frustrating successful a plot than a way that has nary intent and goes nowhere.'

6. Erect a woody shed to supply a applicable planting space

garden shed with doorway  painted successful  small  greene goblin

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Garden retention ideas are captious for keeping the plot tidy, but a bushed shed oregon outbuilding doesn’t person to beryllium an eye-sore. Just giving it a lick of overgarment – Little Greene’s Goblin (opens successful caller tab) is an fantabulous plot shadiness – tin springiness the full country a facelift. Pair with a vignette of terracotta pots and vintage gardenalia for added cottage charm. If you're looking for garden shed ideas, opt for a rustic plan made from brick, wood oregon chromatic to assistance it blend into your cottage backyard ideas.

7. Add a h2o diagnostic for a serene soundtrack

fountain successful  cottage benignant   garden

(Image credit: Jody Steward)

Nothing evokes calm and tranquillity rather similar the dependable of trickling water. Water features are a beauteous summation to immoderate plot ideas, however, they are peculiarly beauteous successful cottage backyard ideas. Whether you are considering garden fountain ideas oregon broader water diagnostic ideas, they volition assistance to bring beingness and question to your plot.

8. Think astir entree to your cottage backyard

Garden gross  ideas

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

If your plot tin beryllium accessed from the backmost oregon broadside of the property, arsenic good arsenic done the house, deliberation astir this approach. A woody plot gate, paired with ceramic walls oregon hedgerows is the classical prime for cottage backyard ideas – there are plentifulness of garden gross ideas that volition acceptable perfectly into your scheme. 

9. Let your location animate cottage backyard ideas

Cottage backyard ideas - opening   retired  from the house

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

A cottage backyard begins with your house. 'Look retired your room windows, locomotion successful and retired of your beforehand and backmost doors, and ideate what you’d similar to spot and experience,' says Hensel. 

'Think color, texture and fragrance. Imagine a fragrant mock orangish (Philadelphus) by your room window, oregon French lilacs planted wherever you tin odor them erstwhile you locomotion by, past underplant them with hardy geraniums.'

Think astir the areas you tin champion spot from wrong antithetic rooms, and the contiguous interaction of opening retired onto the backyard. Make the astir of tiny glimpses done windows you locomotion by, specified arsenic connected stairwells.

10. Plant abundant borders successful your cottage backyard

Cottage backyard ideas abundant borders

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

In classical cottage backyard schemes, borders are bursting with planting. 'Although they look haphazard, immoderate thought needs to beryllium fixed to readying the effect. You are aiming for a succession of blooms that springiness a tapestry of color,' says gardening adept Leigh Clapp. 

'Think old-fashioned favorites, including geraniums, roses and foxgloves, to make an informal, casual atmosphere, and works them adjacent together, ignoring modular spacing.

'Let plants flop implicit and weave done each other. Voluptuous, effervescent, fragrant and self-seeding choices volition assistance you make the look. Multi-petalled flowers volition springiness that romanticist feel, specified arsenic blousy peonies and aged roses.

'You don’t request to beryllium confined to lone authentic plants, though, arsenic a colorful premix of bulbs, perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs volition springiness a year-round imaginativeness with much structure.'

11. Add involvement with gangly flowers

Cottage backyard ideas - gangly  flowers

(Image credit: Future)

Some of the astir important plants successful a cottage backyard are those that popular up successful borders, towering supra their neighbors to adhd tallness and drama. In mainstream gardening, taller plants are usually reserved for the backmost and mediate of wide borders, but successful cottage planting, it looks bully erstwhile they are dotted throughout.

‘I rather similar putting gangly plants adjacent the beforehand of a border,’ says personage gardener Monty Don successful an occurrence of Gardener’s World (opens successful caller tab). ‘You don’t privation them each astatine the backmost – you privation to beryllium capable to look done flowers arsenic good arsenic up to them.’

He reveals that successful his ain cottage garden, helium has ‘deliberately tried to cultivate a jumble of brushed colors’ and adds to it with plants that connection a ‘spike oregon spire of color’.

Don's recommended gangly flowers for cottage backyards see foxgloves, verbascums, hollyhocks and delphiniums. Bear successful caput that these plants usually necessitate supports.

12. Choose plants that are casual to turn and attraction for

Cottage backyard ideas

(Image credit: Clive Nichols)

When researching cottage backyard ideas, it's casual to get swept up successful the romance of cultivating overflowing borders. However, beryllium cautious of making excessively overmuch enactment for yourself – particularly if you aren't an experienced gardener.

'You volition beryllium kept engaged mulching, watering, feeding, deadheading, cutting back, dividing, planting and tweaking the design,' says Clapp.

'Start tiny truthful that it doesn’t get retired of control; larn however to support the plants fed and looking abundant, past gradually summation the size.'

To guarantee success, Hensel advises to take easy-to-grow plants. 'Old-fashioned lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), upland bluets (Centaurea montana), peonies, each kinds of hardy geraniums, daisies, Siberian iris (Iris siberica) – premix them up and works them adjacent together.'

It’s a bully thought to see thoughtfully placed low-maintenance evergreen shrubs arsenic they tin enactment arsenic a backbone, adding operation and year-round texture and keeping things looking greenish successful each season.

‘Every gardener learns from their successes and mistakes, truthful don’t beryllium acrophobic to marque mistakes and experiment,' adds Hensel. ’There are nary acceptable rules for cottage gardening. Most importantly, person fun.'

13. Plant a meadow country successful your cottage backyard

Cottage backyard ideas - wildflower meadow

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

A meadow country that's near to people self-seed is simply a captious summation to cottage backyards that person capable space. Not lone are wildflowers specified arsenic poppies, marigolds, and ox-eye daisies delightful to look at, but they are self-seeding, truthful volition capable successful gaps and settee wherever they please.

Wildflowers are besides loved by pollinators specified arsenic bees and butterflies, which are indispensable to a steadfast plot and the wider environment.

Even if you don't person tons of space, effort to find a tiny country oregon neglected country somewhere, and make a haven for wildlife successful your cottage backyard.

14. Embrace instrumentality gardening

Cottage backyard ideas potted display

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

There are truthful galore ways to usage containers successful a cottage backyard, whether they are dotted astir patios, utilized to enactment pathways, oregon grouped unneurotic arsenic a focal feature.

'Even if you unrecorded successful a engaged municipality oregon city, with lone a tiny courtyard astatine your disposal, you tin make a instrumentality cottage plot that conjures up images of summertime days,' says Isabel Palmer, writer of The Balcony Gardener (opens successful caller tab).

'In the past, containers would person been thing going spare – whether this was an aged trough, metallic bucket, basin oregon a woody half-barrel. You tin recreate that look astatine location utilizing containers made from classical materials, specified arsenic aged zinc, beaten metal, terracotta and wicker. 

'I similar to usage galvanized metallic dolly tubs and zinc planters, which are ample and tin beryllium filled with an abundance of flowers.'

15. Create a 'secret' eating area

Cottage backyard ideas alfresco dining

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

When reasoning of cottage backyard ideas, don't hide to prioritize seating areas that volition alteration you to marque the astir of the space. One of the champion ways to soak up the ambiance is by eating outdoors. 

While the accustomed spot for an al fresco eating country is connected the patio adjacent to the house, positioning it successful a secluded spot, sheltered by trees and accessed done a roseate arch, adds a magical aerial evocative of The Secret Garden.

All the amended if it's positioned adjacent deliciously fragranced plants that volition get the sensation buds going.

16. Grow climbing plants successful a cottage backyard

Cottage backyard ideas - climbing plants

(Image credit: Future)

Sweet peas scrambling up pillars, roses increasing implicit doorways, and honeysuckle creeping crossed walls – climbing plants adhd vertical involvement and abundance to cottage backyards.

These plants are often fragrant, filling the aerial with their saccharine scent and invigorating the senses.

'Climbers springiness inheritance and tin besides beryllium utilized among the profusion connected rustic obelisks, portion perennials, specified arsenic delphiniums, aquilegia, phlox and pinks, planted successful clumps are the backbone, popping up twelvemonth aft year,' says Clapp. 

'Traditionally hollyhocks were planted against the cottage wall, and contiguous they instantly springiness a cottage feel, whether against the partition oregon towering retired of a border.'

17. Opt for earthy boundaries to your property

Cottage backyard ideas - earthy  materials

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Consider wildlife erstwhile choosing the boundaries to your cottage backyard ideas. Hedges are an eco-friendly prime that suit a cottage-style garden. Opt for plants similar hawthorn and container and you’ll spot them buzzing with wildlife travel spring. However, hedges tin beryllium costly to works and volition necessitate maintenance. Wooden fences connection different earthy choice.

18. Choose a brushed pastel palette…

Cottage backyard ideas pastel palette

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

'Gentle, soothing tones and brushed colors are the bid of the day,' says Palmer. 'So look retired for flowers successful shades of purple, mauve, lilac and pink, and adhd whites and creams to assistance the scheme.'

These brushed shades volition make a harmonious, romanticist consciousness to your cottage backyard, and acceptable a relaxing atmosphere.

19. …Or spell bold with a riot of color

Cottage backyard ideas - bold color

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

'Some cottage gardens, however, are a veritable riot of color, truthful don’t clasp backmost from utilizing blistery and fiery colors,' adds Palmer.

As seen successful this design, dahlias are fantastic for adding rich, late-summer colour to a cottage backyard.

English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners writer Margaret Hensel is simply a large believer successful utilizing immoderate colour you similar successful a cottage backyard. 'Mix and lucifer immoderate suits your fancy,' she says. 'That’s the joyousness of cottage gardening – it's your palette.'

20. Add a plaything seat

Cottage backyard ideas - plaything  seat

(Image credit: Sitting Spiritually)

Perhaps 1 of the astir delightful cottage backyard ideas is the summation of a plaything seat.  What amended mode to portion distant a lazy summer's afternoon, than by mildly rocking backmost and distant successful the breeze, taking successful the sights and scents of your garden?

Adding 1 beneath a timber framework oregon pergola gives the accidental to turn climbing plants to situation yourself with beauty.

21. Fill your cottage backyard with roses

Cottage backyard ideas roses

(Image credit: Clive Nichols)

Few plants person the beauty, fragrance and symbolism of roses. Rose plot ideas are the cleanable romanticist summation to a cottage backyard ideas, whether filling retired borders, climbing walls oregon bursting retired of pots connected the patio.

Roses are hardy perennials, and necessitate an yearly prune, arsenic good arsenic feeding and mulching. You tin deadhead repeat-flowering varieties to support them blooming, but immoderate taxon person beauteous reddish roseate hips that you should permission unsocial to marque a stunning diagnostic successful the autumn.

22. Plant nutrient among the flowers

Cottage backyard ideas - productive garden

(Image credit: Future/Mark Bolton)

Traditionally, cottage backyards are productive arsenic good arsenic beautiful, supplying their owners with seasonal produce. Kitchen plot ideas were an indispensable portion of the cottage backyard.

The fruits, vegetables and herbs are planted alongside different plants, which is simply a companion planting method utilized to assistance ward disconnected pests.

Consider incorporating raised plot furniture ideas into your cottage backyard, arsenic these volition specify these productive increasing areas and alteration you to amended power your ungraded mix.

'No self-respecting cottage plot would beryllium without a postulation of herbs, arsenic these were the mainstays of the cottage cooking cookware and medicine chest,' says Palmer. 'Fragrant lavender is ubiquitous, but truthful are different herbs specified arsenic sage, marjoram, rosemary and thyme.'

 23. Use an archway to framework your cottage backyard

Cottage backyard ideas - archway

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

One of the astir elemental yet effectual cottage backyard ideas, archways adhd operation and definition. They besides informally disagreement the plot into antithetic areas and usher you down pathways.

Roses, clematis and jasmine are each large choices for increasing implicit an archway successful a cottage backyard.

24. Add quality with vintage pieces

Cottage backyard ideas vintage pieces

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Cottage backyards should consciousness homey and lived in, not caller and pristine. Visit your section fleamarket oregon vintage store to prime up timeworn furnishings and planters. Items specified arsenic beverage jugs oregon troughs tin marque large planters. Zinc and metallic pieces marque the cleanable foil for flowers, portion woody items volition blend successful people with the garden.

25. Grow your ain plants from seed

Cottage backyard ideas - turn  from seed

(Image credit: Sarah Raven)

'One of the astir intimate ways to signifier a narration with your garden’s plants is increasing them from seed,' says personage gardener Carol Klein, successful a cottage plot peculiar of BBC's Great British Garden Revival (opens successful caller tab)

'Watching your seedlings turn into tall, arrogant plants volition alteration the mode you spot your garden. There are truthful galore plants that you tin turn from seed.'

Many cottage plot plants volition besides happily self-sow, turning your backyard into a partially self-sustaining sanctuary with a beingness of its own. Over time, it volition people germinate and instrumentality connected its ain unsocial personality.

Is a cottage plot precocious maintenance?

No, a cottage plot is not precocious maintenance. In fact, cottage gardens are 1 of the easiest types of plot to maintain. 'You are successful a concern with nature, arsenic you can’t wholly power the improvement of the space, allowing plants to self-seed and go interwoven surprises, with your task of editing and augmenting arsenic needed,' explains Leigh Clapp.

How bash you physique an English cottage garden?

You tin physique and English cottage by utilizing a wide assortment of cottage plot plants including lavender, hollyhocks, foxgloves, roses and sweetpeas. These volition instantly springiness your plot an English cottage feel. Pair with larger effect trees to supply tallness to the plot, orchard varieties specified arsenic apples, pears, apricots and plums volition each beryllium a bully fit.

'Cottage gardens are romantic, relaxed, escaped flowering and fun; they tin beryllium planted with pastel tones oregon brighter hues that you love. Part of the ethos of a cottage plot is imbuing it with your ain property – determination are nary rules, conscionable works what you emotion to make a plot that appeals to you,' explains Leigh Clapp.