Cottage Garden Ideas and Tips

A cottage garden is one of the easiest types of flower gardens to plant and grow. It’s a hodge-podge of color, texture, heights and fragrances, an anything-goes garden with controlled chaos. There’s no right or wrong way to plant and grow a cottage garden, there’s only your way and a few simple ideas and tips that will help you transform your landscape into the most colorful yard on the block.

Basic Idea

The basic idea of a cottage garden is to plant as many flowers as possible within the landscape space to eliminate the grass. Grassy pathways between the beds or strategically placed patches of grass within the garden are fine, you just don’t want to have to use a lawn mower in the garden. The cottage garden is meant to be eco-friendly, easy-care and beautiful all at the same time.

Cottage Garden Ideas and Tips

Plant Choices

The only rule that applies to a cottage garden involves the plant choices. Plants that are grouped together need to have the same soil, sun and water requirements in order to grow well together.

Observe the area where the garden will be planted during all times of the day to discover the sunny spots, shady spots and the in-between spots. Then makes plant choices accordingly for each location. For garden and plant ideas try this gardening blog.

If the entire landscape is in direct sun, you can create some shade for shade-loving plants if desired. Plant tall plants or shrubs on the west side of the garden, then plant shade-loves on the east side of the tall plants.

Swaths of Color

Create swaths of floral color by planting tall flowers, like hollyhocks, foxgloves or bee balm, as the backdrop in a corner, then plant medium-height flowers next, followed by mounding flowers in the front of one section of the garden, all with the same bloom color.

Traditional cottage gardens also have herb plants tucked throughout among the flowers for added bloom color, texture, fragrance and so there will always be fresh herbs on hand for cooking.


Add a few surprises throughout your cottage garden for interest. A small white picket fence around the perimeter is traditional, but you can also place a small section of picket fence in the garden to help hold up heavy-headed flower blooms, like those on peonies. Add a trellis and a climbing rose, a garden gnome, a bench or other decorative and unexpected elements so those who stroll through your cottage garden will find a surprise around every corner.

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