Creating a cottage garden - 7 tips for implementation

Creating a cottage garden - 7 tips for implementation

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Nostalgia combined with romance - that can only be a cottage garden. Our tips show you what this is and how you can create a cottage garden.

Cottage gardens come from England

Who doesn't want a garden that looks beautiful but needs little maintenance? You may think now that there is no such garden unless it is only a lawn. But you thought wrong. These are the characteristics of a so-called cottage garden.

What is that? It is a rural garden from England, which is basically constructed like a cottage garden. However, a cottage garden is much finer and with more attention to detail.

Wild but romantic: the cottage garden

The cottage garden is particularly characterized by informality and wildness, although it still has a certain structure. The focus of this garden is, as the name suggests, the cottage. While this garden used to be just a kitchen garden with herbs and medicinal plants, vegetables and fruit trees, today it is an association of flowers and kitchen garden.

Elegant, but still wild, that's what today's cottage garden looks like. It is perfect for anyone who is against clearly structured gardens with meticulously designed beds. When you travel to England, you should definitely be inspired by this garden style.

Collect suggestions for a cottage garden:

1. Visit garden exhibitions
(Book your flight via and visit botanical gardens worldwide)

2. Ask a gardener what belongs in a cottage garden
(find nurseries throughout Germany via

3. Read books about cottage gardens
(find books on the topic via

As you can see, there are enough sources or places where you can get inspiration for your cottage garden and at the same time get important information for plant selection and care. Our tips show you how to create this yourself or how you can convert your current garden into a cottage garden.

Tips for building a cottage garden

➤ Tip 1 - garden fence / wall:

The border of the property forms the basis of a cottage garden. At best, this should consist of a high hedge or a natural stone or brick wall. Over time, moss and lichen can form on this wall, which provide a nostalgic touch even outside the garden. Trellises can also surround the garden. However, these should look more rustic.

If you opt for a high hedge, we can recommend the evergreen yew tree or woody plants such as the hornbeam or the European beech.

➤ Tip 2 - Path and bed borders:

A cottage garden captivates with wild growth, but the beds in this garden are clearly defined. For bordering e.g. Box hedges best suited.

In a cottage garden, paths are often bordered with upholstery shrubs, which are also allowed to grow over the edge of the path. Otherwise, natural materials such as natural stone, wood or fired bricks also look very good as a path border.

➤ Tip 3 - create paths:

While the garden paths were always straight in the past, today they can also run in an arch. It is important, however, that they are bordered by perennials as described in the tip and, at best, also covered by trellis bows.

The paths themselves can be made of gravel, pebbles or other stones. Paved paths made of natural stone are also possible.

➤ Tip 4 - plants for the cottage garden:

Flower and herbaceous beds are essential in a cottage garden. However, you must not plant these under any system. In a cottage garden, e.g. planted the following flowers:

  • Poppy
  • jasmine
  • lupine
  • cornflowers
  • Lily
  • hydrangeas
  • lavender
  • sage
  • elder
  • lilac
  • williams
  • nasturtium
  • delphinium

➤ Tip 5 - Most important plant: the rose:

Roses play a very important role in a real cottage garden. They give this garden a very special charm and provide the necessary elegance between the wild plants. Old rose varieties are particularly suitable for a cottage garden (examples here).

If you are planting roses in your garden, the best thing to do is to grow them up on a trellis or tree, or climb up archways. As an alternative to the climbing rose, you can also let the wisteria or clematis grow up on an archway.

➤ Tip 6 - Plant fruits and vegetables:

In a real cottage garden, fruit trees should of course not be missing. Above all, they should be planted where they are particularly effective and almost seem picturesque. Which type of fruit you choose is entirely up to you. Otherwise, berry bushes such as raspberry, gooseberry, blackberry and currant should not be missing.

As for the vegetables, you shouldn't necessarily plant them in a separate vegetable patch, but calmly between the flowers. What do you think, how great tomatoes, rhubarb, chard, red cabbage and Brussels sprouts look in a flower bed? It may sound strange at first, but you will be amazed at how great it looks.

➤ Tip 7 - Skilfully stage garden decoration:

A cottage garden usually makes not only the plants, but also special garden accessories what they are. You have to find the middle between old and elegant. For example, look particularly pretty:

  • an old wooden ladder on the tree
  • a wine barrel as a rain barrel
  • Tin buckets as flower pots
  • an old sundial
  • rustic plant plug
  • a bird bath
  • a pool of water

out. The garden decoration may look old and worn, but not look shabby. Perhaps you've heard of the new “Shabby Chic” furnishing trend. Furniture and decorations are deliberately blemished (here tips for garden design in shabby chic). This style fits perfectly in a cottage garden.