English Cottage Gardens

English cottage gardens may seem like a random collection of plants growing in charming abandon, but certain design principles must be followed to keep this informal style of garden from becoming a hodgepodge.

Award winning cottage garden design.

This award winning RHS Tatton Park cottage garden design shows how cottage style can work on even a tiny plot.

Clumps of perennials competing for space with reseeding annual flowers. Rounded shrubs jockying for position with one another. Tall plants rising up in the center of the border instead of at the back where they belong.

This is what an English cottage garden seems to be, but it isn't really as random as it may appear. There is a method to keeping this landscaping madness under control.

Cottage Gardening Tips

English cottage garden in the U.S.
  1. Have a color scheme. Sticking with either cool or hot hues, pastels or jewel tones, goes a long way toward avoiding the hoedgpodge effect.

    Clashing colors cause discord.
  2. Avoid straight lines. Use fluid shapes instead as they are more informal and in harmony with the cottage garden landscaping style.
  3. Don't forget to use height in cottage gardens. Tall plants, trees and climbers play important roles in such a profuse planting scheme.
  4. Soften all hardscape with foliage. Swag every structure in blooms.
'Climbing Angel Face' rose.

Cottage Garden Plants

Plants in the award winning cottage garden design above.

Plants in the award winning garden design at the top of this page.

Any plant you love can be used in cottage gardening, but there are a handful of species that fit this gardening style particularly well.

Tall Plants

Medium Height










Low Growers


Climbing Roses

Clematis Vines



Black Eyed Susan Vine

English Cottage Garden
Color Schemes

Pink and purple is an eye-pleasing combo that will work around many home styles.

Pink and purple blooms adorn a classy cottage.

Orange pairs well with yellow or purple and really pops when juxtaposed against deep red foliage.

White flowers work in any color scheme.

Soft tones give an old-fashioned, romantic air to cottage garden landscaping. Intense colors achieve a more painterly effect.

Related Pages

Creating an All White Flower Garden

English Garden Art

French Garden Design Ideas

Vertical Gardens

Landscape Garden Design at Pinewood Estate

Return to Botanical Journeys Plant Guides' Home

Pretty Climbers/Vines

Climbing roses.

Grow Climbing Roses

Clematis vine in bloom.

All the Best Types of Clematis Vines

Heavy-blooming Bougainvillea varieties.

Heavy-Blooming Bougainvillea Varieties

'Margarita' sweet potato vine used as a groundcover.

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vines are Great Groundcover Plants

Landscaping walls with vines.

Tips for Landscaping Walls with Vines

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Candy bouquets make inexpensive gifts.

Candy Bouquets Make Beautiful, Tasty Gifts