When I think of a cottage garden, I envision winding paths with cute benches where you can sit for awhile and enjoy the summer sun and the sounds and scents of the garden. I think of a garden with wonderful vintage flowers and something of interest around every turn. A place to just relax and enjoy being in nature.
Below are seven elements of traditional cottage style that you can add to your garden to create the romance of “days gone by” and at the same time create a special place to unwind, relax, or just read a book.
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1) A White Picket Fence
Few things say “cottage garden” more than a white picket fence. In the olden days it was used to keep the farm animals out of the garden, but today it’s more of a design element. You can surround the garden or just use a short section to give that cottage feel. A black wrought iron fence works equally well.
2) Meandering Garden Paths
One of the best things about cottage gardens is the winding paths that lead you through the garden. I love being able to walk along and look at the newest blooms or sit awhile on a garden bench. I guess that goes back to spending time at my grandmother’s house as a child. They lived on five acres and my grandfather was a gardener. They had wonderful trees to climb in, bushes to hide behind and orchards with fruit trees. I was allowed to pick and eat any fruit I wanted. I think my favorite was the plum tree, but I’m not sure if I loved the plums or if it was being able to use the can nailed to the end of a wood pole to pick them.
3) Vintage Flowers
Cottage gardens are usually filled with old-fashioned flowers. My mother and aunt loved their flower gardens and many favorites for cottage style are ones that I remember seeing in their gardens. Things like iris, daisies, snapdragons, roses, peonies, pansies, delphinium, columbine, hollyhocks, and black eyed susan.
4) Garden Birdbath
A birdbath is the perfect finishing touch for a cottage garden and why not make this easy DIY hanging bird bath from a thrifted lid. You could also use any number of lids or dishes. A pretty flowered plate would look so pretty in a cottage garden.
5) A Cute Potting Bench
A potting bench not only provides a convenient place to pot plants, and store extra pots, soil, and tools; but in the cottage garden, it also adds to the character of the garden. Birdhouses, flowers, and a cute garden sign would be right at home.
6) Wicker Furniture
I love the look of wicker furniture. It looks so cozy and homey which is great for cottage style. You can use it in furniture groupings on the porch, patio or maybe under a gazebo and you can often find them at garage sales for a very reasonable price. Wicker is so easy to paint, so if it is worn and has seen better days, it’s not a problem. Spray paint works great to freshen it up. I usually think of wicker that has been painted white, but black is also popular.
7) Vintage Accessories
When decorating inside in the cottage style, vintage and antique items are often used. The same goes for the cottage garden. When decorating a porch, you can use old wooden boxes, tins, and wire baskets, either alone or as a container for flowers. Out in the garden, think old rusty watering cans, rusty tools, buckets, birdhouses, an old garden gate or even an old bicycle.
The most important thing to remember when creating a cottage style garden is there are no rules. Just choose things you love. Things that will add to a cozy, relaxed feel. You are creating a sanctuary – a calm, quiet place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
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