The cottage garden is a classic style that with the right planting, structures and colour scheme, can be easily recreated for yourself. The design is a timeless classic that can help attract wildlife and embrace a rustic charm. If you’re looking to introduce a new look to your garden, we cover 7 ways to achieve a cottage garden vibe. Including paving ideas and materials, planting, trees, and garden furniture.

1. Paving materials

Cottage garden paving would once have used reclaimed bricks from derelict buildings for paving, but the materials are now harder to come by. Instead, keep it simple with riven stone slabs and cobbles. Traditional flagstones offer an aged appearance for instant character. The material used can depend on your location and overall style. For Cotswolds cottage vibes try yorkstone flagstones to create that rustic cream charm. For a traditional welsh cottage a slate may be more appropriate such as Henslate or Amazon Tumbled Grey Slate.

Brick pavers can be used to create a winding path throughout the garden to create an interesting feature or to pave a kitchen garden. Offering a pathway to collect crops. Using garden edging to mark out rustic borders or walkways will also add extra charm.

2. Boundaries

Gardens in towns and villages typically have defined boundaries in the form of walls, fences, or railings, allowing plants to weave between and tumble over the top.

A rural setting, however, needs something more rough-hewn and rustic. A boundary fence can be productive if planted with berries, or it can deter intruders when combined with prickly plants such as the extremely thorny Rosa rugosa. A native hedge can quickly establish privacy.

3. Fruit Trees

If you’re fortunate to have an old tree in your garden plot, it is well worth the expense to get it professionally pruned so that it can continue to bear fruit. When introducing new trees, source local varieties of apple, pear, plum or cherry. For something more unusual try mulberry, medlar or quince. Fruit trees not only add interest to a garden but also provide opportunities to harvest and cook with homegrown produce. Nothing quite screams cottage living than making your own preserves or fruit pies.

4. Furniture

A cottage garden needs suitable furniture that is rustic and durable. A salvage yard is a good place to start and find old garden benches. Frame your seating with a wooden arbour and plant scented climbers over it. Wrought-iron tables and chairs also work really well and can be revamped easily using coloured masonry paint.

5. Containers

Recycled and upcycled items, such as old tin baths, milk churns and buckets, can find new life as containers for salads and succulents. An old stone sink can be filled with herbs and can be both beautiful and functional. Upcycled wooden crates can also make attractive planters for cherry tomatoes or colourful blooms. Adding some rustic warmth to cream or coloured stone.

6. Classic flowers

Classic Cottage garden flowers provide varying heights and colours in a romantic mix of climbers, perennials shrubs and annuals . Self seeding flowers such as foxgloves and Aquilegia pop up in cracks and different areas of the garden adding to the rustic and laid back cottage garden style. Hollyhock has tall spires of tissue-paper flowers that come back year after year and offer height in borders while Houseleek grows in succulent rosettes on clay tile roofs or in shallow troughs to add maturity to hard landscaping.

Other classic cottage garden flowers include Honesty which has beautiful purple flowers to brighten a spring garden. Lavender offers the perfect fragrant edging for a pathway. Lastly, Sweet peas scrambling up hazel poles are a must and can be picked and kept in little vases around the cottage for a traditional touch and aroma.

7. Plant supports

Whether you have a rose-covered arch over the gate, a wigwam to anchor sweet peas or poles to hold up a row of runner beans, plant supports are an integral part of a cottage garden. The added height they offer also lends variation and interest to the borders.

A rule of thumb is that the more rural your garden, the more rustic and natural the materials you need to use, while a town garden can take more sophisticated finishes such as paint and wrought iron.