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5 Steps To A Modern Cottage-Style Garden

It is an exciting time for garden designers and lovers, with flowering cottage gardens making a vast return on the North Shore of Auckland. I love the display of colours and natural flowing landscapes that accompany this style. 

Best yet, you do not need a cottage-like house to have a modern cottage garden. This style can be adapted and designed to complement your home. 

Here are my 5 steps to help you design the modern cottage garden of your dreams. 

Designed, Planted & Maintained by Sculpt Gardens

1. Go for the romance

A large part of the desire for cottage gardens is the unstructured, whimsical feel. The lack of rules makes this style suited for those who do not want to be confined by plant choice, formality and lines. 

Incorporating pastel shades and fragrant flowers will help to establish a romantic tone. 

Here is a selection of plants I can recommend for creating this tone:

  • Guara 
  • Lavender
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlia
  • Foxgloves
  • Cornflower
  • Hydrangea
  • Gardenia
  • Daphne Odora
  • Delphinium
  • Ceanothus blue sapphire
  • Myosotidium hortensia Forget-Me-Not
  • Pittosporum golf ball

Designed, Planted & Maintained by Sculpt Gardens

2. Used curved pathways

Curved pathways complement a cottage-style garden as they mimic the flow of flowers. They wind around, imitating how the flowers run and tumble into each other. Whilst breaking up the flowers, they also create a somewhat organised feel and a sense of direction that invites people to explore further. 

There are many options for pathways, such as gravel, stones, or bluestone. My favourite look is currently pavers, made from many materials such as tiles, bluestone, timber, or concrete moulds. To further beautify your pathway, plant ground covers to weave between. 

Pebble pathway

Designed, Planted & Maintained by Sculpt Gardens

3. Plant close together

Cottage gardens are renowned for plant beds tightly packed with plants. To create the enchanting appeal of a cottage garden, incorporate informal crowding with a large selection of plants. Utilise a combination of annuals, perennials, and foliage plants that fuse to create a sea of colour. Fill any empty space with ground covers. 

With careful design, a cottage garden can have all year-round seasonal interests, resulting in a blur of foliage and flowers. 

Designed & Planted by Sculpt Gardens 

4. Mix it up

One of the most appealing compartments of cottage-style gardens is the lack of rules and structure. Do not be afraid to use an array of colours. You can use many different colour combinations, such as pink, white, and red, or orange, white, red and yellow. 

With any garden design, you want to incorporate a range of sizes and textures in your plant choice. In cottage-style gardens, this is especially important as the range of plants merging sets a casual yet harmonious scene.

Designed, Planted & Maintained by Sculpt Gardens

5. Enclose your garden

Cottage gardens can be small, so fencing is a decision to consider carefully. For small gardens, ideally, you want to choose a fence with a semi-solid panel, to enable light to pass through. Picket fences are the traditional choice for cottage gardens, and continue to be the top choice for establishing this style. Flowering vines such as wisteria, bougainvillea, clematis, and climbing hydrangea can beautify fencing. Edible vines such as passion fruit or grapevine are both practical and attractive.

You can also enclose the garden with hedging, a floral border or strategically placed trees. For small gardens, pleached trees allow you to create privacy whilst also enabling you to determine how much they will shelter your garden. 

Bougainvillea through a white picket fence

Hopefully, with these 5 steps, you can start designing your modern cottage-style garden here in NZ. If you would love some assistance designing the garden of your dreams, please feel free to get in touch HERE


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