Photos from Houzz.com
Overall sense: The English landscape style shifted cottage garden landscape style from formal and symmetrical to looser and less formal. One variation of the English style is the Cottage Garden which is less classic than other English garden styles and quainter with lots of country charm. Plants, color and character abound in the English cottage garden. The informal combination of materials provides a cozy, romantic atmosphere that draws visitors in, making them feel at home.
Geometry: The English style of cottage garden landscape uses geometric shapes like ovals, circles, rectangles or squares to organize the landscape. A free-flowing, curving border can make the tumbling English cottage garden plantings feel messy rather than exuberant. Instead, use formal materials with lively flowerbeds for a pleasing contrast of natural with man-made, flowing but also geometric.
Hardscape: Common hardscape elements of the cottage garden landscape include meandering paths with classic materials like limestone, bluestone, brick or cobblestone and gravel or stepping stones that are used to connect different garden areas. One or two of the materials in your home should be repeated in the garden for continuity. Other elements include picket fences, trellises and wooden arbors.
Plants: English cottage garden landscape are gardens of exuberance and abundance. To achieve this feel, plant romantic, old-fashioned blooming plants such as magnolia, roses, peonies, delphiniums, foxglove and hollyhock and use climbers such as clematis, honeysuckle or roses. For drier climates, grasses, perennials and native plants can be used to create a similar feel. Although these gardens seem informal and unplanned, there are a few rules to consider. First, plant large quantities of plants in the space to utilize every bit of growing space and spill over into walkways and climb up arbors. Second, you should plant in layers with taller plants at the back, medium plants in the middle, and shorter plants in the front. Lastly, since you typically see less mass plantings of one particular plant and the use of a lot of varieties of plants, you should pick a color palette such as warm (yellow, orange, red) or cool colors (white, purple, blue, pink and sometimes yellows) to help provide unity to the garden. If you choose the cottage garden style, you should be aware that it is high maintenance requiring staking, dividing and dead heading to avoid a messy look.
Lawn: If lawn is used, it is the plants not the grass that are the focal point. Lawn can sometimes be the path in the cottage garden landscape.
Furniture & Décor: Adirondack chairs and benches are common, constructed of materials such as wrought iron, wicker or bent willow and teak. Also common with the cottage garden landscape are vintage accessories like quaint birdhouses, weathered stone bird baths, old metal watering cans. Adding a potting station or shed to store gardening tools can also serve as a decorative element.