What does a cottage garden consist of? To me, it’s so much more than just the actual garden space. Today I am sharing all of the cottage garden elements I have incorporated – these helped create a beautiful, cozy space our entire family enjoys all season.
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When we moved into our home, I had so many dreams for our outdoor space. Each year, this beautiful space continues to come together, and today I am sharing 10 cottage garden elements that I have incorporated!
Before I begin, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know I am currently in Germany visiting my husband’s family. This is our last week here, and it is very bittersweet. This visit was full of so many beautiful historic buildings and homes, and if you watched any of my stories, you know I shared so many beautiful garden spaces as well.
It might be hard to believe, but I recorded this week’s YouTube video before our visit here. This was a big trip for us, and I wanted to be prepared ahead of time so I could truly be in the moment during our stay. It has been incredible – an international flight with four boys, luggage lost and so much more to tell, which I promise to share later on!
I didn’t have many expectations prior to our visit, but I cannot express enough how incredibly beautiful this country is. The GORGEOUS gardens and outdoor spaces played a major role in this, and I was so happy to see so many cottage garden elements in all of these spaces that truly added so much charm!
Cottage Garden Elements
Fencing – White Picket or Other
One cottage garden element that I love is our white picket fence. Your fence doesn’t have to be white, any type of fencing to give your garden area a border will work. Reclaimed wood would also work beautifully!
White picket fencing is so classic and beautiful, and I love it around our property but you wouldn’t necessarily have to have it everywhere. Around a small herb garden, or your vegetable garden would still bring so much charm to your space and incorporate the cottage feel you are going for!
Shorter fences not only provide structure for your plants to grow against and around, but they also help keep animals out of your yard, which is super helpful if you are growing any vegetables or fruit.
I love that fencing also gives you a border to work around as well. You can use the fence as a border to play off of and know where to plant different plants that are classic for a cottage style garden.
Having a walkway, or different types of walkways throughout your outdoor space is a classic element of a cottage garden. Your walkways can be anything, wood planks, pea gravel, or even stone! They also look gorgeous surrounded by flowers as well.
Last year, we ended up planted hostas around this simple walkway we installed in our yard space, they are sturdy and do well in Michigan weather. Once a year they bloom simple beautiful purple flowers as well!
We installed this walkway that leads into backyard space a few years ago. We used reclaimed wood planks and the entire DIY project can be found here.
We simply dug up the grass with a shovel, creating a rectangle the same depth as the boards. We put down some weed barrier fabric, laid down our boards, and filled in the gaps with pea gravel. I love how it came together and how it leads into our backyard space!
Incorporating a flower garden full of perennials into our backyard space brought such a magical, cottage garden feel. Perennials are perfect for your cottage garden as well, because they come back year after year full of gorgeous flowers for you to enjoy!
We originally wanted a vegetable garden in this space, but after learning that the reclaimed wood my husband used to build the raised garden beds had been treated, we decided to plant flowers instead. I have never regretted this decision and I enjoy this space so much each year now!
I have an entire post on all of the perennials we used here in our cottage garden, but we do live in zone 6, so be sure to check what zone you are in before deciding which flowers will be best to plant in your own cottage garden. I love whites, purples, blues and pinks and all of these together are so beautiful.
I recently shared an entire post about stone I love it so much. Stone always brings a cottage element to any space, indoor or outdoor! Stone can be used in a huge variety of ways too, as a border, as a fencing or border, between gardens, as a patio and more.
I love all of the ways we have used stone and I am sure I will continue using it wherever I can! Stone, and different types of stone are always seen in any type of cottage inspired gardening. They bring rustic cottage charm and can be easily installed as well.
As much as I love how our outdoor space has come together, I still enjoy scrolling through Pinterest for even more cottage gardening inspiration. It is very rare when looking at cottage gardens to not see found items.
Found items can be anything outdoor related that you can incorporate into your space. Personally, I love galvanized metal watering cans, antique lanterns, beautiful vintage garden tools, old wheelbarrows, buckets, reclaimed wood and more.
These items are fairly easy to find as well, I have found most of mine antiquing, thrifting and visiting garage sales. I actually can use most of the antique and vintage watering cans I have found, but I love the rustic charm they bring anywhere I have them displayed outside.
Beautiful growing shrubs and plants are definitely a cottage garden inspired element. I have seen so many gorgeous ideas, and while visiting Germany, saw so many in person as well! From full blooming plants like lilac bushes, to neatly trimmed shrubs like boxwoods.
I also saw many garden and outdoor spaces use shrubs in place of fences or around fences for privacy. This natural element used as a border creates a secret garden space for you to enter into along with plenty of privacy as well.
We have planted several lilac and snowball bushes around our fence line. I am trying to be patient as they grow a little bigger each year, but they aren’t quite there yet. I am so excited to see them grow and provide us a little extra privacy in our own space.
There are so many varieties of climbing plants that you can choose to incorporate a cottage feel in your outdoor space. There is nothing like a beautiful arbor, fence, wall of a garage or home that has tall, rambling, full plants growing all over it. It is such a common feature of cottage gardening and rare not to see it.
I personally love climbing flowers, they are a gorgeous cottage element we have yet to incorporate in our outdoor space. I would love to plant some climbing flowers up the side of our shed in our backyard pictured below. Wouldn’t it be such a lovely backdrop for our flower garden?!
I also love to see climbing flowers on arbors in gardens and have considered getting a beautiful arched arbor leading into our garden for quite some time. They are so beautiful to walk through, and I love the charm the growing and hanging flowers bring.
Having different types of lighting throughout your space in addition to your porch lights can really bring a cozy, charming cottage feel to your outdoor area, especially towards the end of the day and after sunset.
I personally love to have outdoor lights strung above our pea gravel patio area as well as candles in lanterns throughout our space. They bring a cozy ambiance, especially in the evenings when we are enjoying the outdoors together as a family.
Central Focal Point
Most cottage gardens tend to have a central focal point that brings the family or group together in the space. Our family chose to install a fire pit area with beautiful cottage inspired white adirondack chairs. We can enjoy all of these beautiful cottage elements in our yard from this space.
If fire pits aren’t really something you are interested in, there are a lot of different things you can have as a focal point. A beautiful fountain or birdbath would be a perfect addition and bring plenty of charm as well.
Having different seating areas throughout your yard is another simple, yet practice English cottage garden element. We have a DIY table and chairs set up on our pea gravel patio, but I also have a few different benches throughout the yard as well.
Your seating doesn’t have to be complicated, a simple stained wood plank on stacked concrete blocks, or folded chairs and a cafe table set up under a shady area in your yard will instantly add charm.
Cottage Garden Elements
- Found Items
- Climbing Plants
- Central Focal Point
Once again friends, I am so excited to share all about our trip to Germany soon along with all of the cottage inspiration I gained there, so be sure to be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, I hope these cottage garden elements have inspired you! I would love to know what you think in the comments below!