We’ve all fantasized about quitting our jobs, moving to England, and living in a tiny cottage amongst an eden, right? Just us? Well, at any rate, we’re obsessed with all things English and need to find ways to make our cottagecore fantasies come true.
Luckily, you don’t need to live in England in order to grow your own English garden. You can live smack-dab in the middle of the USA and still have your own little slice of paradise where you can sip tea, eat toffee pudding, and devour Jane Austen novels.
Whether you have a small backyard or live on a sprawling expanse of acres…we have a way for you to create your own English garden!
Make a Realistic Plan
English gardens traditionally employ a mixture of edibles and flowers to achieve maximum cottagecore status. Now, depending on what part of the country you live in (aka Zone) you may need to adjust this plan based depending on what is seasonal and/or available in your climate. No matter the weather, there should still be a way for you to achieve the traditional English garden of your dreams.
Something else you should consider in your plan is your budget. Gardening is not cheap, and while we would like to just throw all of our extra money at creating an English garden landscape design oasis…we’ve got bills to pay. The great thing about English gardens is that you can start small, and then add on to them as money allows. Sounds good to us!
Create a Gardening Style
Traditionally, English gardens are made up of “romantic” plants such as roses, ivy, hollyhocks, peonies, cosmos, daisies, foxgloves, and hydrangeas. Each of these plants serves different purposes, so make sure to do your research to see which ones would be the best in your English garden.
Other questions to consider: do you want to have alternating colors? Or do you want to create sections of colors throughout your garden? Or, are you a fan of the “color pop” approach whereby your garden is mostly made up of greenery and shrubbery with the occasional floral “color pop?”
There are a lot of options, and it can be overwhelming when you’re first getting started! We recommend looking at a few Pinterest boards to see what style you prefer, and then cross-checking your preferred style with the available space you have as well as your budget.
Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own English garden!
Extend Your House
A successful English garden should, ideally, be an extension of your house. This is why you see so many English gardens with cobblestone or brick paths. The intent of these paths is to provide a seamless walkway from the interior of the house to the exterior garden. The flow between the house and the garden should be as smooth as possible and provide a way to water all of your plants, fruits, and vegetables with ease.
Layer Your Garden
English gardens are known for their ability to create beautiful floral designs by using layering. Taller plants should be kept in the back, while shorter plants should be kept in the front. This is just a rough guideline, though…remember to have some fun with this! You do not need to be a professional landscape garden designer to pull off your own country estate cottage garden. As much as possible, you want to replicate the natural English countryside. A variety of layers will ensure that your garden is as organic as possible.
Boxwood hedges, shrubs, yews, or other tall plants are favored in traditional English gardens because they provide privacy and a natural structure to the garden. If you are looking for manmade materials to add height to your English garden, consider adding a wooden fence, trellis, or arbor to achieve the same effect. Man-made materials like these are a great place to showcase climbing plants (roses), ivy, wisteria, or other vines.
One important thing to remember, though: Don’t let your tall plants and structures block the natural sunlight! If there’s one thing we know about the plants in your English garden, it’s that they deserve the chance to grow big and strong.
If you want to make a bold statement, and if the ol’ pocketbook allows, try installing an iron gate in your English garden! Nothing screams romance in the countryside like a wrought iron gate upon which you can gaze into the sunset and wait for your lover to meet you in a passionate embrace…
Sorry, we got carried away…
When it doubt…spread it out. The most robust English gardens take up as much space as possible, and we are here for it! Think you can’t fit a whole section of hydrangeas in between your front porch and your walkway? Think again, my friend! The whole point of an English garden is to inundate you with greenery so that you have no choice but to surrender to its charm.
The key to expanding your English garden horizontally is variety. You want to ensure that your garden doesn’t look monotonous, so a wide variety of different colors, heights, sizes, and types of plants is necessary.
English gardens are meant to be enjoyed! We recommend including a bench so you can enjoy your surroundings, catch up on some reading, and do some silent meditation. To get the most bang out of your buck, add a table to your English garden so you can enjoy afternoon tea in your personal oasis. What could be better?!
You’d be hard-pressed to find an English garden without some form of water…a pond, a waterfall, a thoughtfully placed babbling brook. If adding any of these isn’t financially or physically possible, we would recommend adding something small like a birdbath. Water often serves as a focal point in English gardens, and it serves as a way to break up the plants and flowers in the formal garden.
BRB, just escaping to our ~private English garden~ so we can be one with the flowers and shrubs!