When you think of England, usually a stereotypic image comes to mind: heavy dark clouds pouring down on old buildings, and you could even feel the cold wind on your face. The last thing you’d associate it with is romance. But, what a wrong picture. Last summer I went there and saw with my own eyes the English sense of romance which is perfectly captured in their gardens. English country gardens, or as we call them cottage gardens, have a unique storybook charm which I instantly fell in love with. Their seemingly unkempt and woods-like look is made from a palette of colours and smells which tickle all our senses. If you too are in love with these vibes, here are some tips on how to transform your garden into a cottage-style one.

The Right Plants
Every cottage garden needs a wow-factor that instantly captures your attention once you set foot in it. A mixture of a majority of pink and white roses with a hint of red can act as a focus point and at the same time preserve the garden’s primary romantic mood. Scatter these flowers around a bed of filler plants like viburnum and hollyhocks. Moreover, you can use lavender to fill the air up with a delightful fragrance which will enhance the lovely fresh atmosphere. However, to round up this charming story of colourful focus flowers and fragrant filler plants, you’ll need something that will add some drama.

Tall Australian evergreen trees can be the perfect dramatic backdrop to the whole garden. Place them on the outer edges of the garden and around your house. The highest trees should be closest to the house to create the illusion of a hidden away vintage cottage and to also shield your privacy. For instance, start with a lemon scented gum which will exude a fresh citrusy smell into your house every time you open your windows. Then, as you move further away from the house, the trees should become smaller. Graduate with small fig or olive tree and finish with some low bushes like Chinese juniper or a vibrant bottlebrush to make a statement. What makes Australian evergreen trees perfect for any garden, not just cottage style, is that they keep their foliage all year round. By spreading them throughout your garden you are essentially making sure there won’t be any unsightly bold spots when winter comes.

The cottage style demands that the plants are scattered all over in a way that looks as if they’ve grown spontaneously like in the wild. However, for functionality purposes, you are going to need a pathway. It can be constructed from natural materials such as pebbles or reclaimed stone. Then, allow the plants to grow onto its edges and voila, you are one step closer to a wonderful cottage garden.

The Perfect Furniture
Make a grand entrance to your cottage garden by putting up an arbour at the very front. But not just any kind, it has to be interwoven with plants to retain the whole romantic feeling. Try shearing one out of evergreens, like juniper and yew, which have a climbing growing habit and will keep your arbour alive even during the cold periods.

As for the seating, try furnishing your porch with some wooden rocking chairs and a round rustic table where you can relax in peace, have lunch when it’s warm or read a book. Moreover, you can put a low bench or some tree trunks around the garden.

The ornaments you decide to adorn your garden with can make or break the cottage style. For an even more vintage look, it’s best to use anything that has a worn-out appearance such as an old rusty watering can used as a plant pot, a weathered pitchfork that leans on a tree, some wooden chariot wheels spread around the flower beds or perhaps a milk churn. Just put anything that comes to mind when you think of an abandoned house in the woods and you won’t go wrong.