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Cottage Garden Design: Tips for Timeless Style

There’s something quintessentially English about a cottage garden. Not only do these designs conjure up romantic images of overflowing, almost magical abundance, but they also signify a very relaxed and whimsical approach to life and a love of going with the flow. If you’re looking to bring some of that old-world charm into your Abbotsford garden this year, our modern-day tips will help you get started! 

How Do I Design a Cottage Garden In Abbotsford?

If you’ve ever seen a cottage garden, you’ll know that there are some key characteristics that make them so enchanting. Here are some of our top tips to help you create your very own this spring:


Classic cottage gardens are usually planted close to the house, making your property feel like it’s been enchantingly overtaken by the surrounding flora. Look for areas under windows and alongside buildings where plants can creep up and allow your garden to flow outward across the landscape. In traditional cottage garden design, a well-tailored bed of grass doesn’t get the invite, so be prepared to replace some of your lawn with lupines if you want the real deal. Create smaller planting areas around your front and back yards, and embrace the free-wheeling, anything-goes vibe everywhere you can find room. We also recommend adding stone pathways into your cottage garden design, as they’re great for offering visual relief and creating a sense of journey. When adding paths, feel free to play around with winding curves that disappear behind a wall of wildflowers and perennials.   


When you think about a modern perennial border, you likely picture well-designed layers arranged from tallest in the back to smallest in the front. However, to achieve a classic cottage-style garden, you’ll want to toss all that formality straight out the window! The goal here is to cover every square inch of soil with plants to eliminate any trace of that curated look. Aim to keep plants close and tightly knit, making it seem like they’re all winding around each other in one beautiful, chaotic, properly English mess. Groundcover plants that creep are especially perfect for filling in any lower-hanging gaps and spaces. We also recommend not following any rules about colour schemes in a cottage garden. So long as it makes you happy, anything goes! 


Adding structural pieces to your garden can add a ton of visual interest, depth, height and overall whimsy. Think about trellises and arches for those climbers, fun stone statues, water fountains for all the birds and pollinators you’ll attract, or perhaps some decorative screens to break up your garden into sections. Adding vintage pieces with some weathering is another great way to add that old-world feel. Try old garden tools like wheelbarrows or old stone pots that flowers can spill out of. Some gardeners also enjoy adding raised beds in the middle of their flowers to ground the disorder and up the visual interest. 

The Best Cottage Garden Plants

When undertaking a cottage garden design in Abbotsford, it’s important to set up a good foundation from which your plant selections can explode. Make sure you add rich organic materials like compost yearly and mulch the soil well to help keep moisture in. The cottage garden should be low-maintenance and able to fend for itself as much as possible! 

Keep in mind that traditional cottage gardens are a mixture of perennials, wildflowers, annuals, and edibles, so you have a wide selection to choose from. Many of these plants work amazingly well together as companion plants, and a cottage garden is the perfect place to try out this popular gardening practice. Try weaving colourful veggies like kale, cabbages, beans, and peas into your garden tapestry alongside fruits and flowers. 

Our favourite flowers for a perfectly colourful and fragrant cottage garden include:

  • Climbing roses
  • English ivy
  • Clematis
  • Foxgloves
  • Hollyhocks
  • Dianthus
  • Lavender
  • Sweet pea
  • Daylily
  • English Daisy
  • Larkspur 
  • Columbine
  • Flowering tobacco
  • Peony 
  • Hydrangea 

The best herbs to try in your cottage garden design include:

  • Sage
  • Catmint
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Basil

Finally, some of our favourite fruits and veggies to fill a cottage garden with include:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apple trees
  • Cherry trees
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage 

We hope we’ve inspired you to come up with your own cottage garden design in Abbotsford!