The Art of Creating a Cottage Garden

Learn how to create a charming and quintessentially English cottage garden with our practical guide. Choose the right plants and design features for a beautiful outdoor space that reflects your personality.


What is a Cottage Garden?

A cottage garden is a type of garden that mainly originated in the United Kingdom. This style of gardening dates back to the 14th century when peasants living in small and simple cottages created gardens for growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Cottage gardens are often associated with countryside cottages that have thatched roofs and timber-framed walls.

The main aim of cottage gardening is to create an informal space where plants can grow freely without any strict rules or regulations attached. Unlike formal gardens, which are made up of structured hedges, trimmed lawns and neatly arranged flower beds, cottage gardens are unstructured and natural looking.

Cottage gardens offer several advantages over other types of gardens. Their carefree style creates an excellent habitat for birds, insects, butterflies and other wildlife, making them perfect for nature lovers. They are also very easy to maintain as they require little watering or pruning.

History of Cottage Gardens

As mentioned earlier, cottage gardening began in England in the 14th century when peasants started cultivating small plots of land surrounding their cottages. These plots were typically used to grow food crops like vegetables and fruits.

In addition to food production, herbs were also grown to be used medicinally since medical services were not readily available at this time. Flowers such as roses were planted both for their beauty and for their fragrances.

During the 16th century, wealthy landowners started adopting similar gardening ideas. They transformed some parts of their large estates into ‘cottage-style’ themed gardens with a more natural look. In doing so, they helped spread the popularity of the cottage-garden style beyond just rural areas.

Influence from famous English poets like Shakespeare led to themes being added using iconic elements such as stone pathways flanked by colorful wildflowers creating images identical to English poetry imagined floral scenes; perhaps one among around hillsides or by cobblestones paths.

Characteristics of a Cottage Garden

Cottage gardens are different from other types of gardens. They have a very informal and relaxed style which gives them their unique appeal. Here are some of the salient features that characterize cottage gardens:

  • Informal Layout – A cottage garden is arranged in a natural, asymmetrical layout with no rigid design rules.

  • Abundant Plant Life – Plants grow thickly and abundantly in the cottage-style garden. Flowers grow along fences, walls, hedges, and trees.

  • Variety of Plants – Unlike uniform formal gardens, cottage-style gardens contain diverse plants. Various plants of different heights colors, textures create an enchanting wonderland-like look.

  • Use of Colorful Standouts – Usually some flash colours are used to arrest attention: Roses and brightly coloured blossoms often lead this charge of colourful delight.

  • Repurposing Elements – Items such as stones and old materials can also be used to support climbing plants- all can be added to its bohemian charm.

The concept has resulted in combining various elements recycled more than developing statues by sculptors; old tools find new life as supports for delicate climbers.

Cottage Gardening engages your senses with it’s sweet smells fragrant blooms, buzzing insects sleeping beneath tree weathered feet upon soft grass blades you soon become lost in awe experiencing refreshment contrasting from hazy life routines or busy cities loud clanging bustle feeling serene amongst these calming organic respites you’ll feel rejuvenated ready tackle any life adventure!

What is Cottage garden?

A cottage garden is a type of informal garden that emphasizes abundant displays of flowers, herbs, and vegetables, often planted in a random or haphazard manner to resemble the gardens that were traditionally kept by English peasants. [Wikipedia]

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Cottage Garden

Annual vs. Perennial Plants

Before diving into the best plants to choose for your cottage garden, it’s important to understand the difference between annual and perennial plants.

Annual plants complete their lifecycle in just one growing season, meaning they must be replanted each year if you want them in your garden. Examples of popular annuals include petunias, marigolds, and impatiens.

Perennial plants, on the other hand, will come back year after year as long as they are properly cared for. These plants typically have a shorter blooming period than annuals but can be a great choice if you’re looking for low-maintenance options that will keep coming back year after year.

Benefits of Annual Plants
  • Colorful blooms: Annual plants are often chosen for their bright and bold colors that can add a pop of vibrancy to any garden.
  • Continuous blooming: Since annuals only last one season, they typically bloom continuously throughout that time which means there is always something in full color.
  • Flexibility: Because you have to replant every season, you can change up your color scheme or flower choices without having to remove old perennials from your garden.
Benefits of Perennial Plants
  • Longevity: Perennials will return year after year as long as they are cared for properly which makes them a smart choice if you want something that lasts.
  • Low maintenance: While all plants require some level of care, perennials tend to require less hands-on attention than annuals which means less time spent maintaining your garden overall.
  • Stable design elements: Since perennials come back each year, they can serve as a stable element within your overall garden plan which helps create balance and consistency over time.

Popular Cottage Garden Plants

Now that you know the difference between annuals and perennials let’s dive into the best plants to use for your cottage garden. Here are some of our favorite options broken down by category:


Roses are classic cottage garden flowers that are loved for their sweet fragrance and timeless beauty. With a wide range of colors and growth habits, there’s a rose variety perfect for any garden.


Delphiniums are tall, airy perennials with spikes of blue or purple flowers. They make a great focal point in any cottage garden and also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.


Foxgloves have tall flower stalks covered in bell-shaped blooms that come in shades of pink, lavender, white, and more. They’re great for adding height to your flowerbeds and also attract hummingbirds.


Lavender is an herb known not only for its lovely blooms but also its soothing scent. It can be used to add texture to your garden as well as harvested for making oils, teas, or potpourri.


Thyme is a low-growing herb that makes excellent ground cover with its fragrant leaves. Plus it can be harvested for cooking or making herbal remedies which makes it both beautiful and practical.


Sage has lovely silver-green leaves that contrast nicely with other foliage in the garden. It’s also incredibly hardy; once established it requires very little care which makes it ideal if you’re looking for low-maintenance options.


Tomatoes can not only provide delicious produce but they can also bring stunning color into your cottage garden thanks to their red, yellow or lime green fruit and foliage coloration.


Peppers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – from spicy chili peppers to sweet bell peppers – each with its own unique flavor profile! This colorful veggie can be used as a stunning edging plant to keep the cottage aesthetic on track.


Beans are a useful and beautiful addition to any garden with its lacey foliage and delicate flowers. Besides being lovely sub-shrubs, they have the added bonus of producing healthy, nutritious food that can be harvested when they’re ready.

How to Arrange Plants in Your Cottage Garden

Once you’ve picked out your plants, it’s time to start arranging them in your garden. Here are some tips to help you create a beautiful and cohesive space:

The Importance of Plant Placement
  • Plan for size: Before planting, make sure you keep in mind how each plant will grow and mature so you can space everything appropriately.
  • Create balance: You’ll want to make sure there is no one standout element that overwhelms the rest of the garden. By varying heights, colors, and textures you’ll create a balanced all-round view which is visually pleasing.
  • Functionality: Consider how much sun or shade each plant needs before deciding where it will go so you don’t end up unintentionally harming any of your new greenery.
Combining Plant Colors and Textures
  • Complementary colors: Consider pairing plants with complementary colors near one another such as yellows next to purples or pinks beside blues.
  • Texture variation: Grouping together contrasting textures such as spiky leaves beside soft ones for always yields an interesting effect
  • Group plants with similar water intake isn’t just logical from a maintenance standpoint p but also helps ensure moisture-loving specimens won’t dry out while their xeriscaping companions receive too much moisture.

By following these basic guidelines selecting plants for your cottage garden should be more straightforward while also feeling like even more fun!

Creating a Beautiful Garden Pathway for Your Cottage Garden

A cottage garden is a beautiful addition to any home. It creates an idyllic, romantic feel and provides homeowners with a relaxing space to enjoy the beauty of nature. One important aspect of a cottage garden that should not be overlooked is the pathway.

A garden pathway adds functionality and structure to any outdoor area, leading guests through your beautiful garden. Not only does it serve as a way for people to navigate your outdoor space, but it can also be used as an accent piece in your overall garden design.

Here are some tips on creating a beautiful garden pathway for your cottage garden:

Materials for a Cottage Garden Pathway

Choosing the right material for your pathway can significantly impact the overall look and feel of your cottage garden. Here are some materials to consider:


Gravel is one of the most popular choices when it comes to creating pathways in gardens. It’s low maintenance, easy to install, and complements rustic-looking gardens exceptionally well. Gravel pathways add texture and depth while complementing natural materials such as wood or stone.

One tip when considering gravel paths is thinking about adding border stones on either side of the path — this will result in less gravel spilling out and create a more polished look.


For those looking for more formalized aesthetics, stone pavers create even surfaces throughout your outdoor furniture setup by which you don’t have issues such as unevenness or sinking after heavy rainfall. These types of centrepieces add value because they boost durability against erosion occurring from winds or rain over time due to sturdiness found within dense rocks’ construction quality.

With modern technology giving us infinite design options, you’re bound only by collective creativity when designing custom layouts like unusual patterns or colour combos designed around unique landscaping features like towering trees shading into these spaces from overhead branches all year round!


Brick pavers have a warm, traditional feel to them, making them an ideal material for cottage garden pathways. If you have an old brick wall around your garden or home, using bricks for the path would not only complement it nicely but also keep things simple and cost-effective.

Brick paths ensure durability against heavy foot traffic than other outdoor space hardscaping structures might with features like tumbled stones that are irregular to minimize sinking on surfaces or unique colours that match garden foliage in different seasons adds depth and beauty to this part of outdoor landscaping elements while completing the overall look of your cottage garden.

Designing a Cottage Garden Pathway

Once you’ve decided on the right material for the pathway, consider how it will fit into your overall garden design. Here are some ideas for designing your cottage garden pathway:

Adding Curves

Garden pathways do not always need to be linear; curved paths provide visual interest and can create soft movements throughout picturesque gardens. You don’t have to break up pre-existing hardscape designs either – pathways that curve between existing elements like vegetable patches or shrubs soften them up by adding breathtaking visuals.

Curved walkways invoke romantic vibes which help guests conjure up memories from moments spent outdoors enjoying family gatherings. Bending curves through arbors leads comfortably into new zones as little surprises pop out at every turn amidst beautiful blooms in various hues blooming underfoot — all the while reminding us what makes gardening worth investing time and effort!

Incorporating Garden Decorations

Finally, consider adding decorative pieces along your pathway as an accent piece. Statues encased within low lighting fixtures create focal points serving dual purposes of illuminating your park after sunset while encouraging people often stopping to admire their carved stonework transforming themselves among beautifully planted gardens sprouting flowers surrounding this installation.

Pots full of plants such as petunias can add pops of colour along with classic aesthetics if suspending beside bent wrought iron railings or climbing up wall coverings. Birdbaths tucked perfectly beside walkways help create engaging focal points nearby, providing homeowners with more opportunities to stay close to nature around their quaint homes in peaceful surroundings.

Tips for Maintaining a Cottage Garden throughout the Seasons

Cottage gardens are beautiful, rustic landscapes that can add charm and character to any property. They are typically filled with colourful flowers, fragrant herbs, and lush greenery. Designing a cottage garden can be a joyous experience, but maintaining it requires some effort.

Here are some tips for maintaining a cottage garden throughout the seasons:


Spring is the time when your garden starts to come back to life after winter. This is an essential period for laying down the foundation of your garden’s growth.

Pruning Tips

Pruning is an important task that should be undertaken in early spring. It helps control the shape, size, and productivity of flowering shrubs and trees. By pruning your plants earlier in spring before they grow new buds or leaves; you’ll help promote healthy growth.

  • Remove dead wood: Remove all dead or damaged wood from shrubs and small trees.
  • Trim back overgrowth: Cut back overgrown branches to reshape flowering shrubs and small trees.
  • Clean tools: Sharpen hand pruners and loppers regularly to make precise cuts when trimming branches.
Soil Preparation

Preparing soil before planting in spring helps establish strong roots that support better plant growth during summer.

  • Remove debris: Clean up leaves, sticks, grass clippings and any other debris left over from winter.
  • Add compost: Spread rich organic matter like compost on top of the soil 2″-3″ deep.
  • Till the soil: Break up compacted dirt by tilling them about 12 inches deep into necessary space.


Summer means warmer weather, more daylight hours–and thriving gardens – but keeping them alive requires awareness of specific watering regimes as well as how best deal with potential infestations of pests who adore summertime blooms

Watering Techniques

Most cottage garden plants require regular watering during drier months – so it’s important to establish a regular watering routine.

  • Water Early: avoiding the heat of the day, water your plants in early morning or late afternoon so that water won’t evaporate as quickly.
  • Use mulch: spreading mulch around plants helps keep moisture within the soil, helping establish stronger and healthier roots.
Dealing with Pests and Weeds

The warm summer months are an ideal time for herbaceous insects and flowering weeds alike. Keep on top of these troublemakers before they gain hold!

  • Handpicking: Check your plants frequently and handpick insects that can feast on blooms or greenery too often.
  • Remove Weed Presence: Regularly pull out young weeds regularly instead of letting them getting established.


During fall, plant growth generally slows down, allowing to harvest crops or even replant garden beds with winter veggies.

Harvesting Tips

Many cottage gardens also have veggies – which means you’ll need to think about harvesting at the right time.

Understand When Your Crops Are Ready: Research each crop type that is yielding in life; for example In tomatoes case when you see them changing colours from light green to yellowish white its usually sign ripe.

Planting for the Next Season

Fall is also the time to plant some vegetables; not all grow well overwinter but there are many cold-hardy greens than promises harvests throughout winter.

Plan One Step Ahead – As planting last season’s crops, make sure next season’s seeds products have arrived and prepare plot accordingly.


Cottage gardens may lie dormant during winter but proper preparation helps ensure next spring will be even better.

Protecting Plants from Frost

Frost is a deadly threat to some plants in winter climates; by preparing for this extreme weather condition ahead of its season allows safe passage through Winter.

  • Expose Root Systems Properly: During Fall cut back perennials who are vulnerable to frost so that roots can be exposed safely over winter.
  • Cover Them Up: Styrofoam (Sheets, Milk crates), Gardening Fabric Can Help keep Roots Warm.
Preparing for Spring

Winter is also the perfect time to prepare for spring—many garden chores can be tackled now.

  • Clean and repair your tools and equipment used in last years’ maintenance of your garden.
  • Plan ahead – pick out seeds catalogs or conduct research before early signs of any arrivals of plants.

A cottage garden is a joyous landscape filled with colourful flowers, fragrant herbs, lush greenery, and healthy veggies. It does require work throughout every season; however, following these tips makes overall maintenance more easygoing while giving rise to its beauty as seasons pass on.

Incorporating Water Features into Your Cottage Garden Design

Cottage gardens are known for being charming, whimsical and full of personality. Adding a water feature to your cottage garden design can add even more interest and beauty to this already enchanting style. Not only does it create a visual focal point, but the sound of running water can also be soothing and calming.

Benefits of Water Features

Water features provide numerous benefits for any garden setting. Here are some reasons why incorporating a water feature in your cottage garden is a great idea:

  • Creates an attractive visual focal point: A well-placed water feature draws the eye and adds interest to your garden design.
  • Soothes senses: The sound of flowing or trickling water creates a peaceful ambiance that can reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.
  • Promotes biodiversity: When you install a water feature such as a pond or waterfall, you invite new wildlife like birds, insects, frogs and fish into your garden.
  • Improves air quality: Moving water helps increase humidity levels in dry climates through evaporation which refreshes stale air.

Popular Water Features for Cottage Gardens

When it comes to choosing what kind of water feature you want to incorporate in your cottage garden design, there are many options available. Here are some popular ones:


Fountains come in various styles including tiered fountains that look beautiful amidst plants with interesting foliage patterns while wall-mounted fountains take up less room but still provide relaxing ambient sounds near outdoor seating areas.


Adding bird baths within or outside flower beds attracts birds naturally making the space more lively. You can use artistic birdbaths made from concrete molds shaped as leaves or rustic birdbaths made from stones for a natural feel.


A natural pond is not only a place of tranquility for humans but also habitats fish, insects and amphibians. Constructing a pond requires more space and investment but it can be made to fit comfortably with garden themes by using water plants and decorative rocks.

Designing a Water Feature for Your Cottage Garden

Whether your garden is large or small, there is always room for the charm that comes from adding an aquatic feature to your landscape design. Here are some tips that will help you decide how to best incorporate this addition into your cottage garden:

Placement Considerations
  • Consider the size of the water feature you want and whether it fits with existing landscape design
  • Choose its placement in proximity to other elements (such as seating) ensuring it’s both functional and visually appealing.
  • Ensure proper drainage so that stagnant water doesn’t attract mosquitoes
Integrating into the Existing Design

Integrating a new element like water into your established cottage garden might sound difficult, but when done effectively it will look cohesive even after adding something new. Here are some tips to make sure everything blends in together seamlessly:

  • Select aquatic features, such as rocks or stone-lined basins, that match adjacent pathways or beds.

  • Use lighting strategically at night time if adding elements like wall fountains

  • Place aquascaped items like potted aquatic plants near the streams edge closest to surrounding flower beds

    By following these tips, you’ll have no trouble incorporating an attractive and functional water feature into your cottage style garden!

Adding Color to Your Cottage Garden: Ideas and Tips

A cottage garden is all about creating a beautiful outdoor space that looks natural, unplanned, and yet inviting. Part of the beauty of a cottage garden lies in its mix of plants, colors, and textures. A cottage garden immerses you in a world where everything seems perfectly imperfect. If you want to create a stunning cottage garden that will leave everyone who sees it envious, then adding color should be one of your top priorities.

Choosing a Color Scheme

Before you start planting or adding any decoration elements in your garden, take some time to think about what kind of color scheme you’d prefer for your space. Here are two basic ideas:


Monochromatic color schemes use different shades and tints of the same color throughout the area being designed. This approach can give your garden an understated look that’s easy on the eye.


Complementary color schemes use colors that sit opposite each other on the standard artist’s paint palette (yellow/purple, green/red/blue/orange). These contrasting colors work well together because they help create balance in the overall picture.

Once you know which type of coloring scheme would work best for your space, proceed from there. The key takeaway here is not to overdo it with too much variation between individual elements within these schemes; otherwise, your garden will become too busy and chaotic.

Adding Color with Plants

If choosing plants wisely wasn’t already essential for matching climate conditions like sunshine or shade coverage or soil fertility levels necessary for healthy growths–they play a significant role in adding personality through visual differences! Here are two types of plants options you might consider:


Annual flowers are those that last only one year but produce continuous blooms throughout their lifespan until it becomes dormant with winter frost. They are perfect for those who want to add lots of color to the garden fast. Some popular annuals include:

  • Marigolds
  • Pansies
  • Nasturtiums
  • Cosmos

Perennial flowers, on the other hand, may not produce as many blooms as annual plants, but they return every year and typically have a longer bloom period than an annual. Popular perennials that add color to your cottage garden include:

  • Bee balm
  • Coneflowers
  • Phlox
  • Lupines

When deciding which types of plants to use in your garden, it’s essential to consider the available space and light exposure of each plant species. Most plants grow best in different hardiness zones, so be sure to check this before making your choices.

Adding Color with Decorations

You can also add color to your cottage garden by using decorations such as furniture or accents.

Garden Accents

A subtle yet vivid way is through attention-grabbing decorations placed beside some features or close-up lawnways. Some suggest painting street signs won’t hurt if local codes permit them! Other ways you can accessorize include:

  • Gazing balls: A gleaming gazing ball will enhance any patch of greenery without necessitating much care.

  • Birdbaths: Not only friendly towards wildlife nearby but birdbaths garnish decks, patios & backyards alike!

  • Water Features: A water feature donates auditory appeal aside from gorgeous aesthetics.

Painted Furniture

Painting furniture adds pizzazz and vibrancy when done effectively! Coated chairs or benches positioned alongside tall flowers and shrubs blend beautifully together at first sight! Dare thinking beyond the basics? Other featured painted furnishings can be bright colored chairs near rock gardens or statuesque pieces occupying lawn sections throughout walkways outside like stepping stones alternating darker hues/textures with brighter juxtapositions. Make the artwork whimsical and enjoyable!

Using Garden Structures to Enhance Your Cottage Garden Design

Cottage gardens are often described as a picturesque patchwork of color, texture, and scent. They are full of charming details, such as picket fences, quaint benches, and elegant statues. However, one of the most important elements that can enhance the beauty and functionality of a cottage garden is a garden structure. Whether you want to create a focal point or provide support for climbing plants, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Benefits of Garden Structures

Garden structures can serve several purposes in your cottage garden. Here are some benefits that you may enjoy:

  • They add height and vertical interest to your landscape design.
  • They provide support for climbing plants such as roses, clematis, wisteria, and vines.
  • They create focal points that draw the eye into the garden or frame certain views.
  • They offer shade and shelter from the sun or rain.
  • They define spaces within your garden or mark entrances or exits.
  • They add decorative details and architectural style to your landscape design.

Popular Garden Structures for Cottage Gardens

There are many different types of garden structures available on the market. Some are more suitable than others depending on your needs and preferences. Here are some popular options for cottage gardens:


An arbor is a simple structure made of wood or metal that creates an archway over a path or entrance. It’s perfect for creating a formal entrance into your cottage garden or marking off a special area such as a rose garden or seating area.

Arbors come in various sizes and styles depending on how much space you have available and what kind of aesthetic you’re going for. For example, an arched wooden trellis with lattice panels can look romantic and traditional while a sleek metal frame can add modern appeal.


A trellis is a vertical garden structure that provides support for climbing plants. It’s perfect for creating a living wall of greenery or to train your plants along a fence, wall, or building. You can also use it to create privacy, screen off unsightly views, or define boundaries.

Trellises come in many shapes and sizes as well, from basic wooden lattices to elaborate metalwork designs. You can also choose from various materials such as cedar, redwood, bamboo, wrought iron, or vinyl depending on your style and budget.


A pergola is a larger garden structure that consists of columns and crossbeams to form an open-roofed framework. It’s perfect for creating shaded areas for outdoor dining or lounging or providing a cozy retreat away from the sun.

Pergolas are often used as an extension of the home’s architecture, particularly when attached to decks or patios. They can be made of wood, metal, fiberglass, or vinyl and come in various styles such as modernist, traditional, rustic or Mediterranean.

Designing a Garden Structure for Your Cottage Garden

Once you’ve decided what kind of garden structure you want to incorporate into your cottage garden design, there are several things to consider before installation:

Choosing the Right Material

Choose garden structures made of materials that complement your home’s architecture and require minimum maintenance. Ideally opt for materials like cedar wood which naturally resist pests like termites while remaining rot-resistant.

If you’re looking for low-maintenance options then metal frames work best but if you prefer the look feel and beauty that wood offers there are plenty of weather-resistant treatments available so it will stay looking great all year round.

Your choice will depend on many factors including aesthetics practicality durability stability weight restrictions costs availability zoning regulations energy conservation comfort level safety concerns amongst others!

Placement Ideas

Location is another important factor to consider when designing and installing garden structures. Before you start digging, determine the best location by considering the following factors:

  • The amount of sunlight and shade available
  • The type of soil and drainage conditions
  • The proximity to other garden features such as paths, gates, or paths.

Once you’ve found the ideal spot, measure the area carefully so that your structure will fit perfectly within it. Think about how you want it to look from different angles and perspectives. Remember to check any zoning or permit requirements in your area before starting construction.

Attracting Wildlife to Your Cottage Garden: Tips and Tricks

Gardening is a wonderful hobby that can bring joy, relaxation, and beauty. But why stop at only these benefits when you can also attract wildlife to your garden? By creating an environment that provides food, shelter, and water for animals in your area, you can make a big difference in the lives of local fauna as well as add more enjoyment to your gardening experience.

The Importance of Wildlife in a Garden

Wildlife is not just a pleasant sight or sound; it plays an important role in maintaining the health and balance of ecosystems. For example, birds help control insect populations by feeding on them, which can reduce the need for pesticides. Pollinators such as bees are essential for many plants to produce fruit or seeds. Additionally, having different species living in proximity increases biodiversity and resilience to environmental changes.

Creating a welcoming environment for wildlife may also have indirect benefits for human welfare. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors around nature reduces stress levels and improves mental health. Moreover, gardening activities can provide physical exercise and fresh produce for home consumption.

Creating a Welcoming Environment for Wildlife

Now that we know why it’s valuable to invite wild visitors into our gardens let’s explore how we can make our yards more enticing for them. Here are some tips:

Providing Food and Water
  • Install bird feeders or platform trays with various types of seeds depending on what birds live nearby.
  • Put out hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water during migration seasons.
  • Plant native flowers with high nectar content such as milkweed or coneflower to attract butterflies.
  • Leave some areas of the garden un-mowed so grasses go into seed stage – they provide food sources providing more grazing opportunities for small mammals like rabbits which means foxes will move into the garden too!
  • Provide water through bird baths or shallow dishes placed on the ground.
Creating Shelter and Nests
  • Leave a portion of the garden relatively undisturbed to provide areas for animals to make their homes.
  • Provide nesting boxes for birds such as bluebirds or house sparrows.
  • Stack up brush piles or leave logs in unused corners to create hiding places/burrows for wildlife that like dark, quiet spaces like mice, hedgehogs and shrews which attracts predatory mammals like owls.

Wildlife to Attract to Your Cottage Garden


Birds are probably one of the most beloved types of wildlife around – there is no joy greater than sitting outside listening to their melodies sing. Here are some bird species you can attract to your garden by providing food water and shelter:

  • Bluebirds: these cavity-nesting birds feed mostly on insects such as beetles or caterpillars; they require open grassy areas with scattered trees at least 100 meters from forested areas.
  • Hummingbirds: they love nectar-bearing flowers and will return frequently if a sweet sugar-water mixture is placed in a feeder with red coloration (they have an affinity for that color!).
  • Woodpeckers: many different species exist but all need dead trees with materials that allow them to build hollow cavities.
  • Wrens: keeping wrens happy means providing thickets, shrubs, woodpiles, dense vegetation growth for cover along foundations, fence rows and hedgerows in towns

Butterflies could be described as pollinators with the added attraction of being visually stunning when sunning themselves out on flower blooms. Here are some butterfly species you can expect your cottage garden will attract:

  • Monarchs

  • Swallowtails

  • Fritillaries

    Here are some butterfly plants needed:

  • Milkweed

  • Coneflowers

  • Black-Eyed Susans


Bees are one of the most important pollinator groups for plants in general, responsible for a huge proportion of crop fertilization globally. Sadly, bee populations worldwide have been in decline due to chemicals used in conventional farming practices and loss of habitat. Fortunately, home gardeners can help by planting bee-friendly flowers and providing shelter/habitat.

  • Bumblebees:

    - Generalists who feed from a variety of plants 
  • Look for abandoned underground mouse burrows or build up and share together burrowing nest sites

  • Honeybees:

    - Love clover or full pollen loads on wildflowers they visit to produce honey rich sources.
  • They require boxes placed in slightly elevated area

  • Mason bees:

    - No hive needed!
  • Happy living in a series of straw sections or bamboo tubes set up flat against house exteriors

Now you know that wildlife can coexist naturally with your gardening activities by making your garden an enjoyable haven – not only for you but also for non-human animals. Use these easy tips and tricks to attract some beautiful guests to your cottage garden!

Scroll to Top