By Holly Reaney
Framed by a white neat picket fence and containing a profusion of blooms billowing in the breeze, front yard cottage gardens are amongst our favorites. The epitome of charming front yard design, these dreamy, idyllic set-ups are surprisingly easy to create, making the cottage front yard perfect for beginners.
See: Cottage backyard ideas – find a pretty, matching scheme for the backyard too
'Part of the ethos of a cottage garden is imbuing it with your own personality – there are no rules, just plant what you love to create a garden that appeals to you,' advises garden expert Leigh Clapp, 'whether you want to evoke a chocolate box image or just draw on elements of the flower-filled cottage style in a border, the appeal is popular for both country and urban dwellers, and for any garden size.'
1. Climb roses up the exterior of your house to create a romantic facade
Drawing the eye upwards and helping to create harmony between the house and garden, climbing roses are a staple of the cottage garden front yard.
'A climber grown on the wall of your house will often be the earliest garden rose to flower due to the additional warmth the wall provides,' says Richard Austin, manager of David Austin Roses.
Pick scented varieties like The Generous Gardener, Paul Noël or Constance Spry to fill your front yard with its romantic scent. Plus, if you grow it up the walls of the house, the delicate blooms will also fill your rooms with its floral perfume when you open the windows.
2. Opt for a rustic stone wall to frame your home's exterior
Boundaries are often an overlooked aspect of the garden, yet they are a key part of any design. Opt for a boundary inspired by the countryside with a rustic stone wall. With a look that evokes the drystone walls of England's Lake District, a stone wall adds instant British charm to your front yard cottage garden and will perfectly complement a cottage planting scheme.
3. Fill your front yard with beautiful cottage flowers
Flowers, grasses and shrubs are the cornerstone of any front yard cottage garden creating a casual, welcoming feel to the space. 'Although cottage gardens look haphazard, some thought needs to be given to planning the effect,' advises garden designer Leigh Clapp.
Consider the size and height of your plants, placing larger varieties near the back of the border and then smaller varieties near the front. However, don't be too regimented in this – after all cottage planting is supposed to have a natural appearance.
'A classic cottage garden is filled with pastel shades, Roses, Foxgloves and Delphiniums to name a few' advises Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director at Dobbies. 'Loved by bees and butterflies, your garden will be brought to life with the gentle sound of buzzing and humming.'
See: Cottage garden ideas – pretty ways to embrace rustic style outdoors
Adding plants to your front yard can even be good for your health – researchers at the RHS have also found that a greener front yard can make you feel happier, more relaxed and closer to nature. 'The stress reduction data is startling, in that there was such a significant response with a relatively small number of plants. Now we know that access to a tiny patch of nature has beneficial effects for our health,' says RHS Wellbeing Fellow Dr Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui.
4. Lay a path to guide visitors through your front yard
A path is an excellent way to give your garden structure, guiding visitors to your front door, while also protecting grass and flowers from traipsing feet.
'There should be harmony between landscaping and the architecture of the house. It’s important you use materials that are in keeping with the overall look, such as weathered bricks, flagstone, wood chips, gravel or stepping-stones,' says Leigh Clapp.
When laying, be sure to follow the most-walked route and avoid creating sharp corners, as these will usually be cut off on foot. Create a less regimented look by adding in additional meanders and curves.
5. Paint your front door to complement your cottage front yard
Your front door is the most seen part of your house and makes an important first impression, setting expectations for the interior beyond. Therefore, it is vital that it is kept looking its best and blends seamlessly with your cottage garden scheme.
Paint is a powerful tool and enables you to completely transform the appearance of your home at relatively low cost and little effort. Over the course of a weekend, you can breathe new life into the most seen part of your home.
'If you’re struggling to select a shade, greens work well in an exterior setting, it’s a really comfortable colour to use outside as we are surrounded by green in our natural environment. 'Ho Ho Green’ pairs really well with warm red brick tones.' says Ruth Mottershead the creative director at Little Greene.
Take a look at these front door ideas.
6. Add a porch to create a focal point in your cottage garden front yard
'If your property lacks a strong entrance, then consider adding a small extension at the front, which can serve as an enclosed porch or even a mini snug while creating an important focal point.' says Melanie Griffiths' editor of Period Living.
Exuding natural character and warmth, oak is the perfect choice for adding a porch to a cottage front yard. One of the strongest building materials, some medieval oak buildings are still standing today. Plus its charm and beauty increases with age and weathering, so overtime is will work seamlessly with your cottage front yard scheme.
See: Cottage porch ideas – for more inspiration
7. Line your front path with bulbs
'What should I plant on my front walkway?' Is one of the first questions asked when it comes to designing a cottage garden front yard – and the answer is yes, but that front walkway plants need to be durable while also show-stopping.
Bulbs are a great choice. Filling the garden with color and character before everything else has got going, planting bulbs on your front walkway is a great idea.
As seen in this cute cottage garden front yard, daffodils look stunning snaking their way alongside the cobbled walkway – the secret is however, that it's actually really easy to do. Simply plant them in fall and let nature do the rest.
If you want to take your front walkway planting to the next level, think about using different bulbs to map the seasons along your front walkway. Start with snowdrops for the end of winter, then crocuses, through to daffodils and tulips – by layering bulbs (also known as a bulb lasagna) you will get a succession of stunning flowers for minimal upkeep.
8. Channel the quintessential cottage garden front yard with a white picket fence
A beautiful white picket fence is an essential component of the cottage garden front yard – containing a profusion of colorful hollyhock blooms and rambling red roses creates a picture postcard front yard cottage look for this 17th-century cottage home.
9. Add a window box for blooms in even the smallest front yard cottage garden
If you're wondering 'What can I do with a small front yard?', then front yard cottage garden ideas are perfect. Even if you don't have a large front yard, you can still create a cottage scheme with beautiful blooms using a window box. A great way to add curb appeal to your home's exterior, window boxes, along with potted plants and hanging baskets, draw the eye and can create an uplifting display.
Metal or zinc planters make the perfect foil for flowers, while a wooden window box will blend in naturally with the house and garden scheme. If opting for a painted or colored window box pick a neutral shade that lets the flowers take center stage.
When it comes to designing your window box, follow the 'thriller, spiller, filler' technique to create a show stopping display.
Also think about how your display is going to respond to the different seasons. 'Ringing in the seasonal changes means you can enjoy an ever-changing display of outdoor potted plants as the year unfolds. Either pot the old plants up in new displays or plant them out in the garden,' advises Isabelle Palmer of The Balcony Gardener, an expert in container gardening and author of Modern Container Gardening.
Be sure to incorporate lots of trailing plants (or spillers) to give your container a laid-back natural look – lobelia, variegated ivy and trailing geraniums all add a cottage feel.
10. Create front yard cottage garden sanctuary with a garden gate
Practical additions to your home can also be beautiful. As well as offering protection (and keeping the dog in the garden), a garden gate adds an extra level of cottage charm to your front yard. Opting for a quaint wooden or an intricate metal design will complement the cottage style of your front yard.
Painting your gate and front door in the same shade also creates harmony between the two entrances to your home. We love this soothing sage shade which perfectly complements the brighter green of the hedges and plants and reflects the warmth of the pebble path.
Walk-in closet ideas – 17 designer looks for dressing areas
More than simply a smart storage solution, walk-in closets are rising fast on dream home wish lists
By Kerryn Harper-Cuss •
Saltbox house style – the ultimate guide
Everything you need to know about saltbox house style, and how to make yours your own
By Timothy Latterner •
How to grow thyme
Follow this guide on how to grow thyme, and enjoy this delicious, low-maintenance herb all year round
By Melanie Griffiths •
How to grow kale – from seed to harvesting
Find out how to grow kale from sowing to harvesting. It's one of the original superfoods – tasty and easy to grow, too
By Karen Darlow •
How to grow foxgloves
Find out how to grow foxgloves – the ultimate cottage garden flower that will bring height and color to your borders
By Pippa Blenkinsop •
Vegetable garden ideas – designs and layouts for backyard plots
Embrace the grow your own revolution with these vegetable garden ideas
By Holly Reaney •
How to grow watercress at home
How to grow watercress at home in pots, in water and from cuttings to enjoy the peppery leaves year round
By Rachel Crow •
How to grow microgreens – the fastest, tastiest superfood
Salads, herbs and vegetables are better in miniature. Discover how to grow microgreens in a matter of days, and elevate everyday meals to the ranks of high-end restaurants
By Melanie Griffiths •
Herb planter ideas – smart ways to grow in containers and pots
Herb planter ideas to grow a plentiful supply and create pretty and practical displays inside and out
By Pippa Blenkinsop •
Explore this secret garden near the heart of Bath
See how the owners transformed this once neglected and overgrown garden into a relaxing, productive and characterful green oasis in historic Bath
By Sue Bradley •