There are so many modern garden design styles that are popular in Australia these days that you might never consider the more traditional look of an English-style cottage garden. However, for many gardeners, the style can be just as contemporary as anything else you might see in the country, especially if sufficient thought is given to the sort of diverse planting that will suit the look. Cottage country gardens need not be old-fashioned and can be extremely striking in appearance when done well in Australian gardens. They are particularly attractive in urban settings where you may only have a small patch to cram a lot of planting in. Why opt for a boring front lawn, when you can enjoy a riot of colour and seasonal interest instead?
A cottage country garden is primarily concerned with one aspect of garden design and that is its beds. Although you can design your cottage garden to include other horticultural features, such as a patch of lawn, a pond or a path, most of the space should be given over to beds. Flower beds should be mixed in with perennial planting and evergreen shrubs are just as desirable as summer flowering plants. However, the beds should extend from the extremes of your garden to close the the centre. Ideally, there will be enough room to access each of your beds from a walkway. At the boundaries of your garden, such as by a dividing wall or at the side of your house, hardier plants which require less attention should be planted. Towards the front of each bed add plants which are less resistant to weeds – basically, the ones that require more attention should be positioned so they are easier to reach.
Although cottage gardens are all about a huge diversity of planting with different sorts of plants mixed up together, there is still room for a modern cottage garden to feature some architectural delights. A modest folly, a wishing well, a water feature and even garden sculpture can all be used to create focus. However, such features should be half-hidden by planting and should not dominate the space. At the boundaries of your cottage garden white picket fencing really completes the look and cottage-like feel. If you are starting out from scratch with your garden design, then get picket fencing contractors in to install your fence before you become too heavily involved with planting. Finally, remember that any architectural feature you add needs to support the choice of plants. Therefore, things like seating and shading structures should always act like trellises in order to encourage climbing plants, like roses and clematis.