1. Don't be afraid to make your guest have a brush with lavender or lamb's ear as they navigate their way to the door. Just don't keep prickly thorns in their path.
2. Consider the critters. You can even have your yard certified as a wildlife habitat! I've seen the signs in a few yards in my urban neighborhood, where we all have about an eight of an acre or less to work with!
3. Vary shapes of plants. I love the spires of plants like delphiniums and snapdragons, the globes of alliums, the spears of iris leaves all in one space.
4. Think about color palette. Cottage gardens can incorporate every color in the rainbow, or have a sophisticated limited palette like this strictly green and white garden.
5. Don't be afraid to plant in every available plot of soil. Mailboxes and picket fences are begging for some floral company.
6. Don't be afraid to do it yourself, but if you are having trouble getting started, hire a professional, especially to prepare the soil properly. This is an old service station here in Atlanta that now houses a garden design firm, and it's just so cute I had to throw it in!
7. Mix ornamental trees and shrubs right in with annuals and perennials.
8. Consider and arbor and a gate. Here are some other ideabooks that show off these garden structures:
9. Make sure to inhabit and enjoy your garden when you are not tending to it!
10. Crisp border edges and sculptural elements can lend a more formal look to cottage gardens.
11. Make sure you include pathways so that you can stroll through and admire all of your hard work.
12. Don't forget that you can plant on walls - certain species of creeping Thyme are good for this.
13. Incorporate rocks and gravel wherever possible. This can mean a slate patio, a gravel path, stone steps or incorporating existing boulders and exposed ledge.
14. Decorate your outbuildings. It's one place you are always safe to go for funky colors. You really can't overdo it.
15. Never underestimate the power of the trellis. Whether it's lattice covered in climbing roses or a detail on a garage roof like here, it adds charm to any building.
17. Don't think you ever have to have a lawn. Having a garden is much better for the environment than a lawn!
18. Vary heights - here they range from gourds and their vines on the ground up to hollyhocks that are seven feet tall.