Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds

Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden

Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds

Cottage garden ideas can be found in many of the gardens open to the public. These include Open Garden Scheme Gardens and the many home gardens worldwide. One great source of cottage garden ideas is the National Trust of Great Britain.

The Arts and Crafts movement


The Arts and Crafts movement was an aesthetic movement started by designer, poet and reformer William Morris. In 1861 Morris founded the interior decorators and manufacturers Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company.  Morris during his time studying Classics at Oxford University, became influenced by medievalism. The company was founded with a desire to capture the spirit and quality of medieval craftsmanship. By the 1890s the influence of the movement had spread and become part of a growing international interest in design.


Cottage Garden ideas and the Arts and Crafts movement

American horticulturalist Major Lawrence Johnston created the Serre de la Madone garden in France and the Hidcote Manor garden in the Cotswolds in the UK. The Cotswolds had become a centre for the arts and crafts movement due to artists like Dante Rosetti and his friend William Morris moving out of smoggy London to the Cotwolds. The rural setting far from London with its beautiful scenery and idyllic lifestyle made it a magnet for the type of cottage industries that were part of the movement. At the time, local crafts and skills had not been overtaken by industrialisation. Architect Charles Robert Ashbee moved from London to Chipping Campden and set up factories in some rural buildings employing around 150 skilled craftsmen.

Hidcote Cottage Garden Design

The early parts of the Hidcote garden design were very much in line with the Arts and Crafts movement. Later parts of the design became a little more formal. As the garden is separated by hedges, stone walls or by geographic features, these very different garden design styles go together surprisingly well. The garden design concept was that the “rooms” of the garden were and extension of the architecture of the house itself.


Arts and Crafts Movement Cottage Garden ideas
Cottage Garden ideas. A stone garden path with overflowing border plants is often a feature of Arts and Crafts gardens. Between the 1890s and 1930s gardens the Arts and Crafts Movement was a major influence in Cottage Garden design.

Cottage Gardens often give the appearance of cheerful simplicity.  In reality, the creator of the garden,Major Lawrence Johnston, was an avid collector of garden plants. The Major, went on exotic plant hunting expeditions to Yunnan, China in 1930 and South Africa in 1927 to find plants for his garden. The province of Yunnan in South West China has been the source of over 10,000 plants for western gardens.


Neat hedge and stone landscaping of paths with topiary Yew hedges Cottage Garden ideas
Cottage Garden ideas. Neat hedge and stone landscaping of paths with topiary Yew hedges with topiary box, hornbeam and holly. Rustic Stone Garden paths.

The topiary hedges at Hidcote create interesting views, but also help to divide the garden into smaller garden rooms. Many of these rooms explore different garden design themes. Hidcote is a great place to visit for garden design ideas.


Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden. Cottage Garden ideas
Cottage Garden ideas. Looking through the hedge at the colourful garden with stone garden path.

When viewed through a cut out in a hedge, the spectacular and colourful cottage style gardens create surprise and delight.


A garden seat in a shady part of the garden. Cottage Garden ideas
Cottage Garden ideas. A garden seat in a shady part of the garden. Rustic Stone Garden paths.

Some parts of the garden are a little more formal with neatly trimmed path edges.


Roses are always a great Cottage Garden idea.
Cottage Garden ideas. Roses are always a favourite in the cottage garden.

The old garden looking back towards the house is a mass of cottage garden plants. Hidcote was the first purchase for the National Trust for the garden alone.


Garden Stairs terracotta roof tiles
Cottage Garden ideas. Garden steps made from hand crafted terracotta roof tiles laid edgeways. Hidcote Manor.

A great example of the use of quality craftsmanship is the garden steps created from hand crafted ceramic roofing tiles laid edgeways. Years of garden visitors has worn the edges of the tiles and given them even more character. These garden design features are typical of the arts and crafts movement.



Cottage Garden Pathway Design

Another more formal garden room. Dividing the garden up into smaller garden rooms makes it possible to explore different garden design themes within the same garden. Each room is like a small garden design in itself.



An example of a rustic stone pathway from the Arts and Crafts movement.

Cottage gardens have many different designs of garden paths. Ideally natural looking garden path materials should be used to create the cottage garden effect.  There are many different ways of laying out your cottage garden path. The path can be a single main path with an outer path, crossed paths with an outer path, a diamond shaped path, or as in the picture above, an oval shaped path layout with a garden in the centre.


Rustic Garden Path with overflowing border plants.



Crushed Rock garden pathway with overflowing border plants.



Gardens Separated by hedges
Gardens Separated by hedges.


An example of the craftsmanship is the garden stairs made from ceramic roof tiles laid edgeways. These stairs lead to a terraced lawn which is also laid out like a separate room.



Lawn Pathways with garden urns neat hedges and border shrubs
Lawn Pathways with garden urns neat hedges and border shrubs.



Garden Wall with herbaceous perennial border plants and crushed rock pathways.



Some of the later garden designs at Hidcote were a little more formal, but still have a cottage appeal.



A rustic hand crafted stone wall will give you cottage garden an authentic look. Note the use of complimentary flowers in front.




A garden gate helps to separate the garden into different rooms. Note the more formal garden with box hedges on the other side.




Formal box hedges. Later parts of the garden moved away from the arts and crafts style.




Manicured Hedges and lawn. The garden paths appear to go forever.




Cottage Gaden
A view through the hedges separating the gardens. Rustic Stone Garden paths.



Garden Rooms
The separated garden rooms alow the garden designer to explore a different theme in each one.




A small stream runs through the garden.




Garden Stream
A garden stream separates parts of the lower garden




Stone Garden Path
The Stone Garden Path crosses the stream with a well crafted stepping stone.




Yew hedges and garden rooms
Yew hedges and garden rooms. Rustic Stone Garden paths. Terracotta pots.




Yew hedges and garden rooms
The same view two month later. It is alway worth revisiting Hidcote to see the different seasons in the garden.




Magnolias and Daffodils Cottage Garden ideas.
Magnolias and Daffodils with a winding garden path.




Rustic Cottage Garden ideas
A Rustic Cottage Garden with stone wall, yew hedge and herbaceous perennials.




Hedge cut out Cottage Garden ideas.
Cut outs in the hedges provide vistas into other garden rooms.




Garden water feature with a view back to the house.
Garden water feature with a view back to the house.




The famous Hidcote Pillar Garden. Topiary Yew trees and hedges. Cottage Garden ideas.
The famous Hidcote Pillar Garden. Topiary Yew trees and hedges.



Related Landscaping Ideas from Red’s Landscaping and Civil Pty Ltd

Path Design for Cottage Gardens


Cottage Garden Plants


Cottage Gardens in Melbourne


3 Best Concrete Path Construction Techniques




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Click here for more information on the National Trust


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Hello, I’m Callum. A little bit about me? My passion ever since I was young is for the environment and the outdoor world we live in. Something we neglect in our concrete jungles and glass palaces. It’s this passion that’s been infused into every fibre of my company’s processes.

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