When researching cottage backyard ideas, it's easy to get swept up in the romance of cultivating overflowing borders. However, be careful of making too much work for yourself – especially if you aren't an experienced gardener.
'You will be kept busy mulching, watering, feeding, deadheading, cutting back, dividing, planting and tweaking the design,' says Clapp.
'Start small so that it doesn’t get out of control; learn how to keep the plants fed and looking abundant, then gradually increase the size.'
To ensure success, Hensel advises to choose easy-to-grow plants. 'Old-fashioned lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), mountain bluets (Centaurea montana), peonies, all kinds of hardy geraniums, daisies, Siberian iris (Iris siberica) – mix them up and plant them close together.'
It’s a good idea to include thoughtfully placed low-maintenance evergreen shrubs as they can act as a backbone, adding structure and year-round texture and keeping things looking green in every season.
‘Every gardener learns from their successes and mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and experiment,' adds Hensel. ’There are no set rules for cottage gardening. Most importantly, have fun.'