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Summer view from the front of the driveway towards our cottage
Floral wilderness

- summer

All you need to sketch a layout plan for your cottage garden are a:

  1. Pencil - no, it doesn't have to be sharpened.
  2. Several copies of your "land sketch" which was the first step in preparing your light and shade diagram.
  3. A copy of your design objectives and a copy of your completed light and shade plan.

Proceed from Large to Small

Use a copy of your land sketch - tear up and start anew as often as you need to, we never got it right at the first attempt either.

Don't measure anything, just draw straight from your mind's eye.

This is all about what you desire, not the limits imposed on your imagination by some silly measurement - we'll get to measuring things much later.

Step by Step Guide

This is how we did it:

  1. Sketched three ponds, one in the front garden and two in the back garden, using the light and shade sketch to place them in lightly shaded areas - a pond needs plenty of sunlight to thrive. See ponds.
  2. Added hills (one with waterfall, the pool of knowledge) on one or two sides of each pond, depending on the shape. When you build a pond, earth will be moved, right? Instead of throwing it away, we used it as a background element for each pond. The change in ground level is perfect for creating varied sight lines. Look at hills.
  3. Drew in the seating areas - see the photo links:
    • Front garden pond or lily pond - the hidden arbor;
    • The window seat next to the pool of knowledge in the back garden
    • A bench next to the back garden sun pond - this is the first of three views from the sun pond bench;
    See seating areas.
  4. Then came our beloved orchard swing seat terrace for relaxation, sun bathing and entertaining family and friends in the garden, with our fruit orchard between it and the back wall. View terrace.
  5. To get to all these lovely spots, we needed paths so that's the next step. From your back door and the front door, add a path to each focal point you've sketched above. The paths.
  6. In addition, we drew a driveway and paved path to the back gate, the lily pond bridge leading from the driveway as well as the path from the bridge to our front door in the front garden and the back porch off our back door. The sketch at stage 6 - extras.
  7. At this stage, the last feature to be drawn in the front garden was the rose arch off the driveway towards the bridge. See the position of the front rose arch.
  8. In the back garden, we then drew a path from the back door around the pool of knowledge hillside to the west side of the swing seat terrace. We now had two paths to the back terrace so we then added a double rose arch which spanned both of them. View the position of the path and double rose arch.
  9. The then we added a compost heap - absolutely essential for your cottage garden too! - and well as a path from the sun pond to the compost heap.
  10. The next to last step was to add a raised bed for seedlings and a work path in front of the raised bed. No matter what your age, working with seedlings is finicky and slow and causes backache due to the bent-over working position. A raised bed not only helps to prevent backache but it's a perfect environment for seedlings as it's warmer and gets more sun. See nearly finished.
  11. Finally, we filled in all white space with flower borders. I've left the hill sides in the brown colour but they too will of course be green.

Done at last!

So What's Next?

It's time for hard labour - you are now ready to build your cottage garden. Yes, we know, it's tiresome but really necessary. You'll build, I'll advise - seems fair to me! - a Gardener's Practical Guide to Natural Cottage Gardening

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