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Front garden summer show - street view
Front garden show

- summer

The following design principles were very helpful in deciding our wish list and sketching our cottage garden layout plan:

  1. Balance: The effect is pleasing to the eye and presents a complete picture in itself. The composition is balanced. We aimed for a number of cosy seating areas surrounded by high plants for privacy with rustic paths to connect them - islands of rest in a green and friendly landscape, connected by small, not too busy, streams.
  2. Proportion: The relationship of one element to another on a human size scale - intimate, comfortable, friendly and private were important to us. Nothing too big or dominant - small is always beautiful in a cottage garden.
  3. Rhythm: The pattern of repetitions in your garden design - e.g. groups of low plants followed by a group of tall plants or a solitaire repeated once or more. A gentle, flowing pattern of pastel colour at different heights was our goal.
  4. Emphasis: The focal points of sight lines or views from a main observation point i.e. from a seating area or when using one of the paths. Don't forget the view from within the home either - through doorways and from the living room, dining room and kitchen windows or upstairs windows. That's why our pool of knowledge pond, with waterfall, is located right beside our lounge window - enjoyable the year round.
  5. Unity: All parts or elements of your garden design fit together as a whole - it works. The composition has harmony.

You are about to sketch a layout plan for your own cottage garden. So what do we call the result of your drawing efforts?


Your composition, the end result of your sketch, will consist of the elements that make up the entire garden you want to have. Flower beds, paths, seating / resting spots, fence / hedge, arch, pergola / arbor, etc.
The lot - but "no plants yet".

No plants yet - why not?
Well, because we start with the big picture and move on to the details.

It's a bit like building a house:

  1. You lay the foundation with the light and shade plan you've already sketched;
  2. Then you plan the garden with the cottage garden layout plan, which will be your next drawing assignment;
  3. Finally, having completed the design phase, you are ready: - a Gardener's Practical Guide to Natural Cottage Gardening

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