Historically, cottage plantings were enclosed to keep livestock out, and the picket fence is still a shortcut to an old-time "grandma's garden," separated from the street but visible—and friendly—to passers-by. A front fence neatens the look of sprawling plants and supports tall and rambling flower stems. Natural, rustic materials—painted wood, bent willow, even latticed bamboo—suit this purpose, as long as they harmonize with the house. This goes for front gates, too, which, in keeping with the cottage, are often welcoming and low, marking entries rather than discouraging approach.
Shown: Crisp white fencing creates a frame for a profusion of pink 'Cecile Brunner' roses, purple shrubby wallflower, and showy pink evening primrose.