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Unique Elegance

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Classic cottage gardens—like the houses that give them their name—tend to be compact, informal, and highly individualistic. Located close to the front or back

door, traditional examples display a harmonious mix of

annuals, perennials, roses, shrubs, vines—even

vegetables—in neatly tended arrangements designed to

delight, rather than impress.

Follow the Brick Road

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Bricks laid in a diagonal herringbone pattern form a curving path dividing two wide borders. A hipped-roof birdhouse draws the eye upward.

Structural Grace

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A classic rose-covered arbor and meticulously trimmed privet hedge provide architectural structure in a small yard overflowing with pink and purple flowering plants, including lush hydrangeas, old-fashioned garden phlox (foreground), and a wide window box filled with sun-loving annuals.

Made for Shade

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Belgian block frames a shade-tolerant border composed of 'Anabelle' hydrangeas, hostas, and ferns.

Summer Romance

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Under an arching weeping willow, a row of late-flowering pink and white rose of Sharon shrubs—planted closely together to create a privacy screen—gives this late-summer garden romantic appeal.

Brilliant Border

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Favorite cottage-garden perennials—including black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), pink-flowering sedum, and pale-blue delphinium—create a vibrant border around a carefully tended lawn.

Green Peace

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Greenery—in plants and painted trim—evokes a sense of tranquility in a cedar-shingled cottage's low-maintenance, cobblestone courtyard.

Casual Classic

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A Greek Revival dwelling gets a down-to-earth garden that takes the edge off its formality.

Country Charm

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A favorite of butterflies, golden Rudbeckia grabs attention in a casual country garden punctuated by a compact Japanese maple, neatly trimmed boxwood, swordlike iris foliage, and a rose-covered arbor. Inorganic elements—from the stonework to the timeworn mailbox and lozenge-shaped window on the back door—add immeasurably to the simple yard's undeniable charms.

Daring Hues

Photo by Nancy Andrews

A row of hydrangeas makes a bold impact in a narrow patch of land.

My Blue Heaven

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Easily grown from seed, 'Heavenly Blue' morning glories twine about a white-picket fence, their heart-shaped foliage providing a visual metaphor of simplicity and contentment.

Splashes of Color

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Tall cottage classics like lemon-yellow daisies and fragrant white phlox stand out against the silvered shingles of a cedar-shake outbuilding.

Uniformity Is Boring

Photo by Nancy Andrews

In the best cottage gardens, diversty reigns, with a wide range of roses, annuals, perennials, and shrubs sharing the limelight. Here, left to right, hostas, statuesque eupatorium, black-eyed Susans, snowy phlox, and eight-foot-tall hollyhocks (nearly gone to seed) harmonize in the yard of a rose-covered retreat.

Enchanting Entry

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Billowing pink hibiscus blossoms greet visitors by the front door.

Color Study

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Limiting the palette to two or three hues—in this case, pink, blue, and cream—keeps the mix harmonious.