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Turn your backyard into an elegant English country garden!

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Topiary and Cloud Pruning in an English Country Garden Eclectic style garden by Niwaki Eclectic
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There is a timeless and poignant beauty about an authentic English country garden which has appealed to the finer aesthetic senses of mankind since ages. But in today’s world, the scarcity of space in modestly-sized houses or apartments often discourage you from trying to put together such a garden right? Don’t worry though. You can start right away with your backyard, and make use of our clever ideas to employ your available space in the most effective way. While there are many options for those with large spaces; smart solutions are also on offer for those with limited spaces.

Set up a trellis with winding flowers or bean plants

Contemporary Cottage Garden Rustic style garden by Yorkshire Gardens Rustic
Yorkshire Gardens

Contemporary Cottage Garden

Yorkshire Gardens

A trellis is ideal for climbing vegetables, flowers and fruits. It can be freestanding or can be anchored to a wall or posts. Trellis is a great addition for smaller gardens, and at times can be very useful for defining spaces or adding spark to a particular area in the garden. It can be used to grow winding flowers like Japanese Clematis, climbing roses like Dublin Bay Rose, Joseph’s Coat Rose, and Climbing Kristin Rose. It can also be used to support plants that grow vertically like lima beans, green pole beans, cucumbers, melons, peas, squash, and tomato.

Familiarise yourself with the plants that traditionally make up an English country garden

Topiary and Cloud Pruning in an English Country Garden Eclectic style garden by Niwaki Eclectic

Topiary and Cloud Pruning in an English Country Garden


Herbaceous plants, flowers with soft colours and small flowers make up a traditional English Country Garden. Herbaceous plants die in winter, and hence adding evergreen plants or flowers during that time will be required. These can be Rosemary, Germander, Lavender and Boxwood. You can also add annuals such as pansies for colour. Some other choices may include flowers like Canterbury Bells, Climbing Roses, Foxgloves, Pink Valerian, Lavender, Wallflowers, Delphiniums, Allysum, Old Fashioned roses. Filler plants like Hydrangeas, Hollyhocks, Lavender and Viburnum can also be introduced. Shrubs such as black and red currants, blueberries will also enhance the beauty and add utility to your English Country Garden.

Plant a herb garden

Including a herb garden within your English Country Garden, is a common practice which has regained popularity recently. Fresh herbs have many culinary and medicinal properties. A few must haves for your garden are:

Annuals like Sweet Basil and Borage, cumin, dill, fennel

Popular herb Chamomile which is used for medicinal and culinary purposes, and in tea

Perennial herbs like Chives, Oregano, Sage, Catnip, Lavender, Rosemary, Tarragon, and Thyme

Lemon Balm which makes delicious tea besides having many culinary and medicinal uses

The soil type for herbs can be moderately rich soil. Do not over-fertilise the herbs as that can make their flavour bland.

Include classic flowers like roses and carnations

Carnations can be easily grown with little care. They have a spicy fragrance. They can be planted in flowerbeds, borders, rock gardens and pots or other containers. Cut carnation flowers last up to 2-3 weeks. Dianthus which means “flower of the gods” in Greek, is one of the most grown species. They grow in fertile, well- drained, slightly alkaline soil.

Roses are a must for an English Country Garden.  You can choose from species like Hybrid Perpetuals, Bourbons, Tea, Rugosa, Banksian, Cherokee, Austrian, Ayrshire, and Prairie. Roses can grow best in soil which is deep and comprises of rich clay loam. Ensure that roses receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily for best growth.

Repeat colors in a pattern to add continuity

Monochromatic color scheme or repetitive colours can be the easiest colour plan for your garden. Plants with similar coloured vegetables and flowers can be placed together to create a pattern which will add a sense of continuity and can be very pleasing to look at. You can combine shades of a single colour for creating a garden bed, and it is also very easy to choose plants from a single colour family. Shades of red, orange and yellow are ideal monochromatic colour schemes to start with. You can choose bright hues if you want to make garden spaces appear smaller and dark shades to make it appear larger.

Install a birdbath

rustic  by Primrose, Rustic

Floriana Bird Bath Solar Powered Water Feature


A good birdbath is one with a simple, sturdy construction. It should be light enough to make it easy to clean and refill. Every time you refill the birdbath, ensure that you remove all the stagnant water before adding more. Place it away from the feeders to avoid spilled seeds falling into the water. A shady spot works very well in minimizing algae growth and slow evaporation. Ensure that the birdbath has bushes or trees nearby as safety, in case the birds sense a predator attack. At all times, keep the birdbath protected from cats. This elegant birdbath is the brainchild of Primrose, from United Kingdom.

Scatter vegetable plants to interrupt the flowers

Featherbrook House Modern garden by PKA Architects Ltd Modern
PKA Architects Ltd

Featherbrook House

PKA Architects Ltd

You can also add vegetable plants amidst flowers to add some contrast, and use the vegetables for personal consumption. Some of the popular vegetables for beginners to plant are beans, carrot, garlic, onions, peas, peppers, spinach, sweet corn, tomatoes, and zucchini. In small spaces, you can choose to grow small vegetables like basil, beets, cabbages, cataloupes, corn, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, okra, peas and peppers in small containers.

Add quirky details

modern  by Holly Palmer Contemporary Furniture, Modern
Holly Palmer Contemporary Furniture

Tea Cup Stools and Mug Tree by Holly Palmer

Holly Palmer Contemporary Furniture

Adding quirk will make your garden more exciting and there are many ideas to start with. You can add a welcome sign on the gate or any sign inside the garden with a famous quote or important message. Add a mirror to make your garden appear larger. Metal food cans painted with green or your favorite colour can be used as planters for growing vegetables or flowers. Small watering cans with colours and designs on them can be added as planters too. An old ladder can be brought in to arrange beautiful flower pots. You can also add quirky garden seats like the giant teacups shown above for an enchanting atmosphere.

Include a rough winding path

10m² Barbecue Cabin in a Derbyshire garden. Scandinavian style garden by Arctic Cabins Scandinavian
Arctic Cabins

10m² Barbecue Cabin in a Derbyshire garden.

Arctic Cabins

Winding paths give the garden a structure and also serve as an interesting delineation. A rough winding path would add that rustic and vintage charm with a touch of informality to your English Country Garden. You can choose from a variety of loose materials like coarse bark, decorative mulch, washed stones for this path. Other elements like river rock, sand, gravel, brick, and flagstone can also add that informal and rough finish to the winding path. Since lighter colours reflect light and remain cool under foot, and dark colours absorb the warmth of the sun, choose the tones depending upon the climate you live in.

So don’t wait. Get started with your English country garden today and watch happiness blossom in front of your eyes! Here is another ideabook to inspire you - Making a big impression with a small front garden.

Which idea from here inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments!
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