Does reading about Jane Austen’s Pemberley incite visions of taking a relaxing stroll through your own lush English garden? Do you picture yourself gliding your hand across thick green foliage as you walk lazily down a gravelly garden path, studying the multi-colored flowers and soaking up the sun while on the lookout for Mr. Darcy? Of course, you don’t have to be a Pride and Prejudice fan to appreciate the romantic beauty of an English garden (though it does help). You just need these few essentials to create one of your very own.
(Gardening in a tight space? As your source for small space solutions, we have also included tips for crafting your very own “mini” English garden!)
Essential #1: An Abundance of Flowers, Flowers, and More Flowers
What’s more “English garden” than a chaos of lovely flowers that look on the verge of overgrown? The flowers that make up a traditional English garden comprise a long list; choose a few based on what suits your climate and will grow to a similar height for the best effect. These florals include hydrangea, rosemary, lavender, pansies, foxgloves, primrose, larkspur, hollyhocks, and daisies.
Small space solution: Don’t have a large plot of land for planting? Get the same effect with a container garden using raised garden beds, railing planter boxes, and planters—all perfect for a small patio, balcony, or yard.
Essential #2: Hayrack Window Baskets for That Authentic Cottage Look
When filled with coconut coir liners to mimic the look of straw (once used in the days of yore to fill English cottage window boxes), hayrack window baskets provide authentic cottage charm. Our extra thick coconut planter liners are made from the natural fibers of real coconut husks. These tightly woven fibers make them long-lasting and durable, yet their porous texture drains and aerates well, promoting healthy root growth. Coco fiber liners are pH-neutral and contain soil-supporting nutrients like phosphorous and potassium. After lining your rustic window baskets with coconut liners, fill them with thrillers, fillers, and spillers of the English-garden variety to get that quaint country look.
Small space solution: WindowBox.com hayrack window baskets and coco plant liners are available in sizes ranging from 24″ to 72″, making them easy to add as accents for larger-sized gardens or as small-space green areas for porches, balconies, and other limited spaces.
Essential #3: Gravel Passages, Stone Paths, and Other Walkways
A traditional English garden has quaint foot paths linking separate green areas where one can get lost in their thoughts while strolling the wilderness. To create these green areas, you can use grass, garden beds, or even grouped planters, linking them with straight or winding pathways made of traditional stone, brick, or gravel.
Small space solution: Make a natural-looking plant border from rocks found during your travels or from your local gardening store. Any size will do—pebbles, river rocks, and even boulders can be used. The contrast between timeworn stone and bright florals will create a similar mood as a large, sprawling English garden. For container gardens, get the stone element by placing a stone birdbath amidst your blooms.
Essential #4: Bushes, Shrubs, Hedges, and Other Space Definers
Define the space between plants and walkways with bushes, shrubs, and hedges. One or more of these natural space dividers will act to balance the overgrown look that makes English gardens so charmingly quaint with the carefully manicured look of hedges, shrubs, and bushes to bring a little order to the chaos. A well-placed, decorative garden trellis can also be used as an ornamental space divider, with or without the climbing plants.
Small space solution: Don’t have time to keep hedges, shrubs, or bushes neatly trimmed? Check out some of our outdoor-rated artificial plant options to get this look without the upkeep. Our boxwood bush window box recipes can be placed on the ground, on balcony walls, or anywhere you wish to add definition to your mini green space.
Essential #5: Benches, Statues, and Charming Décor to Dot the Landscape
Add a bit of whimsy with garden décor pieces perfect for placing in tranquil spots meant for resting and pondering. Garden benches, sculptural statues, birdbaths, and sundials are just a few of the ornaments you can use to round out your newly planted English garden.
Small space solution: Look for smaller or wall-mounted decorative details to provide the same, timeworn cottage mood as larger sculptural pieces. An antique-looking garden clock or thermometer mounted on the wall next to your tiny garden space is a simple, space-saving way to give it more provincial charm.