How to create a Victorian cottage garden

Bringing back tradition

The Victorian cottage garden is a well reknowned style in Europe, and consists of different architectural elements all coming together to form a place where planting is carefully planned and detailed. Many of the plants used form part of this architectural landscape. Other additions such as arches and seating are added to bring the whole garden together. The plants used in a Victorian garden would be those traditional plants such as small box hedges to form shapes, shrubs with lasting floral value for each season, and pathways which lead you down the garden toward features such as statues, fountains or seating areas.


Step 1


The planning of the Victorian garden is vital to the equation. Here draw on a sketchbook the kind of design you wish to incorporate, bearing in mind the available sunlight and its suitability to the plants you choose. This is a good time to test your soil to find out what elements need to be added to encourage growth. Your plan may not be professional but it should include all elements already within the garden area, incorporating them into the overall look.

Step 2

Marking out

The area needs marking out. If you are creating circles, put a string on a marker stick in the middle of the design, and use this string and a metal spike, to mark the area which is to be dug. This is particularly handy and accurate. Then use marking paint to make that mark even clearer.

Step 3

Start to dig within the lines drawn

Start to dig within the lines, making sure all weed is removed, and good quality soil added to balance the quality of the soil within the beds.

Step 4

Dig all full borders

At the end of the digging process, the borders should appear to make the original design you created, in shape.

Step 5

Protection from weeds

Add a covering to the ground in all border areas, tucking these in with an edge cutter so that they define the shape of the border. The hedging plants can then be planted into the fiber by cutting a cross into the fiber and clearing sufficient soil to add the plant firmly. Plant all around the border, and add bark chippings to finish.

Step 6

Plan and mark straight hedges

Plan out ancilliary hedges and mark these with a straight edge and a ground marker. Lay out all the ground planting box plants, so that you know how long the marking should be. The edges of the marking are cut with an edge trimming spade and then the center taken out by using the spade across the border instead of at the edges. Add soil to replenish that taken away with weeds.

Step 7

Planting the hedge

Use a string to mark your line so that your plants are all placed in the right place. Plant each plant within a hole large enough to take the roots, trim roots a little if necessary as this will help the growth and establishment of the plants.

Step 8

Overall look of the garden planted

When you have finished planting, place potted box and conifers to your own taste. A central feature such as a fountain or birthbath with compliment the overall look.

Things Needed
• Paper.
• Ideas.
• Plants.
• String.
• Tape measures.
• Metal spike.
• Central post.
• Marking paints.
• Spade or fork.
• Edging spade.

Tips & Warnings
• Look around different garden centers for who will give discounts on bulk plants.
• For this design 130 hedging plants were used for border and 75 box plants, so quite a few will be needed.
• More haste less speed, plan carefully.
• Plant in seasons which produce sufficient rain to water the plants.


    Hindmarsh  08.11.2015 14:02

    Lovely, Rachelle. You can come and help with my spring gardening. LOL! I love this article. I’m a true romantic at heart.

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