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Looking for inspiration

Fort Dodge, IA

Dear cottage gardeners, I am looking to you all for inspiration to create a more cottage curb appeal to my own home. Will you all please post pull back photos of the front of your homes? I would like to see how the flowerbeds flow with the rest of the yard and the houses, if I were driving by your house what would my impression be? You all post such beautiful flowers but I would love to see the beautiful gardens that are home to these flowers. Thank you.

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

I agree, dcartphoto. I had rather see pictures of entire gardens than just the bloom of one single plant over and over. A mix of both would be wonderful. I, too, am looking for inspiration, sort of starting over, if you will. I like to see how others design their gardens, what they use for borders (bricks, rock, etc.), how they arrange the plants in different areas, what art they use in their gardens. That's why I posted all those photos of my sister's garden (see the thread A Southern Cottage Garden) because it's one source of my inspiration. One of these days maybe I'll have a garden like that ... on a much smaller scale, of course. LOL

Fort Dodge, IA

Well no one has posted photos yet but here is one from exotixgarden.org I keep reading to incorporate shrubs into the cottage garden, but I was unsure of how to go about it. I have gobs of lilacs but didn't know how to have them look like anything but a big blob, and how do you plant around that? I love the planting they did at the base of these lilac bushes. Today I trimmed out from under the lilac in my front yard and planted it in with hostas because of this inspiration photo.

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Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

I agree. LOVE photos of the whole gardens. We used to have threads where we had MANY beautiful gardens posted. Many threads actually, kinda like a continuation when they got too long. I'd post some photos but not sure what you would call my garden style. LOL Probably not cottage garden. More like 'whatever I like' gardens. haha
Sherry

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

I wouldn't consider my front yard really a cottage garden, but it is a jumble of stuff, here's a photo. I'll take some of the back yard tomorrow, which is more cottage-like. I like to get ideas from other's photos, so I'll pay back by sharing a couple of my own.

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Fort Dodge, IA

Cindy, thank you so much for posting. I love the details of your home, the stone, siding, shutters, the curved brick walkway....... what I wouldn't give for that kind of character. :)

I think the true spirit of a cottage garden is putting in what we like, and letting it be a "jumble of stuff" if that's what we want it to be.

Again this is not my photo. It came from http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/ and I love the tomato plants being grown behind the bench in the garden among the flowers. I like the idea of it being what it needs to be and still be pretty.

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Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

Ohhhhhh! Beautiful setting! Love your brick path and the stone. Great combination of plants along with the Birch (I think that's what it is) tree. Very inviting. Here's a photo of part of one of my gardens in the backyard. Already been posted elsewhere so hope it's not a duplicate to you. :)
Sherry

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Fort Dodge, IA

Sherry that is beautiful. Is that pine tree just to the left cut in a spiral?

Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Cindy, what a beautiful entry! Love your arrangement of plants and tree.

Sherry, that is lovely! My favorite colors ...! A "whatever I like" garden is definitely a cottage garden.

Dcartphoto, also love the tomatoes among the flowers. That's what I'm working on right now ... will send photos as soon as it looks right. Just planted the tomatoes. Now for the flowers. I told you I was starting almost from scratch. That's why I need photos! LOL. I am definitely a plunker and not a planner.

Fort Dodge, IA

Here is the lilac I planted under yesterday. The bush was just a round ball that hung to the ground all the way around. I trimmed up the lower branches and planted the hosta and daylily that I moved form another location.

The 2nd photo is my bench area, I was hoping to get to work on it today but much needed rain is keeping me in the house. I may move the tomatoes into the back flower bed though, I'm just not sure how well they are going to do in those pots.

last two photos are the area I'm working on now. Lots of stuff to cover up back here, and why does the air conditioner have to be a mile from the house? :) I think I'm making an arbor out of old doors over the air conditioner leaving plenty of room ventilationtion. I actually planted peas on the trellis that is going over the ugly pcv and someone is sending me morning glory seeds to add in there also. Maybe next year I'll have get that rose I want. :) I made my husband pull the half shrub/tree that was growing in the left corner yesterday, and I have some cuttings from my grandmothers homestead, a snowball bush, the big, tall, really old fashioned ones, that I am hoping to put in that area.

Now you can all see why I need so much help and inspiration. I'm a bit clueless and I really respect the advice from people with more experience and design skills then myself. :)

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Pasco, WA(Zone 6b)

I like what you did with the lilac bush. I have 2 in my backyard garden. They were getting too big and spreading out to far where I didn't want them. So I took off ALL the bottom branches and made them look like small trees. They look great now. I like the way your bed is curved. I always curve my beds. Just love the look. If it were me, I would put something as a focal point in the far left corner. Maybe a pretty hydrangea or a small Japanese Maple. I have both and LOVE them both. You would probably have to get the smaller, dwarf type hydrangea. I will post a couple here that I have in my yard. But there are many, many choices for you if you like them. Also not sure what kind of sun or shade you get in that area.

The first is a Nikko Blue hydrangea. Believe it or not it WAS pure blue and beautiful. But I moved it because it was getting covered up by the pine trees and it turned pink in its new spot! Hydrangeas do that. It all depends on your soil. And I only moved mine maybe 10 feet away! But I like the pink too, so that's fine by me. But now my other things are growing so big I may have to move it again so it is visible. Things grow faster than we think!

The second one is a hydrangea called Twist and Shout. It is a laceleaf type so has totally different looking flowers. But I fell in love with them. I have only had them since May of 2010. So far, so good. :) But I put them under some pine trees that we limbed up and the limbs are hanging down so much they are almost hiding the hydrangeas. So I may have to cut some more limbs off the pine trees or move the hydrangeas. Dang. Anyhow, here's some photos for you for now. Not trying to tell you what to do, just giving ideas. Let me know if you want more. :) Believe me, I'm no expert. It's all trial and error for me. hehe

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Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

As promised, here's my back yard garden, pulled back a little, so you can get more of the whole effect. Someone above mentioned mixing in tomatoes, which is what I do, too. The ladder that you see is a tomato support, there's one planted on either side at the bottom of the ladder. There's also lettuce, carrots, beets, scallions, chard, in the sundial garden in the back of the photo which is currently surrounded by the chicken wire fence, hopefully temporary until things grow a little bigger and the bunny moves on to someplace he can access better. The purple flowers you see on the right are culinary sage, all my herbs are planted in that area - oregano, rosemary (which you can see peaking out behind the sage), thyme, chives. There are hollyhocks under the window box, getting ready to open, a species clematis to the left of those, climbing up the side of the house, and to the left of that, under the windows is lavender. Oh, I think you can see another tomato in the very front of the photo, with garlic to the right of it and chamomile to the left. The white lacy flower is orlaya, it self seeds every year, but not too invasive, and you might be able to make out some wine colored flowers mixed in with that, those are a perennial geranium which I bought to cover the ground under my climbing rose (there's a couple of those buds sticking into the photo on the far right), but it ended up being too tall, I may rip that out. On the very left of the photo is some red bee balm which is not blooming yet, and a white peony blossom. There's also foxglove, sedum, and rose campion. Although I didn't plan it that way, I guess this does qualify as a cottage garden, because I do have a lot of stuff going on.

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Fort Dodge, IA

Sherrygirl, to funny but we think just alike. You probably missed it in my long winded post but where we removed the half dead srub with the tree growing out of it on the far left I'm putting in a snowball bush, no name for it. It's one my grandmother has had on the farm since she was a little girl. I rememeber visiting her and the boarder collie would always have her puppies under it. It gets tall and bushy but I think there is enough room there to handle it. I have cuttings started, I just hope they take.

Fort Dodge, IA

Cindyeo,

Thank you so much for posting your photo, it is a cottage garden. :) Very beautiful and I love the use of the ladder for your tomatoes. I would love to see how your garden relates to your home. I'm having a really hard time tying my gardens in with the rest of my home and existing hardscape. Garden beds to me have always been little strips of land next to the house or along the fence, your garden looks much more extensive then that. I would love to see photos of homes with gardens that go beyond the traditional round the house strips, just to get an idea of what I can get away with. :)

Fort Dodge, IA

Here is an inseration photo I found right here on DG by Dogs_N_Petunias http://pics.davesgarden.com/pics/2009/10/13/Dogs_N_Petunias/be441b.jpg

My beds are starting to creep down the sidewalk like hers is and I like the way she did the boarder on hers, I don't have a border yet and haven't decided what to do with one.

Fort Dodge, IA

I also like teh rustic charm of this one http://pics.davesgarden.com/pics/2008/02/03/fauna4flora/2fe984.jpg

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

I try to capture my garden scenes on a larger scale---because I agree: those are much more interesting photos to look at than close-ups of a single blossom.

For the side of your house---you might draw inspiration from my garage area. My garage looked very bare, so I installed a very large window basket planter box above the garage door, and two decorative hooks (these are extremely heavy duty) way up high for hanging baskets. This is automatically watered with a drip system from a faucet on the house.

Pic is the view as one comes down our driveway. Part of house you see is the garage (as per above). Hard to see the hanging baskets b/c of lighting. Cement part is the driveway. I have extensive flower beds on both sides.

Pic taken today.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

This pic is my front yard (view from house out front.) Our home is hidden due to this slope/shrubs if that makes sense. Take note of the repeating elements of color and lots of evergreen shrubs for structure. I have posted this photo on DG before, so it might be a repeat for some of you. Pic was taken last year---front yard looks about the same right now.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

This is an island bed along the driveway. (sidewalk goes around both sides to take people to the house). It is a large bed. This is what everyone sees when they first arrive at the house. I have something blooming in it February through October. I have 3 miniature evergreens in it---one cut like a spiral and two others---for structure.

First pic I took today. Second pic show some of what blooms in it in July.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

You can even make a play structure look pretty.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Do raised beds out of stone if possible. They last forever, and add to that cottage look. I always plant one of mine with sweet peas. Pic from last summer.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Hang baskets from structures for more cottage look. I've posted this one before, too, so sorry if you've seen it. Pic taken last week. That's my youngest son basking in the son.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

View of back deck. Number one most important thing in cottage gardening: make the edges of your beds CURVED and UNDULATING. I use a garden hose to achieve this. Pic taken today. Sorry for all of the pics of Spanish lavendar---it's the main thing blooming in my yard right now. Between it and the nepeta and lupines, it's very purple around here.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Okay another one. This is a new bed I build by myself this year, over existing lawn. (I used the newspaper layering method). I used the garden hose to come up with the shape. But note the very first thing I did was decide on two evergreens to give structure and form to this space. (Yew tree in foreground and ceanothus shrub in background). The rest of this bed will be entirely filled with perennials and annuals. I haven't filled it yet. This pic was taken a few months ago. I've added a lot to it since then. Lots of poppies, perennial lobelia, peonies, monarda, violas. I'll be popping in a ton of annuals that I started in my greenhouse very soon.

I'm an obsessed gardener by the way.

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Newnan, GA(Zone 7b)

Wow! Obsessed or not, you have the "touch." Those are all beautiful.

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

kosk - I love Spanish lavender. I wish mine was growing as nicely as yours.

Fort Dodge, IA

kosk0025 - I love, love, love the idea of the hanging baskets and the planter on the side of your garage. I never would have thought to hang something like that on the side of a building. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I haven't even read the read of your posts yet. LOL

Barberton, OH

Here is a pic I posted on another thread here last year. It is my EX_GF's garden that we created over a few years. She bought, I planted. No plans just added plants as the garden expanded.
Herman

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Fort Dodge, IA

Herman, that is sort of how mine is developing. Just adding plants as I get them now. I try and place it into the bed by how tall it gets but with the trades I have coming I don't even know what everything looks like so I'm just sort of throwing it in and planning on moving it if it doesn't work.

Fort Dodge, IA

Kosk, thank you so much for all the tips and advice you posted. It was very helpful and very inspirational.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Thanks, all. I love the idea of this thread. Herman, that is beautiful. Foxgloves are my number one favorite flower. I have many. Cindy, I love your pics. Your house looks really beautiful. Sherry, as always, fabulous pics. You should also post that pic you posted ?maybe last year?, of your front yard bed that shows it in its near entirety....all of your monarda and rudbeckia if I am recalling it correctly. That pic is very inspirational.

Dcart---I'm excited to see progression of your bed. You should expand it outward from the house. I was amazed at how well the newspaper method worked to destroy lawn. Just layer newspaper directly on the lawn. Dump and spread about a 5 inch layer of compost on top of that. Then add about a 6 inch layer of bedding soil on top of those two layers. You can plant immediately if you add this much soil. For me it has been about 4 months....and when I dig down to where the newspaper was, it is already "gone" and the grass/turf is no longer there. This will give you a bigger bed, and prevent it from being a "little strip of land around the house." A deeper bed allows the you to insert shrubs like hydrangeas and still have lots of space for fun perennials and annuals.

As far as popping random things in.....that's what we all do! And move them a year or two later if they don't work. As long as your garden has a framework of shrubs/trees, it will always look good.

I have a huge old fashioned snowball viburnum.....I'll post a pic of it later, if I can ever get my middle son to relinquish the computer where I store my photos.

I'll try an post more pics of the garden beds along my house, too, to show how they tie into the building.



This message was edited Jun 2, 2012 6:39 AM

Fort Dodge, IA

When doing the newspaper beds, what if you have existing plants in the beds? For example I have a rose bush in that bed and I don't think it would move well, and it sounds like the bed is raised a lot by adding all the soil and stuff. Also where do you get your soil? Can you just buy it in bads at big box stores? Garden centers?

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

You can kind of mound the soil elsewhere, but then make the depth gradually decrease when you approach existing plants. Use less soil in that area, that sort of thing. After a year, all of the soil settles anyway, so the bed pretty much flattens out. I might have overstated depths of soil/compost. Fine to do 2-3 inches of compost and 3-4 inches of soil. I find this technique to be much easier than digging out existing turf grass. I have a good place that delivers soil/compost by the cubic yard. They dump it in my driveway, and I use a wheelbarrow to move it. This year I had 2 units of compost and 2 units of soil delivered! (Each unit is 7.4 cubic yards). Uff da.

I'm attaching a couple of pics that I have that do a better job showing some of my beds in relation to the house. First pic I took yesterday, and you can see my snowball viburnum in bloom. Second pic is the same bed (those are the same windows) in July or August.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

These pics are part of the front of my house, which is the north side of my house, so it's a shade garden. This bed is a challenge for me, due to the invasiveness of the goutweed. When my astilbes are in bloom in a month or so, I'll take a new pic of this bed.

Thanks for looking,
Stephanie

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Fort Dodge, IA

My totally free patio. Photos from last week, and photos from today. Pavers were salvaged from ones that were here in a shed when we moved in.

Behind this is a raised bed that runs between two driveways. The lower driveway used to go to a tuck under garage, but we converted that to part of the home. Actually it now goes into my portrait studio so people still park there sometimes. The hill between the dives was very steep and I didn't want a formal landscape look. We are very country here, winding gravel dead end road, creeks, cows over the fence. I wanted to keep that look in the landscaping. I saw this look done in a magazine and I just felt it had the right amount of country charm.

Last photos are sort of OT. It is my youngest building her fairy garden, just cute so thought I would share.

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Fort Dodge, IA

Here are some photos of what my house looks like when you come in the drive. The camper is not usually there, but my daughter had a "camping" birthday party so we moved it up under the house and just haven't gotten taken out back again yet.

The left raised flowerbeds used to look just like the hills on the right, even almost as weedy as that! Next year we hope to do raised beds on right side also.

There is usually a table under the deck but I'm working over there this week trying to get ready for a big sale so I have moved everything out and it's a bit of a mess under there right now.

Any advice for the top part of the house you can see over the deck rails. That reminds me, we are changing the deck later this year or next. I'll include the photo of the insperation deck rails. The top part of the rails will be lighted and there will be a sail that we can attach from the top deck rail to the house that will span across those windows. We entertainertain a lot out here and we have a tent we can put up now, but we like the idea of just being able to pop a sail up when we want it. Photo from BHG's 21 ways to upgrade your deck

Anyway, back to the question. I'm thinking shutters on the windows but there is still a lot of space. Maybe extra large house numbers on the right corner? If my children weren't still in the house I would put french doors where each of those windows are but I don't want doors going into their bedrooms. :)

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Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

I like your inspiration deck, that might make all the difference you need up there. The first thing I thought of was some sort of fun art, like a big sun plaque, I found a bunch here:
http://www.gardenfun.com/sun-face-wall-art-decor.html?ag=Sun%20Decor&?kw=outdoor%20sun%20wall%20art&?mt=Phrase&gclid=CPuAwdH-sLACFQlN4AodFG-ZTQ
But if you put that upper rail on the deck, that might break it up enough, especially if you have the sail up.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

I would do black shutters, plus buy 3 really large pots/planters and fill each of them with a tall columnar evergreen tree. I would spend extra $ to buy trees that are already pretty good size and tall. And place 2 on the left side of the left window, and the other in between the two windows. I would buy the same tree for each pot for uniformity. Arborvitae, Italian cypress, pencil formed barberry....something evergreen that would look good up there all year round. (then in winter you can decorate them with Christmas lights). And if you get tired of them you can move them to change it up or plant them in the ground somewhere.

And I would do the house numbers in black vertically to the right of the right sided window, but only if space allows post-shutter addition.

Cool idea from BHG btw.

Fort Dodge, IA

Cindy, all I could come up with in my head was some sort of wreath, but I think really big ones look weird. Those are so much more fun, thank you for the idea!

Kosk, as I was posting these photos I was thinking we needed something more vertical coming up, I never would have though about trees. I'm in zone 4b and even then sometimes loose those zone plants to winter. Can I keep potted trees in my zone? I don't think I have ever seen it done with real trees here.

Barberton, OH

My concept of a cottage garden is to have something blooming all season long, from Helebores in Spring to Asters in the fall. Here is a pic I took today of a small strip along the street and another pic from last fall Herman

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