01 of 07
At the nursery, you're like a kid in a candy shop. You can't decide between the vivacious trumpet lilies or the lush fuchsias, so you put three of each in your cart. Your dream garden is a bit madcap, always blooming, and full of fragrance and life. A cottage garden in full bloom is exuberant, to say the least. Populate it with dramatic tall accent flowers such as delphiniums, foxgloves, and hollyhocks. Fill in all the gaps with romantic heirloom roses, cheerful daisies, and breezy baby's breath. Add a couple of vines, such as clematis or wisteria, and you have a great foundation for your retreat.
02 of 07
Think of all of the best elements of your favorite retreat: candles, pillows, blankets or throws, and comfortable seating. Now add fresh air, flowers, butterflies, and birdsong. An outdoor room doesn't need to be elaborate; it can be as simple as demarcating an area with a trellis and installing a bench with some cushions that encourage you to put your feet up and stay awhile. A container garden makes it easy to switch out fading plants regularly, ensuring that your outdoor room stays in bloom all season.
03 of 07
The best things come to those who wait, and the shady garden especially embodies that sentiment. Spring is a glorious season in any garden, but especially so in the woodland garden, where azaleas, rhododendrons, primroses, and bleeding hearts put on a show. There are even butterflies that you can draw to your shaded landscape if you install plants such as bugbane or goat's beard. If your site is wet, choose from a host of flowering bog plants to light up your space.
04 of 07
If your house is always clutter-free, and your idea of a perfect palette is monochrome or two-tone, a formal garden might suit your garden style. Symmetry, simplicity, and order are hallmarks of the formal flower garden. Some formal gardens are lacking in flowers, but a flowering plant with a mounding habit such as lavender is perfectly suitable in a formal landscape. Flowers that can be trained into standards, especially roses, are most at home in a formal garden design.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Can you name the top 10 birds that visit your landscape? Can you distinguish the beneficial insects in your yard from the pests? If respecting and preserving native wildlife is a priority for you, then you should plant some wildflowers as a foundation for your natural habitat. If you think wild means weedy, get to know some of the new, highly floriferous coneflowers such as 'Cheyenne Spirit.' Other highly ornamental native wildflowers include columbine, fleabane, and penstemon. No matter which flowers you choose, stick with organic gardening methods that are gentle on wildlife.
06 of 07
You dedicate many hours to your prize flowers each week, so why hide them away in the back yard? A front yard garden is a gift to the neighborhood and the whole community; a seasonal show that brings new delights each month. Be bold, and plant a large swath of giant sunflowers with annual morning glories twining up their stems. If the only sun on your property is in the front yard, mix it up with a flowering vegetable garden. If you dabble in seed starting, you can fill up your entire plot with easy annuals such as zinnias, cosmos, and bachelor's buttons.
07 of 07
If you get excited when you hear words and phrases such as flea market, country charm, cast off, and salvage yard, then rustic garden design is for you. The theme and inspiration for your rustic garden can come from many sources, which is part of its charm: your landscape will be like your fingerprint, unique to you. You may start with an assemblage of vintage license plates, a reclaimed garden gate, heirloom farm implements, or a repurposed chandelier. Add some casual, low-maintenance flowers such as daylilies, yarrow, iris, and clematis. These plants will establish quickly, and their classic good looks will lend a timeless appearance to your rustic garden.