10 Tips for Small Cottage Gardening

10 Tips for Small Cottage Gardening

I've always been passionate about gardening- it has to come from my German heritage & background. I remember always being amazed at all the beautiful plants & flowers my Oma always had around her home. Anything she touched always grew beautifully, she had the magic touch- every single time. This was something I couldn't wait to do as I grew up & had my own home. We spent the first half of our marriage in base housing & they had a contest each month called, "Yard of the Month"- now, this was an award my Oma always won so I was bound & determined to win this award. I'm proud to say I won it 4x while living in base housing. I got a fun gift card & a sign in our yard for a month- my Oma was always so excited when I told her.

Now that we bought our own home here in NC (8 years ago)- I've slowly been making the landscaping more our style- the cozy cottage style. Over the years, I've come up with a few of my favorite ways to bring plants & colorful flowers to our yard & I'm here now to share them with you: my favorite tips, tricks & flowers to add to your own home. You can find links to all things gardening that I love by clicking here.

1. Raised garden beds or in ground garden beds.

This is a fun one- for many years we used a raised garden bed that was at my height. This year we decided to build two separate in ground gardens- I guess they could kind of be considered raised garden- we added lots of soil to it & manure to create a rich environment to optimize growth & it's working beautifully. It looks aesthetically pleasing & is a beautiful place to add a bench or hammock to relax & admire all of your hard work.

2. Use pots & planters.

This is a favorite of mine. Be creative with your mix of pots & planters. Use old & new. You can use plastic, terracotta, concrete- the options are endless. I feel like the more textures & differential visual appeal- it adds more to a "collected cottage" vibe. Check out your local Goodwill, yard sales, estate sales, Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores & antique shops. I can always find unique pots & planters there. I've been collecting them for years so I have a bit of a collection but they are all unique & each bring something different to the space.

3. Accent with outdoor cloches, trellises & obelisks.

When I think of cozy garden spaces- I think about the accent pieces... functional accent pieces. Use trellises for your roses to climb on, chicken wire cloches to keep friendly critters out of your romaine lettuce & wood obelisks for your tomato plants to grow up. They serve two purposes: 1. Being an eyecatcher & 2. Being functional within your garden space. 

4. Create an archway in your vegetable garden.

We also made an arched trellis above the pathway between our two garden beds- the cucumbers are almost big enough to start growing on the trellis. We made it out of a cattle fence panel & T-posts. Simple but still beautiful. We found all of the pieces at our local Tractor Supply. I'll update more on this throughout the summer as they continue to grow but I'm really excited to see it fully grown. Such a beautiful statement piece to any garden space. Not interested in growing cucumbers on your archway? You could also grow plants like: Clematis, Bougainvillea, Wisteria, Roses or Grapevines. 

5. My favorite flowers to plant:

My most FAQ- I'm going to keep it simple for you & create an easy list for you to read. This is what we have planted so far in our garden & landscaping:

  • Sunflowers
  • Hydrangeas (different varieties like: Limelight, Let's Dance Diva) 
  • Roses (climbing roses & topiary rose bushes)
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Diamond Frost
  • Whirlwind Starlight
  • Snowstorm Giant Snowflake
  • Angelface Super Blue

I also highly recommend visiting your local nursery/greenhouse & seeing what pre-potted flower pots/baskets they have. They are beautiful & they tend to come up with some of the coziest & most creative varieties all together in one pot, already planted for you.

6. Create a cutting garden.

This doesn't have to specifically be a garden bed/box that is only flowers- but I always keep in mind when picking out flowers: which ones would I love to cut & enjoy inside of our home in a vase. And I also plant flowers with my vegetables like: Marigolds & Sunflowers to help distract & keep the bugs away. Next year I'm hoping to add another box with just a variety of flowers- solely for the purpose of cutting, gifting & drying out/pressing flowers. But for now, I enjoy walking around the yard & cutting different flowers for different rooms in our home to help bring a bit of the outdoors in.


7. Use different shapes, sizes & heights of plants, flowers & bushes.

This is super important when planning your garden. Visually, it is more appealing to have a varying shapes, sizes & heights. When planting be sure to keep the flowers that grow the tallest in the back & work your way to the front. The front flowers should be the smallest flowers. This is an easy way to create a fuller look in your garden space. Think about places you could plant your flowers for more curb appeal: around fountains, around bird baths, on the side of a shed, etc.

8. Create cozy outdoor corners.

Cozy corners indoors are my favorite- so it's only natural I talk about cozy corners outside. I love creating cozy corners by sitting/dining areas. Create a collection of planted flowers for your outdoor dining table or create a cozy corner by using your collected pots/planters, herbs, cloches & flowers. This is an easy way to add curb appeal to your front porch. I love planting flowers in the ground but I equally love planting them in pots because it allows me to easily refresh my outdoor spaces all summer long.

 9. Timed sprinklers or irrigation systems are a lifesaver!

We recently came back from the Bahamas & I was stressed about our flowers & plants. We don't have an irrigation system- but we came up with the next best solution. We moved all of our plants, flowers & hanging baskets to the backyard where our garden beds are & purchased a watering timer for our sprinkler. We came back to an absolutely beautiful garden & even greener grass. You can find the one we used here.

10. Don't pressure yourself to get everything done in just one season or just one year.

 Just as I spoke on my Instagram stories today- don't feel pressured or rushed to get something done in your garden or landscaping. Each year we add onto what we did the previous year. It has taken us 8 years to get where we are today & let me tell you... we aren't even close to where we want to be. Embrace each season you are in & enjoy the process. I love walking through out front & backyard & reliving family memories as I pass each plant, tree, bush, flower... they all have a memory attached to them that I've collected over the years. Create your cozy garden at a pace that works for you & enjoy every single moment of it. You're doing an amazing job, friend. Happy gardening. 

PS: Be sure to follow me on Instagram: krystlemarienickels to stay up to date on all new things happening around here & where I share lots of DIYs, home décor inspo recipes & more!

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1 comment

You’re so talented and make it all look so easy. Great and thoughtful ideas. Your attention to detail that accents the different areas of your beautiful yard is breath taking!! Love!!


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