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Designing Gardens for Country Houses

Garden of a house in the countryside

As the weather gets colder, the days shorter, and plants begin to die back for the winter; there is less work to do in the garden. It is also the perfect time to think about garden design and getting everything ready for when spring arrives. That way, you can get out there and start putting your plans into action right away when the time is right.  

Take time to plan

The key to any great design is all in the planning. If you start now, you will have plenty of time to consider your country house garden design before it is time to start planting. 

Think about what you want the garden to be used for. Will you be using it for entertaining or just for relaxing? If you intend to have a seating area in your garden, it can be a good idea to think about where the best location might be.  Of course, you’ll also be able to work out how much space it will actually need. One mistake that people make is to create a patio area that is too small for the type of seating they would like in the garden. A 4 seater garden furniture, for example, will take up more space than a simple garden bench. Don’t forget to incorporate sufficient space so that people can walk around the table and that the chairs can be pulled out without toppling over the edge of the patio and causing an accident. 

Once you have considered how you want to use your space, you will need to think about your planting. 

Selecting the best flowers and foliage for your garden

Before you think about the type of plants that you want, it is a good idea to have a look around at other examples. The best country gardens are tailored to the landscape they occupy and the property they are attached to. The climate of the local area and also the soil type will also play a big factor in considering which plants will thrive in your garden. 

You may want to consider incorporating any plants that are already thriving in your garden into your new design. Once you have considered soil type and climate, there may be further things that you want from your planting. This might be a particular colour scheme. Or, it could be whether to include the type of plants that thrive when left to their own devices and create a wilder effect in the garden or something very organised and sleek looking. 

 Close-up on garden of a house in the countryside

What ‘type’ of garden do you want to create?

Country house gardens fall into a couple of main categories. The first is the more obvious country “cottage” garden look with flowing planting that allows your planting to appear almost overgrown, but that has carefully planned order, where colours are mixed and so too are heights of plants to give a fuller look. 

The second style of garden you may want to consider is a more organised one. Think manicured areas of lawn, clipped box hedges and topiaries, symmetry and, if you have the space, some form of water feature. Foliage rather than colour is more in keeping with this type of organised country house garden. Stonework like well-laid paths and gravel will also feature in this type of garden. Any garden furniture will also be organised and carefully placed. 

The final main style of country house garden is the modern country garden. This is a more modern style of a country garden, featuring elements of both the previous styles we have mentioned. It could be a particularly good option to set off a modern country house renovation.

Symmetry and organised lines will have their place, but they will simply be features of the garden rather than a main element of the design. Soft planting is an important part of the design as well but is kept more in check than in a “cottage” country house garden. There will be colour but is more likely to be limited to just a couple of shades and interspersed with interesting foliage. 

Furniture considerations

Seating, whether it is a simple bench, or a patio set with a dining table and matching chairs, forms an important part of any county house garden. As part of your garden design, take a look at a company like Lazy Susan, which specialises in good quality garden furniture, to find something that will work well with the design that you have in mind. From bistro sets to garden tables that seat large groups, there are plenty of different seating options out there that will not only fit well with your garden design but will give you a way to make the most of your garden and use it to its full potential. If you have a larger garden, you may even want to consider using a couple of different types of seating, for example, a simple bench under a tree and a table with seating on a patio.