a stone path leads through peonies to a white arbor lined with purple booms

Add Elements of the English Garden to Any Garden



Since moving to our farmhouse almost four years ago, I’ve started to create my own garden spaces for their beauty and fruitfulness. Plants are quick growing beauties but creating a space takes time. I’ve been adding to and shaping my front herb and flower bed for three years in order to form it into the English style garden I dream of. It has beauty and my little English garden is truly a place for renewal. Even so, it hasn’t happened all at once. Today I want to share a conversation I had with my sister-in-law and friend, Stephanie, who invited me to enjoy her garden and gain wisdom from her experience. I hope you enjoy the pictures I shot and gain some ideas for your own spaces.

Peonies at twilight

1. Edible Blooms for English Garden Growing

Plant flowers, herbs and roots that can be used for both their beauty and for food or medicinal qualities.

Blooming purple sage surrounded by celery, rosemary and thyme
Blooming sage surrounded by celery, rosemary ( in back), lemon balm and thyme.

English Garden style has actually changed quite a bit from the medieval time when castles made room for a courtyard. Back then, form was highly important. Now days, English style tries to show the wonder of nature as opposed to the clean cut styles men can create. One thing that’s stayed the same is it’s purpose: Beauty and necessity. Being able to use the plants grown was very important (and still is). Whether for showing off a bouquet, making medicinal items from herbs, or using them in the kitchen, gardening was and is a productive endeavor.

2. Using Metals in Your Space

It’s no new fad that metals of all kinds are used in the garden. Whether an iron trellis, arbor or vintage finds, metal can add a classic flair to the space. Here’s some ideas:

A white chair and white iron fencing line various flowers and plants in an English Garden
  • Use an old metal bedframe (or crib frame for a garden trellis) …see the video that goes with this post for more on that!
  • Use wire baskets to hold gardening items or transform it into a plantar with some weed barrier, as in this video
  • Use metal chairs and tables for some country charm
  • Iron plant stands or bird cages like this one can look so cute among other garden plants
light streaming through light pink opened peony flowers

3. Stone and Rock Create English Garden Walkways

In a practical vegetable garden, to think of spending the time and money on stone seems a waste. However, I must say there is something special about stone pathways. Children know this. They hop from one to the other as though it brings adventure. I myself can feel the fairytale wonder when walking down a stone path.

Stepping stones invite one into a garden path bursting with colorful flowers

Using rocks as boarder can be another way to bring that cottage flair of the English garden into any space. We have several huge rocks in our westside garden. Although they don’t provide much more use than to separate the raspberries from the main garden, I love their presence.

Likewise, small rocks can bring the feel of being in an old European courtyard. These may be too small for the actual garden area but make lovely walkways. This area, made by Pine and Prospect Home, is a great example of using pea gravel.

Fushia Peonies in an English Garden

4. Use Wood and White

White paint can transform an ordinary piece of wood into a clean cut classic wonder. It’s the perfect addition to any English style garden. Use it for a trellis, on signs or fencing.

Hundreds of bright pink roses climb up a white trellis

A Conversation on the English Garden Style

Most of the photos in this post were taken at my sister-in-law’s garden. We sat and talked about the years it’s taken for her to create her garden spaces. We talked about how in the world a young mom could do something like this. You’ll also see the creativity in her vegetable garden. It was a wonderful evening and so beautiful.

More on Gardening

Growing Sprouts Year Round

Make a Plater Box from a Wooden Crate

How this Beginner is Preserving the Crop

It takes time to create a thriving garden to enjoy. Don’t get discouraged if it isn’t the way you want after one or two or even three years. It’s a process. Enjoy the journey.

Other Inspiration From the Hilltop

Einkorn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our Completed Adoption

Our Homeschool Sensory Style

Thanks for Stopping By!

From the Hilltop,


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    1. Thank you! I must admit I’ve learned a lot from my sister-in-law and the gardener who came before me. It’s so much more inspiring to build on someone else’s creativity than from nothing!

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