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The ingredients for a perfect English garden

If an Englishman’s house is his castle then his garden is his kingdom. The idea of a traditional “English garden” is a simple yet charming style that never goes out of fashion. With a tranquil spot to sit, scented plants and a greenhouse in which to potter at your leisure, we give you the ingredients to create your own quintessentially English retreat.

English garden

The greenhouse

Greenhouses let plants thrive in a protected environment, so you can get a headstart on the growing season by sowing your seeds earlier than normal. Basic aluminium frames are inexpensive but those who want something a little more aesthetically pleasing may prefer to opt for a wooden frame. Place your greenhouse south-facing and set it on a low brick base. With so many choices, you can be as extravagant and simple as you like!

The garden bench

The classic garden bench on which you can relax is a pleasure of any garden. The Lutyens bench is a classic design but there are many others available. When positioning the bench, think about when you use the garden and where the best light or shade will be at that time. Also consider what you will be looking at – you want to be able to admire your garden after all.

The gazebo

Gazebos have been enjoyed in the English garden for centuries as they are perfect for garden parties and entertaining. Decide what shape best suits your garden – square, rectangle, oval are all popular choices. Then consider if you want a fully enclosed structure or an open-sided style with trellised sides for trailing plants. With the harsh British weather it is a good idea to pick a quality timber gazebo that can withstand the test of time. Painted versions look most attractive and with a selection of roofing options, you really can create a unique addition to your garden.


Although lavender is traditionally associated with English cottage gardens, it was originally brought to the country by the Romans. It emits a beautiful scent and is perfect for edging flowerbeds. “Hidcote” and “Munstead” are the two best varieties to use in the garden. Lavenders are varied in colour from pale blue to intense violet, so pick a shade that appeals to you and your garden decor.


A must for any English garden, the rose has been growing in hedgerows in the countryside for centuries. The traditional idea of the “English rose” is a full-petalled bloom in classic white, pinks and deep reds with an intoxicating, heavy scent. For your garden, choose a fragrant and disease-resistant variety to get the best results. Climbing and rambling roses look spectacular when growing over an arch in the garden.


Stone statues and sundials give a garden a classic, traditional look. As well as being a focal point for the garden, they look comforting and should age gracefully rather than become tarnished. The more worn and marked – the better.

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