When many people think of gardening they imagine beautifully manicured gardens with edges and borders cut so neatly and hedges pruned to perfection. In reality, gardening encompasses a huge variety of different styles and doesn’t always require absolute perfection. In fact, modern gardening, and the styles that have grown from gardening trends and patterns, allow for amateur and keen gardeners to choose a style that matches their own style and tastes. 

From cottage garden style to exotic and wild gardens, choosing your gardening style can help you determine what to plant, where, and when. 

The different types of planting styles

Cottage style garden 

The cottage style of gardening is a loved planting style, particularly throughout British gardens. It embraces an array of colors and plant fragrances, mixing a combination of colorful perennials, shrubs, bulbs, and climbers. Another thing to note is that the cottage style doesn’t have to be incredibly neat and formal. In fact, it is an informal take on a traditional and well-manicured herbaceous border. 

Popular plants for a cottage garden include:

  • Foxgloves 
  • Geraniums 
  • Delphiniums
  • Honeysuckle 
  • Lavender 

Exotic garden

An exotic garden is a fun but adventurous and sometimes daring style. It combines planting a variety of exotic and subtropical plants. This means this style of planting is only really appropriate for particular types of gardens. Usually, those that get a lot of sunlight are well protected in winter and colder months. Only certain plants will thrive in an exotic garden and others will need extra care and protection in order to survive. 

The best plants for an exotic garden: 

  • Tree ferns 
  • Bamboo 
  • Jasmine 
  • Hardy ferns 
  • Phoenix Palm 

Wildlife garden 

When creating a wildlife garden, one must consider optimizing your garden for the local wildlife. This could include planting trees and shrubs that are perfect homes for resident birds. Meanwhile, planting pollinators attracting perennials such as Lavender, Hollyhock, and Echinacea will create a wonderful environment for bees and butterflies to thrive. 

A wildlife garden may also include water features such as ponds or water fountains to provide birds and other wildlife with a source of water and a place to bathe. Creating a wildlife garden is recommended for those who wish to see an increase in local wildlife in their outdoor space. However, this may not be the best choice for gardeners who have domestic pets such as cats or dogs, as this could cause somewhat of a turf war! 

Plants perfect for local wildlife:

  • Echinacea
  • Salvia 
  • Geranium 
  • Peony
  • Hollyhock

Urban/modern garden 

For those living in a modern home or an urban setting, the urban/modern garden style is a trend that is ever-expanding. Gardeners who are keen to maintain a contemporary look whilst embracing the introduction of plants and greenery into their outdoor space, no matter how big or small, will enjoy the urban style of planting. Urban gardeners often embrace the use of foliage and shrubs to form a mixture of shapes and styles to introduce dimension to the small space they have available. 

The best type of plants for urban gardeners:

  • Hydrangea quercifolia
  • Acer palmatum 
  • Phyllostachys aureosulcata
  • Hosta plants 
  • Topiary shrubs 

While these and many more planting styles offer a variety of options when it comes to creating your dream garden, one thing to remember is that your garden size and positioning will play a key role in what thrives and what doesn’t in your garden. Only certain plants will thrive in your garden, so it’s important to find a style that works best with the style of your home, the positioning of your garden, the soil type, and how often the sun shines on your borders and planters.