A gorgeous Australian cottage garden makeover

Native plants all the way!
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What a charmer! Shake off the past of your worker’s cottage with a subtle kerbside refresh that makes it functionally fit for a modern family without losing its old-world good looks.

With a young family, it can be difficult finding the time to take care of your home and get it looking exactly how you want.

But for one young couple, Charlie and Juliet are here to help. While Charlie transforms the garden from a plain patch of dead grass to an Australiana cottage garden, complete with new fence, Juliet works on beautifying the front of the cottage itself.

When they’re done, this historic miner’s cottage won’t just be back to its former glory, it will look better than it’s ever been.

How to create an Australian cottage garden


A modest Victorian worker’s cottage is cute already, so transforming it into adorable is a breeze, especially when drawing on the era’s character.

Replace the old fence with heritage-style wire mesh through which everyone can see and love your cottage garden. Shutters add a splash of period style and a simple picket gate extends a lovely warm welcome!


Establish a colour flow when choosing your palette for a harmonious effect.

Here, white and grey are the dominant hues, while a complementary soft pink is used for the door, gate and letterbox. Make sure your outdoor accessories also exhibit the same shades.


A bit wild, but always charming, colourful and fragrant, a cottage garden is like a frolic through the rule books where you pick what you fancy and discard the rest – except the rule about having no gaps.

Find out how big plants will grow before you dig them in, allow space for their spread, then sow colourful annuals until the gaps are filled.


In keeping with your quaint home’s historic façade, buy a variety of inexpensive terracotta pots and give them an authentic weathered look with a whitewashed finish.

Simply dilute a teaspoon of white exterior paint in a cup of water, stir well, then wipe onto pots with a clean damp rag, using vertical or horizontal strokes.

The best plants for an Australian cottage garden


Cut-leaf daisy (Brachyscome)

Cut-leaf or Swan River daisy work perfectly in a native cottage garden. Pops of purple, pink and white mean your garden will thrive with admiration from guests and pollinators alike.

It is a perennial daisy, and can act as a ground cover if planted straight into the ground. Here, we have placed them in different sized pots along the verandah. 


Snow bush (Breynia disticha)

Contrary to its name, the snow bush is actually a tropical plant. It gets its name from its bushy leaves that are dappled with white, imitating the effect of snow.

As an evergreen shrub, this plant is perfect for a cottage garden, as it will never lose its leaves or colour.


Butterfly bush (Buddleia)

Available in an array of colours, butterfly bush adds a delicate touch to your garden.

Leafy, curled flowers in purple, white or pink look and smell beautiful, and will attract pollinators. Aptly named, this bush is known for drawing in butterflies, which is the perfect addition to a cottage garden.


Smoke bush ‘Grace’ (Cotinus coggygria)

A deciduous choice for the garden means you will have some nice variety as the seasons change.

This smoke bush variety offers up reddish, purple leaves that will turn into a sunset of orange and yellow during autumn. 


Woolly bush (Adenanthos sericeus)

Silvery green and woolly in looks, this Australian native plant adds great texture to a cottage garden.

Another evergreen, woolly bush will be velvety and soft against the more structured elements of a front garden space, like fencing. And added pop of colour will come from the small, bright red flowers that bloom almost year round.


Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ (Salvia longispicata x farinacea)

Thriving in the Aussie heat, salvia offers up long spirals of flowers for you to enjoy.

Great for bordering gardens and adding in some blues and purples, this ‘Mystic Spires’ variety is easy to grow and even easier to maintain. 


White-flowering salvia (Salvia nemorosa)

Large spikes of white flowers are this plants main attraction.

Ideal for mass planting or adding to a rockery, white-flowering salvia adds in texture and colour where needed without any fuss. Equally as hardy and tough as ‘Mystic Spires’ this salvia will do well in an Australiana cottage garden.

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