18 Charming Country Gardens To Inspire Your Own
They may seem unstudied, but the best country gardens are a combo of planning and whimsy. That plot of periwinkle? It may have spread from some patch long ago, or could have been planted last weekend. Plantings that look naturally evolved are the underpinnings of breezy country charm. Let’s take a stroll through some of our favorite country gardens over the years and see what makes them so inviting and carefree (even if they require more than a little manicuring).
In Quebec’s Eastern Townships, designer Richard Ouellette strolls around the pool at Humming Hill, the country retreat he shares with partner Maxime Vandal of Les Ensembliers. Stepped plantings create a wall of green, studded with crimson and yellow tiger lilies, and spikes of bell-shaped, lilac hosta blossoms.
Covering garden structures with vines conjures up a romantic, unbridled look. Purple clematis clambers over a garden gate surrounded by lush white hydrangeas. An ornate iron urn is potted with Shasta daisies, underplanted with ivy tendrils.
A mix of white Astilbe, pink hydrangea and mature trees make up a classic English-inspired garden to frame this clapboard colonial revival home in Knowlton, Quebec.
Now onto another gorgeous country garden in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, this one dubbed ‘Fieldways.’ Outside the kitchen and guest room window, a bed of white lilies, Shasta daisies, hollyhocks, roses and boxwood thrives where an asphalt driveway once stood.
Just because a country garden has plenty of space to grow, don’t underestimate the power of a charming container. Textured clay pots that look like coiled rope are filled with geraniums, pansies, osteopermum and silver petiolaris, to prettily frame a pathway.
Drifts of casual purple catmint creates major impact, especially when contained by tidy boxwood hedges. White flowering crab apple trees punctuate the manicured lawns of the home’s parterre garden, which is relatively easy care since the flowers are perennials, and boxwood is slow growing so doesn’t require constant trimming. A large wooden obelisk injects some height and visual interest to the potager, or vegetable garden.
Another benefit of country gardens? Seriously mature trees, like this super stately 80-year-old white pine which shelters the table beautifully. Lush beds of pachysandra ring the outdoor eating area.
When planted en masse, colorful drifts of blooms have major impact. Country gardens naturally lend themselves to rustic hardscaping to define spaces, such as stone walls and split-rail fences, which develop a weathered finish that improves with age.
Now let’s move to a Caledon, Ontario, garden. The owner of this home wanted a Provençal feel, seen in the use of parterre plantings and beds framed by neat boxwood hedges. Tall foxglove, purple allium and rambling roses add a pop of pretty color and fragrance.
Casual flagstone and pea-gravel pathways meander around the property to balance out the formal lines. Hydrangea bushes frame the original front of the charming fieldstone home.
A neoclassic stone urn on a pedestal is a compelling focal point and reflects the history of this 1840 house.
In a country garden, a pool should look as naturalistic as possible. A black concrete finish makes the water look steely blue, not blindingly turquoise. A rustic pergola creates a focal point, and wisteria vines are trained to eventually envelope it in greenery and flowers.
Now up to a garden located just north of Toronto, in the rolling hills of Hockley Valley. The garden of Barbara Moses and Andrew Weiner contains a vast array of perennials chosen for their non-fussy natures, such as silvermound Artemisia, catmint, Russian sage and a collection of grasses. A wall of mature hemlocks forms the backdrop for the main garden.
Frame a pretty view with an arbor, like this rustic willow version that leads to a meadow. Clumps of lavender, sage, rockrose, phlox, yellow tickseed and other sun-loving plants jockey for space in a mixed border.
Ready for a trip to the West Coast? The vegetables grown in this 3.9 acre Southlands, Vancouver, country home are planted by Inner City farms and the proceeds are sold at market or donated, so this garden is pretty as well as philanthropic. The raised vegetable garden is dotted with orange and yellow nasturtium, the petals are edible and add vibrant color to salads or desserts.
This breathtaking pond is fringed in lilies, irises and a variety of rushes for a naturalistic look.
Weathered teak furniture seems to melt into the garden, near stone stairs that lead down from the terrace to the lawn. Rhubarb and thyme are tasty additions, while lavender and choisya (or Mexican orange, far left) are fragrant.
Stewartia trees and tailored boxwoods are formal touches near the house, but mounds of flowers planted among the stepping stones around the pool convey a loose, country feel and the sweet white blooms almost resemble a dusting of snow.