Looking to turn your yard into a whimsical, romantic space? These rose garden ideas are for you.
Complementing cottage garden ideas perfectly, roses have a timeless charm and beauty that makes them hard to resist. So rather than limiting yourself to just one or two rose bushes, why not center a patio or garden zone around these show-stoppers – the resulting scene will be full of impact and a joy to spend time in.
'When choosing to create a rose garden, there really is so much variety and something for everyone, whatever your outside space and garden conditions might dictate,' says Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire's Garden Centres (opens in new tab).
You may want to choose your varieties of roses specifically for their blooms, their ease to grow, their fragrance, or for attracting pollinators. Perhaps you're looking for a mix of climbers and bedding varieties. 'There are lots of factors,' says Sarah.
With a rose garden, you can combine all your favorites to create a flower-filled haven. These ideas will get you inspired for your own.
Create an enchanting outdoor space with these 10 rose garden ideas
With roses care more straightforward than many people think, a rose garden isn't too tricky to achieve, and the results can be mesmerizing.
1. Turn your patio into a pretty and pink rose garden
To elevate a cottage garden patio, try planting roses all around the borders.
Opt for compact climbers in large containers and train them along the surrounding fences. That way, they will cocoon your seating area with their delicate scent and provide a beautiful backdrop for relaxing or entertaining outdoors.
Sarah recommends 'Emily Bronte', 'Gertrude Jekyll', 'Desdemona', and 'Eustacia VyeIf' for planting near a seating area or close to the house due to their exquisite fragrance and stunning blooms.
Pick classic rattan-style furniture and soft textiles that complement the colors of your roses to pull the scene together harmoniously.
2. Grow roses vertically for added drama
Making the most of the vertical space in a backyard with planting always draws the eye and adds instant impact. And with rambling and climbing types of roses, it's easy to achieve.
There are all sorts of climbing plant supports that you can use in your rose garden – from pretty obelisks to romantic archways.
'This year I planted "Strawberry Hill" on two obelisks and I am delighted with how well they have performed in their first year,' says Sarah. 'They are very healthy and robust.'
3. Create a fragrant canopy as a central feature of your rose garden
Speaking of vertical space, a pergola or gazebo is always a lovely addition to a rose garden.
These overhead structures will provide a striking focal point while offering shelter from the sun. You can train roses up the sides and over the top for a fragrant canopy, and even mix in other climbing plants, such as the purple clematis shown here, for an informal and abundant look.
Position a dining set or outdoor sofa beneath for a gorgeous 'garden room' that will become your new favorite spot in no time.
4. Color block your rose bushes for impact
At RHS Garden Rosemoor (opens in new tab), roses have been planted in waves of color for a striking effect. Planting varieties en masse in this way always creates drama and high impact, so if you've got the space, why not give it a go?
You could choose a palette of pastels, jewel-like tones, or hot pinks and corals – whatever garden color scheme suits your taste. And if you love the look but want to keep costs down, learning how to take rose cuttings is an easy way to get lots of new plants for free.
5. Opt for a traditional look with topiary hedging
Although rose gardens are perfectly suited to relaxed, cottage-style schemes, they can also adopt a more formal layout.
Neatly-clipped topiary hedges are a classic way to define edges of borders from pathways, as demonstrated here. The look is timeless and not too tricky to achieve with a pair of sharp garden shears. Adding small garden arches is an attractive way to create accents.
6. Combine your roses with soft cottage-style planting
'Roses used to be grown in beds devoted just to roses,' says Sarah. 'That was certainly the way my grandfather grew his roses. These days, we tend to grow roses with companion planting.'
Adding your favorite cottage garden plants around your roses will create a soothing tapestry of color, scent, and texture. Opt for deep beds navigated by laidback, weaving pathways, as seen above. A bench, statue, or water feature can make a beautiful focal point.
'Lavender works particularly well, as does a host of perennials,' says Sarah. 'Climbers look great paired with clematis, honeysuckle, or trachelospermum.
'However, roses do like to have good air circulation, so for healthy plants don't crowd them too much,' she adds.
7. Create different levels of planting
Whatever size your rose garden is, for a truly full and sumptuous display, it's worth considering how to bring blooms to every level.
As there are so many different varieties of roses, it's quite easy to do so. A rambler could be used to cover a garden wall, for instance – while a potted patio or standard rose in front will provide interest lower down.
'For a large wall, "The Generous Gardener" is fabulous,' says Sarah. 'The clue is in the name. It bears lots of wonderful peachy-pink flowers, but it does need a lot of space.'
8. Take in the view of your rose garden from a bench
Every rose garden needs some sort of seating to enjoy the view from. Sure, there are lots of comfy garden sofas and loungers available, but you can't go wrong with a simple garden bench for that classic look.
Sink it into a border, with roses and other cottage garden plants all around to fill the air with fragrance. It'll make the perfect spot to while away a sunny afternoon with a cup of tea and a good book.
9. Make an impressive entrance to your rose garden
First impressions always count, so set the scene for your rose garden ideas by creating a dramatic entrance.
Covering the walkway into your rose-filled space with more roses is a beautiful way to do so. These columns make an impressive impact, but you could opt for simple metal arches instead – a lovely look for a cottage garden path.
Don't forget to add a pretty garden gate at the end of your walkway too, to help define the zone.
10. Surround standard roses with billowing perennials
Standard roses have a traditional yet playful aesthetic with their lollipop-like form and make great accents to a rose garden border.
Surrounding them with soft, ground cover plants, such as this billowing nepeta, will blend them into the landscaping of your rose garden beautifully and bring extra color to the mix – or pick a plant in a similar hue for a soothing result.
How can you attract wildlife to your rose garden?
Rose gardens aren't just lovely for gardeners. They can be great for pollinators, too, while in fall, many birds enjoy feasting on the shiny, red rosehips. This makes them ideal for adding to wildlife garden ideas.
'We are regularly asked about plants and roses specifically that attract bees and can act as pollinators, and it is good to hear this influences customers’ plant selections,' says Sarah.
'"Lark Ascending", "Tottering By Gently", and "Golden Celebration" all make perfect rose selections to attract and support nature in the garden. One of my favorites is the climber "Simple Life" with pale pink open single flowers.'
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.