Posted: 22/01/2016 at 10:30
I'm afraid I'm not a fan of pyracantha, it is very, very spiny and needs regular trimming to keep it under control. It's far to dense to grow clematis in and would make it very difficult to prune the clematis. But the birds love the berries.
I'm also not a fan of Parthenocissus, or Virginia Creeper, it can be very vigourous and must be kept off the roof. I hate heights! A previous owner of my house planted it and I just can't get rid of it. It's now growing in the vegetable garden the other side of the house.
I much prefer climbing hydrangeas, clematis and climbing roses. The last two would need tying onto a support such as wires on eyelets screwed into the wall, or a trellis. They look more cottage gardeny too. Look up clematis on this site which gives lot of information. http://www.taylorsclematis.co.uk/ and look up roses on theses sites. http://www.classicroses.co.uk/ http://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/
Classic cottage gardens don't have lawns, or very little - but I think a lawn sets off the plants nicely. But if the lawn is in curves, rather than straight lines and sharp corners it looks softer and more cottagy.
Aubretia is lovely spilling over walls and paths, but it will only be in flower early in the year. Other plants could take over for later. There is a huge choice of perennials, I think it would help if you could buy a book about them and how to plant a cottage garden. It's too soon to do much outside anyway so winter can be used for research. Study the Internet and look up plants and garden styles on Google.
Lupins are very easy to grow from seed but if you sow them this year they will be gorgeous next year. Beware of slugs and snails, they love them. There are many different varieties of plants like hardy geraniums, salvias, veronicas, nepeta etc. Search for them with Google.
Have a look in the garden centres. Note the names of plants you like and plants on seed packets then go home and look them up on Google to get more information about growing conditions. The photos on seed packets and in publicity are often better than in real life! They are trying to sell them!
Don't make it too formal with lots of clipped shrubs. Box balls look nice in pots by the front door or in a corner for contrast. DON'T plant Leylandii, they grow enormous very fast and if you prune into old wood that bit stays brown and ugly. Lavenders are nice, for sun, they don't like heavy clay. Perovskia are lovely too, but some can get a bit floppy.
I don't really think anything clashes much when there is green in between from foliage. And if one plant flowers early and another late in the season it doesn't matter if they clash as they won't be out together.
You need a bit of contrast from the leaves, like Hemerocallis (day lily) with long pointy leaves with Alchemilla Mollis with it's rounder leaves. Alchemilla will spill over the path but can seed itself a lot so you need to cut off the dead flowers. The leaves are pretty after rain as the droplets sit on them.