A seaside-inspired garden can be challenging, but these easy ideas will help you create a stunning shoreline sanctuary.
Your seaside garden can face many challenges. Gale-force winds, salty air, bright light and poor soil can all make it tricky to establish and maintain . But with the right plants and thoughtful design, you can create a flower-filled beachside haven that’s nautical – and very nice.
1. Choose the right plants
The plus points of coastal growing are that maritime plants tend to be drought-tolerant and untroubled by pests and diseases. Plus, with a reduced risk of frost, there’s scope to grow plants that are borderline hardy. Stunning wildflowers, such as low-growing pink thrift (Armeria maritima) and blue-flowered sea lavender (Limonium latifolium) will beautifully embellish a coastal garden.
Other seaside stars include sea kale (Crambe maritima), which has edible young leaves and shoots with honey-scented white flowers in summer. Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare), has tall, blue-purple flower spikes that attract bumblebees, butterflies and moths. For a wider palette, add plants from warmer climates, such as rock rose (Cistus), santolina, cordyline and yucca. Sun-worshipping herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) will also thrive.
2. Seaside garden with a coastal vibe
For a seaside garden, instead of the traditional lawn, choose materials such as decking, gravel and shingle. Cockle shells are another option – their creamy buff colour makes a lovely foil for plants and is a slug deterrent. You won’t find shells in garden centres, but they can be ordered online. You can plant direct into gravel or shingle – just lay a weed-suppressing membrane underneath and cut through. Another option is to incorporate raised beds – upcycled pallets or railway sleepers look the part, as do galvanised metal tubs and agricultural feed troughs.
3. Protect from the elements
Create privacy, and shelter from the wind and sun, with reed screening panels or willow hurdles around boundaries or seating areas. An evergreen hedge will act as a filter for strong winds – try New Zealand privet (Griselinia littoralis), a salt-tolerant shrub with apple-green glossy leaves. Or go for Rosa rugosa ‘Rubra’, which has scented pink flowers in summer and scarlet hips in winter. And when the sun gets too hot, retire to a cool corner shaded by a canvas sail or parasol.
4. Keep it bright and breezy
A group of containers in a sunny corner is an easy way to bring the seaside home. Use weathered wooden boxes lined with hessian or tin cans painted in jaunty shades of yellow and blue. Plant them up with herbs like basil, or succulents such as purple aeonium and sempervivum. Nautical accessories – anything from hurricane lanterns to lobster pots – will finish the look.
Then sit back with a cool glass of something delicious to enjoy the view – and don’t forget your sunscreen!