Most of our clients at The Landscape Service live by the coast in Dorset, Hampshire, and the surrounding areas so we are not strangers to designing gardens in this location.
Coastal conditions can be extremely difficult to contend with. They can be very unpredictable, which means, for us plant lovers, it can be very difficult to choose the right plants and materials that will survive the coastal conditions.
Due to the location of the site, material selection is going to be a very important part of the process. When I picture a coastal garden, I imagine a rustic and naturalist space. Before you jump to select your paving choice you need to think which material is going to be durable in these conditions. You do not want to have damaged, eroded paving in a few months!
Yorkstone or Sandstone paving are a durable paving choice but will provide the coastal aesthetic that you are looking for. Decking is also a vastly used material throughout this style of garden and can be used to great effect. Using composite decking, created from recycled materials is a long lasting material compared to timber. Not to mention that it does look aesthetically pleasing within your schemes.
Rustic designing features are always good to explore when it comes to coastal garden designs. Reclaimed materials such as driftwood, sleepers, if used correctly have great impact on your outdoor space. For a more modern affect in a coastal garden design, you can consider using corten steel or purbeck stone walling. Water features are also a fantastic addition as this will provide the sound and aesthetic of the ocean in your garden. They also link the sea to the garden and act as a focal point.
Materials such as stainless steel should be avoided at all costs. Due to the salt, wind and rain, this material will start to rust within weeks. This could cause the material to leak rust over your hard landscaping and start to stain.
The planting design for a coastal garden can be tricky business. Plants can be very demanding and if you don’t plant them in the right place, in the right conditions then they will not thrive and will be destined to fail.
I have found that perennials are the type of plants that if planting in the wrong place will suffer more than shrubs and hedges. Therefore, I like to add a touch of shelter for these plants by using a Griselina littoralis hedge. This is a fantastic evergreen plant that will survive in any coastal situation and can provide fantastic screening for the property and planting. It also has interesting leaf shape and texture which is always a benefit when selecting a plant.
The my favourite coastal loving plants are Lavandula angustifolia, Hebe rakaiensis, ornamental grasses such as stipa tenuissima, miscanthus sinensis and perennials like Verbena bonariensis, Agapanthus africanus. As for trees, my two favourites are Acer pseudoplatanus and Sorbus aria.
If you follow all these key points, it will lead you to having a successful coastal garden.