Looking to achieve a coastal garden? With nearly 85% of the NSW population living within 50km of the coast, it’s easy to understand why people want to live by the beach. Fresh air, picturesque ocean views, and ruggedly handsome terrains, coastal living is depicted by its robust beauty and a laid-back lifestyle.

When it comes to defining your style, let it be known, a garden within close proximity to the ocean requires careful planning due to the persistent harsh and challenging weather conditions. Long, blisteringly hot summers and strong salty winds are in abundance, resulting in sandy and often rock laden soil that’s depleted of moisture and nutrients. Irrespective of this, introducing a robust planting plan, the right colour palette and a few sturdy materials, your garden will be ‘coastal’ picture-perfect, living its best sun-drenched and wind-swept life in no time.

ELEMENTS OF A COASTAL GARDEN

NAUTICAL COLOURS 

neutral colours in garden landscape

Photo Credit: Fiona Brockhoff

A coastal garden’s unwavering charm draws on a neutral colour palette that’s sympathetic to the ocean and its surrounding environment. Think hues of blue, washes of green, white, tones of brown, beige and silver foliage. It’s also not uncommon to see the occasional pop of accent colour. Pigments of burnt orange, red and cadmium yellow, reminiscent of an ocean sunrise can be known to feature in a coastal garden landscape.

MOVEMENT 

Modern landscape and deck design

Photo Credit: The CompleteHome

The fluidity of a beachside coastal garden mimics the ebb and flow of the tidal currents which help to form our jagged coastline. Such movement can be achieved by use of curved garden beds, sculptural plant forms and repetition. TIP: Try shaping shrubs to form a neat low-lying ball. Low story plants in tight balls will help to create rhythm and are great as wind-breakers.

PLANT PALETTE

steppers and blue chalksticks in garden

Photo Credit: Shades of Green Landscape Architecture

The profile of soil found in a coastal garden environment would typically be sandy, so a variety of low maintenance, drought-tolerant and robust plant species with characteristics of tough, leathery, waxy or even hairy foliage are to be considered.

Low Maintenance Succulents
Agave ‘blue glow’
Blue Chalk Sticks
Pig face

Plants and Shrubs
Coastal Rosemary
Saltbush
Agapanthus ‘Silver mist’
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’
Pittosporum Golf Balls

Ornamental grasses
Poa Grass

TIP: Identifying your properties ‘hardiness zones’ can be a good place to start. Plant hardiness zones factor in things like average minimum temperatures, altitude and proximity to the coast. Try contacting your local council for more information on site-specific planting zones and ask them to provide a plant list that is endemic to your region.

MATERIALS

garden landscape outdoor shower

Photo Credit: Donne Guyler

When it comes to defining your coastal garden style you’ll need materials that can withstand beach-side conditions, but also complete the look aesthetically. Think ‘weather look’ hardwood spotted gum for durability, UV resistant or heat reflecting colours and paints, as well as sturdy galvanised or powder coated steel. Sandstone blocks or steppers, pebbles, granite or natural stone can help to complete the ‘coastal’ look.

TIP: A coastal garden is not complete without an outdoor shower. Be sure to use a sturdy material that won’t rust, such as copper, brass, galvanised or stainless steel.

By introducing a handful of coastal landscaping applications, you’ll have more time to kick-back and spend more time by the beach, instead of tending to your garden.