Gardening: Fancy your own garden by the sea? Here’s how you can get the look

Make waves in your backyard, with breezy seaside plants and themed accessories, writes Hannah Stephenson.

With seaside tours looking likely this summer, you can find inspiration in the gardens along the coast, from wind-resistant plants to the charming accessories gardeners have added.

Marcus Eyles, Horticultural Director of Dobbies Garden Centers (, says: “Plants in coastal gardens need to be resistant to salt, sun and wind. colored.

“Turn challenges into opportunities, working with the natural landscape by choosing coastal plants native to the region.

“Improving the overall appearance of the space, they will feel right at home in the seaside gardens, happily growing in temperamental conditions,” Eyles adds. “Depending on the location, the heat from the sea can protect against frost, so softer plants can be grown in these areas.”

Eyles offers you the following tips to give your garden a seaside feel …

Sea Breeze Plant Selections

Sea Holly (eryngium): Making a bold statement, these thorny plants grow upright and last a long time. With striking thistle-shaped flowers, they prefer a sunny location and dry, well-drained soil. They are also very popular with bees and butterflies.

Mexican Orange Blossom (choisya): These tall, bushy plants are hardy shrubs, with shiny green leaves and white flowers. They are low maintenance and grow well in full sun, making them an ideal choice for coastal gardens.

Elaeagnus: A good option for creating a border, this shrub can grow quickly, performing well if you want to add some privacy and have a space large enough to accommodate it. With small, fragrant flowers hidden among the foliage, she will thrive in full sun and withstand salty breezes.

Sea thrift (armeria): Adding a pretty pop of color with dark pink foliage, sea thrifts are a charming addition to coastal gardens. A versatile plant that’s easy to grow and the long flowering season – April through August – will brighten up your outdoor space. You will often see these flowers along coastal paths and atop cliffs, confirming them as the first choice for an authentic coastal garden.

Griselinia: Another good choice for a garden hedge, this evergreen shrub will survive windswept winds, acting as a barrier to other plants. Garden birds will be attracted to the small purple fruits produced in the fall.

Ornamental grasses: Regular along British beaches, grasses will add height, structure and extra protection against windy conditions. Varieties we recommend include Calamagrostis arundinacea and Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’, which has variegated foliage.

Malva or Lavatera (Mallow): Great for attracting birds and butterflies, with large, open flowers rich in nectar, they can grow in a variety of soil types, from well-drained soils to heavy, sandy clay soils.

Perovskia (Russian sage): With gorgeous clusters of lavender-colored flowers that bloom from mid-summer to fall, this plant is drought and salt tolerant. They can grow up to 3 feet tall, adding height and interest to gardens. You can plant them alone or in groups for more impact.

Kniphofia (red hot poker): With green foliage and red, orange and yellow flowers, these will bring a touch of exoticism. They can withstand exposed or sheltered conditions and prefer well-drained soil. The flowers will display for a long time and are popular with butterflies.

Pittosporum: Slow-growing, with lightly fragrant white and yellow flowers and glossy leaves, this tall shrub makes another good windbreak in coastal gardens. A low maintenance option, they just need an occasional pruning and well-drained soil to keep them looking their best.

Wavy coastal design

For a laid back, laid back coastal garden look, incorporate weathered wood, pebbles, and rounded gravel into the design scheme.

Use smart planting to create windbreaks, with massive plantings of evergreen shrubs.

Plant school grasses to allow the wind to create movement in the tall stems, and use perennial flowers in bold groups of complementary colors, with soft undertones of creamy lilac and lavender purple foliage.

Ship accessories

Garden accessories can be used to give a seaside nod. Add a selection of nautical striped cushions, throws and a selection of recycled glass bottles and lanterns in navy blue tones. Layering the space with a few finishing touches will soften the overall look.

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