Coastal Landscaping Ideas


Coastal landscaping creates a beach atmosphere with simple furniture, beach-themed accessories and hardy, but beautiful, plants. The elements of a coastal landscape should be down-to-earth and carefree.


  • Hardscape refers to permanent areas of a landscape, like decks, patios and walkways. Build a raised deck that will extend the view toward the beach and ocean. Add wooden walkways through the garden area and over the dunes. Or use gravel for paths and a sitting area in the garden.


  • Use simple wooden or plastic furniture that is easy to clean, such as Adirondack chairs, loungers and tables. Choose furniture that is heavy enough to withstand strong winds without turning over or lightweight furniture that can be stored easily during a storm.


  • Use items associated with coastal activities, like old boats, rusty anchors, and used ropes and nets, to accentuate the beach atmosphere. Pick up shells, driftwood and polished sea glass to place around the garden. Sculptures or other replicas of pelicans, seagulls, lighthouses and boats are attractive and interesting.


  • Create a windbreak between the beach and the garden with a line of white pine (Pinus parviflora) or eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginicus) bordered with rugosa roses or bayberry (Myricus sp.). Use grasses and other plants that will sway in the breeze, such as American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), weeping love grass (Eragrostis curvula), or tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa).


  • Salt, wind and dry, sandy soil are part of true coastal landscapes-areas that are actually located on the coast. Use windscreens of plants or fencing to deflect the wind and salt spray. Add compost, peat moss or composted manure to the planting hole when setting out plants to provide a better growing environment.

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