Last Updated on March 31, 2016 by Mark Lavington
A combination of strong winds and salt air can create challenging conditions for growing plants in coastal gardens. If you’re wanting to add a dash of colour to brighten a dull plot or even help protect your garden from the elements with a natural windbreak, here’s some coastal gardens inspiration for your holiday cottage by the sea. These tips will ensure your plants enjoy being by the sea as much as you and your guests do…
If you’re heading to the beach for the day you’ll no doubt pack a picnic and a windbreak. Like us, plants also need shelter from prevailing coastal winds.
Shoreline windbreaks can commonly be seen in the form of wooden posts and fencing, or certain varieties of trees and bushes.
If you’re starting a coastal garden from scratch make sure you create a windbreak or shelterbelt before adding smaller plants that require more protection.
Some experts say the best garden windbreak depends on the design rather than the plants, but here are a few types of bushes and trees that can create a natural barrier…
- Italian alder (Alnus cordata) / Grey Alder (Alnus incana) — fast growing tree that can thrive even in dry soils
- Sea buckthorn (Hippophae) — deciduous shrub known for its bright orange berries
- Beach rose (Rosa rugosa) — scented, summer flowering shrub
- Populus robusta — fast growing, narrow, leafy tree
The location of your holiday home will affect how prosperous your plants are by the sea; some will thrive in colder coastal areas whilst others will prosper in milder spots of the UK.
If your holiday cottage is in the north of the country you’ll want trees and plants which can cope with the wind and cooler conditions.
These can include: Alnus glutinosa (common alder), Salix alba (white willow), Salix caprea (willow), Carpinus betulus AGM (hornbeam), Berberis (Barberry), Mahonia, Sambucus (elderberry), Viburnum.
Holiday cottage with coastal gardens further south? You’re likely to benefit from milder temperatures, allowing plants to flourish all year round without being affected by harsh frosts.
A warmer climate brings with it a larger variety of suitable plants.
These include: Dichroa febrifugia, Gazania, Alyssum, Acacia dealbata, Colutea arborescens, Acca sellowiana (pineapple guava), Dodonea viscosa ‘Purpurea’.
If you live a good distance from your holiday home then you’ll also have to consider which plants are suitable for you to grow and manage. Avoid potted plants and containers, along with fast growing hedges and plants, which will require frequent pruning (and cost if you employ a professional gardener to tender to your garden).
Although your options will be more limited, there are plants that require minimal upkeep, allowing you and your guests to enjoy the pleasure of a garden without any arduous ongoing maintenance.
Consider ground-covering plants such as Hypericum (St John’s Wort), Liriope muscari, and Convallaria majalis Pink (Lily of the Valley).
Perhaps your holiday cottage only has a small garden, but acts as a natural suntrap. If so, a rock garden is a great way of livening up a quiet corner.
Rock gardens can be as simple or complicated as you want to make them. The best time to construct a rock garden is during autumn and winter, giving you plenty of time before planting them in spring.
Perk up a dull wall
Wanting to add some colour to the exterior walls of your garden or cottage? Brighten them up by planting a climbing plant such as clematis, which is available in a variety of colours.
Not only is it great for camouflaging a dull looking wall or fence, when left to its own devises it will still flourish every year!
Don’t forget your garden when insuring your holiday home
For those owners who may have got carried away with landscaping your coastal gardens it’s important to ensure that your holiday home insurance is wide enough to cover additions such as statues, hot tubs, patios, hedges, fences, walls, driveways, paths, terraces and garden furniture. it is also important to ensure that your sums insured are sufficient to cover their reinstatement following an insured peril.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.