Coastal Garden

A Coastal Garden in Swanage


High above the bay, sits a new, superbly designed contemporary house with views of the sea from all the upstairs living areas; a sloping garden lies on the inland side of the building.  The owners want a beautiful garden to look at, which is easy to look after and will complement their striking new home.

The usual coastal conditions of salt laden air and gusting winds applied, but in addition the soil was virtually solid clay and this needed some careful consideration.  The site had once been quarried and the ground had never been cultivated for domestic purposes.

Minimal maintenance was high on the list, as was easy access when walking in the garden and they were very keen to have plenty to see from inside the house, during the winter months.


Although clay is very fertile and high in nutrients, it’s nigh impossible to work with, unless it has been thoroughly cultivated over a long period of time with masses of organic material, sand and grit.  So we decided not to disturb the clay, instead the design focused on raised, oak beds, filled with top quality eco-soil.  Paths of natural stone paving slope gently and wind their way around the garden, with an elevated seating area that can also be reached by shallow, wide steps.  

To heighten the feeling of being near the sea, we planted into shingle, adding some larger sea-washed pebbles here and there.  These plants thrive in the salty air and were chosen to ensure there is always something in flower throughout the seasons.  The different grasses sway in the breeze and make a lovely connection with the surrounding countryside.

The clients had brought some artefacts from their previous garden, including a particularly lovely, rocking chair, all of which were included in the new design.

These are some of the plants we used:
Anemanthele  –  Agapanthus  –  Cotoneaster  –  Echinops  –  Erigeron  –  Eupatorium  –  Geranium – Penstemon  –  Perovskia  –  Sedum  –  Cotoneaster  –  Olearia  –  Ozothamnus  –  Pennisetum –  Phormium  –  Pittosporum  –  Roses  –  Rosemary  –  Stachys  –  Teasel  –  Wisteria

The ‘after’ pictures were taken in the first 18 months of the garden.

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