Tips for creating a coastal garden

Being situated in Somerset means there’s plenty of sea breeze, sand and summer sunshine to be had on the coast, writes our gardening expert and top chef, John.

Great if you’re a tourist visiting the area or you’re simply going for a walk along the seafront and enjoying the view but for people with gardens close to the sea, it can be a bit of a challenge.

The salt, gales and sand can cause problems in coastal locations. We’ve put together a couple of tips for gardeners based near the seaside like us:

• Use screens to protect young plants from the full force of winds. You can use fencing, wind-breaking material attached to fencing posts or other types of slatted screening.

• Make sure your soil is well-prepared. To help with coastal gardening, you can add a multi-purpose compost, well-rotted manure or green waste. This will help to improve the structure of the soil and increase the quantity of moisture and nutrients it can hold.

• Help conserve soil moisture and keep weeds down by mulching with bark.

• Make sure all trees and large shrubs are securely fastened down

• Always choose varieties of plant that are much more vigorous than you need as they will then have the vigour to develop but won’t get to the size they would in a sheltered garden.

• Choose very dwarf varieties as they can thrive beneath the wind.

• Use garden features such as Arches and Arbours to help provide shelter.

• It’s also a good idea to use ‘living defence’ against strong winds.

Feathered trees or conifers are great for this. Build your green army using Acer, Salix and Crataegus (thorn). You could also consider Conifers such as Cupressus macrocarpa and all types of pines including the dwarf varieties. Meanwhile, shrubs might include: Euonymus ovatus, Sambucus, Atriplex, Hebe, Senecio, Escallonia, Pyracantha and Ulex (gorse).