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Coastal Gardening Ideas – How to Start Your Seaside Garden

When you try coastal gardening, the biggest challenge you can face is the salinity of the soil. The soil salinity or salt level can often be a deterrent for the growth of many plants. Intolerance to high levels of salt is common among most plants.

If you delve deeper, you will find that the sodium in salt draws the moisture out of plants and burns its roots. However, if you choose tolerant plant varieties, they can help you have a productive vegetable garden by the sea.

Adding plenty of organic matter and protecting your plants from salty spray with a roof cover or hedge of tolerant plants can also be helpful. If you put in a little more effort and planning into your garden, you can also grow vegetables on the coast similar to the inland.

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Conditions to Consider for Coastal Gardening

Conditions to Consider for Coastal Gardening

You will face unique challenges while planning seaside landscaping. The presence of strong winds, shifting soil, poor sandy soil, storms (or hurricanes), or salty spray needs to be in your consideration set. All these can prove to be detrimental to your garden.

Plants that can thrive under such conditions and have the strength to endure adversity should be part of your garden. You should plan to have strong barriers to protect your garden from nature's adversities.

A great way to gauge such conditions can be to refer to the weather radar data for the area. If you plan to have a garden for your coastal house on North Myrtle Beach, you can check the weather radar in Myrtle Beach.


These will help you to understand their average temperature, rainfall in the area.

Fundamentals of a Seaside Garden 

Fundamentals of a Seaside Garden

As discussed above, planning a coastal garden should have a strong barrier. You can use a tight hedge of tough shrubs that will help you to face the worst conditions. 

The shrubs can bravely face salt spray and strong wind. Firethorn can be your top pick for this purpose as it can help create an evergreen and secure boundary. 

Other good choices to protect your seaside garden can be bayberry and plum. These shrubs will not discolor or shrink due to salt spray.

There are other options if your house is away from the sea, where salt spray is not the devil, but the wind is. Elderberry, inkberry holly, or chokecherry can help provide adequate protection to your landscape.   

However, it is crucial to plant the shrubs at a proper distance to form a tight hedge. If your oceanfront property is a vacation home, garden maintenance becomes more challenging.

Therefore, it is ideal to have low-maintenance plants and shrubs which need pruning during the time of your visit. You can choose naturally-good-shaped plants to avoid frequent pruning needs.

Planning for a lawn is tricky for our seaside garden. It requires a minimum of 15 cm or 6 inches of topsoil over the sand before you can think about planting.

It is a clever choice to choose predominantly hard fescue seed mixes rather than Kentucky bluegrass. It is advisable to maintain the seaside lawns at a higher height than inland lawns.

Growing the grasses up to a height of 8 cm or 3 inches is ideal.

Coastal Garden Ideas

Coastal Garden Ideas

For coastal gardening, it is advisable to have native options more for both grasses and plants. Since these plants have accustomed to facing everything that nature throws at them, they are comparatively tough.

They also help to check erosion and control blowing sand. Sturdy ground covers should be a part of garden design. You can have juniper, english ivy, bearberry, heathers, or cotoneaster.

Organic matter such as compost should be part of the sandy soil before initiating plantation. Use of large planters and pots for perennials and annuals is advisable as they are incapable of growing in difficult soils.

It can grow well at a location that gets protection from ocean spray and wind. If your endeavor to maintain a coastal garden becomes a frustrating experience, then the landscape will soon turn dismal. 

If you plan for the coastal garden in advance and include appropriate seaside plants, with a dedicated time allotted to it, chances are you will not encounter any issues.

Growing Seaside Vegetables Using Raised Beds 

Growing Seaside Vegetables Using Raised Beds

A prevalent and useful method to grow vegetables in the coastal areas is to opt for raised beds. The raised beds are easy to cover to get protection from the salt spray and adopt the heat faster too.

It is easy to fill these beds with commercially available garden soil for raised beds. Such a composition will help to provide a low salt substrate for your garden plants.

Thus, helping you to provide a hospitable environment for the vegetable seedlings to thrive. The care which the seaside vegetables need is no different from those grown in other areas. 

You should arrange adequate water sources and align the beds to receive maximum sunlight. It will help you to have a better yield by increasing vegetable and fruiting production.

You can use a row cover to protect your bed and watch out for any pests.

Direct Plantation on Soils

It may happen that you have decided to use the existing soil for your garden. Under this scenario, you need to work in compost and dig down at least 23 cm or 9 inches.

This act of yours will help to increase the nutrient levels and drainage. Before you decide, on the plantation, water deeply to rinse down any trapped salt deeper into the earth. 

It is advisable to provide your plants with fresh water for at least a week so that salt percolation can take place. It will ensure that the salt is beyond the roots and does not cause any harm to them.

Start Your Coastal Gardening Today

So as you can see, maintaining a coastal gardening can be a tricky job. However, if you choose to have the right mix of plants and grasses for your seaside garden, you can do wonders.

You can choose to grow beets, asparagus, kale, or spinach. There you have it! Everything you need to know to start your coastal gardening. 

About the Author Lane Perry

Lane shares her knowledge and creative ideas with our audience at Sumo Gardener as an exterior decorator. She has previously worked as an exterior decorator on home renovation projects across the west coast USA, adapting to different environments for both large and small homes. When it comes to transforming your outdoor entertainment space or coming up with creative ways to enjoy your garden, Lane is our expert.

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