Turn your Mediterranean garden into a seaside dream
(abr. version of German original; translation by Riviera Insider Magazine)
A beach house is the ultimate dream of living on the Côte d’Azur, but even those who have to settle for a sea view alternative a few kilometres inland can still inject the feeling of summer, sun and salt on the skin into their backyard with a special beach garden.
If you are one of the lucky ones who own a real seaside garden, there are a few things you need to consider. The summer heat and dry soil put a strain on foreign plants. Winter too can be a challenge as heavy storms and winds carrying salty air can make for difficult growing conditions. It is key to choose the right plants.
Regardless of your garden’s location, though, beach gardens are particularly low-maintenance. Many aspects making a conventional garden hard to cultivate are not a problem. Fruit trees, herbaceous borders and fruit and vegetables are generally not the right options if you’re living close to sea, but they do not make for a beach garden feel anyway.
Sand and big chunks of driftwood are excellent materials for your beach paradise and so are large, warm-coloured rocks. Pierre rocaille is reminiscent of coral reefs and the Caribbean. The rustic and open-pore stones are not only an ideal eye catcher, you can also use them to wall off different areas, create water gardens or pile up and plant rocky hills, which can serve as your property line and give you a sense of privacy.
Wooden planks in the look of a jetty or a beach walkway are perfect to frame your seaside garden pool. Slightly skewed, low fences made out of rugged wood set highlights and help secure your property. A bit of spanned sailcloth here and there creates shading zones and is sturdier than traditional parasols. Along with rustic ropes or maybe even a little bar, it may well make you feel like you are on a Tahitian beach or Necker Island!
Now your easy-care open-air summer paradise is only missing its plant life. What will be the perfect fit?
Well, you have to make a basic style choice: Do you want the rather barren Californian-Australian-Mediterranean look or the lusher Caribbean-Cuban-Floridian alternative with giant leaves and gaudy blossoms? For now, we’ll stick with the rather sparse option, as it is best compatible with the area’s native plants.
Palm trees, of course, are essential or no Robinson Crusoe will want to get lost in your beachside garden. Phoenix canariensis, trachycarpus, washingtonia or maybe even coconut trees – they are all happy along the Côte d’Azur. Or how about chamaerops, sabal or areca? Surrounded by some sand and decorative stones, they will all look stunning in your beach garden.
By the way, new research shows that your palm trees can benefit from a beauveria bassiana fungus therapy, which serves as a vaccination against palm weevils and moths.
Eucalyptus trees seem the natural choice for your garden, but watch out, they drain lots of water from your soil and some kinds litter their surroundings with leaves and bark. They go well with casuarinas or cupressus macrocarpa, should your garden be located on the high coast and you like the Californian look. Pinus radiate and pinus torrerayana would only add to this ambiance.
In terms of bushes, many dodonaea species serve as a great alternative to the more common oleander.
Grevillea and callistemons are a good choice – not least for their style and their positive effect on bees. They are an all-year-round stunner and come in different shapes, forms and sizes – shrubby, natural or well-groomed. Hakeas are a good match and they also throw ample shade, mirroring the looming pine trees.
Many kinds of melaleuca yield the same effect as callistemons. Especially, the melaleuca nesophia will be the centre of attention, when planted close to your bar.
As a shrubby hedge along your property, the juniperus conferta is the perfect choice. It makes a great alternative to rosemary, which is also prone to the seaside climate.
Many other species will feel at home in your beach garden, though it should never be too crowded. It should be light and natural and void of any symmetry. Large sandy areas are of the essence for shadows to play on them – and to leave enough space for a game of beach volleyball to warm up before a BBQ.