Cornwall has the most amazing coastline. If you’re lucky enough to have a home with a view like this or live within walking distance of the coast, then your garden will feel the impact of being so close to the sea.
Creating a beautiful garden in Cornwall that will not just survive but thrive in a coastal location is both an opportunity for an innovative design but also a challenge. Whether your new garden is in Falmouth or St. Mawes on the sheltered south coast, or whether it is in Padstow or St. Ives on the more exposed north coast, with the right plants and materials you can achieve a beautiful, environmentally friendly garden that will look wonderful all year round.
1. Know Your Geology
The type of bedrock that is beneath your home and garden will determine the type of soil you have, which will in turn affect the types of plants that will succeed in your garden. Also, the presence of underground springs and the type of bedrock will influence land erosion and slippage.
2. Know Your Soil
In some locations the soil in your garden may contain a high concentration of sand. It will therefore be very free draining and low in nutrients which will have been washed away.
In other locations, where there is granite bedrock the resulting soils will be rich in clay. For plants to thrive in these heavy soils compost and grit will need to be dug in to open up the soil structure.
3. Wind Driven Rain
Coastal rainwater contains salt. Salt water is more dense and so heavier than tap water. High winds and heavy water corrodes masonry coatings on walls and batters delicate plants. High performance weather coatings with a minimum life span of 20 years are recommended to reduce maintenance of hard landscaping. Tough, weather resistant plants are required if they are to survive in these exposed conditions.
4. Bolt it Down
Or failing that, have somewhere you can store garden furniture during stormy weather. Parasols and sail shades need to be safely stowed away when not in use. It’s easy to underestimate the power of the wind if you haven’t had a coastal garden before.
5. Create Shelter Belts
Tall fences and walls create turbulence which is uncomfortable for people and plants alike. Slatted fences offer better protection from the wind and allow newly planted vegetation to establish itself.
6. Avoid Wind Rock
In a newly planted garden winter storms will batter young plants which have yet to establish a comprehensive root system. If planting up a garden in autumn, it is a good idea to cut new plants back to half their size so reducing wind rock and encouraging strong root growth.
For more advice on garden design in Cornwall please get in contact.
My name is Christina Sullivan. I am a garden designer at Green Shoots Design based outside Truro, Cornwall. I combine my experience and knowledge of designing gardens in this wonderful county to create beautiful, environmentally friendly gardens.
Tel: 07862 29562