I was born and grew up beside the sea in East Yorkshire. Although I have washed up here in Bedfordshire about as far away from the sea as I could be, I have a strong desire to return to live beside the sea eventually.
Creating a garden beside the sea is also a long held dream though not the easiest of design projects to undertake. Strong, salt-laden winds can burn tender foliage. Planting a windbreak and choosing the right plants within its shelter will be very important factors in the design of a seaside garden. Last summer I visited a stunning contemporary garden right on the estuary of the river Exe which has turned this challenge into a work of art. It is called The lookout and is the work of Jackie Michelmore and can be visited in June each year as part of the National Garden Scheme www.ngs.org
If you are looking for inspiration then this garden has it in bucket and spadefuls!The style is very informal with beach combing finds mixed in amongst naturalistic borders. shelter was created by planting hundreds of native trees and shrubs.
The site used to be a 1920’s mussel purifying station and the walls have been used to create a beautiful mediterranean-style courtyard around the swimming pool with an outdoor kitchen for summer BBQ’s. The planting palette is textural rather then bright with lots of grasses and leaves with interesting shapes and textures. This means that the stunning position overlooking the estuary is enhanced by the garden rather than the planting serving as a distraction.
There is a beautiful wildflower meadow too with winding paths leading to a far-reaching view down the estuary to the sea.I now have a base in East Devon myself and make regular visits, developing the west country branch of Outerspaces Garden Design.