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Landscape Ideas for the Beach

Keep landscaping simple for beach house settings.

The relaxed atmosphere and sounds of the surf make a beach house a refuge and getaway for family and friends. Entertaining is the norm when you have a beach house, so outdoor areas must have attractive areas for dining and gathering. Where the beach house is located limits the landscape ideas for plants. Select those plants that grow well in your region of the country.

1. Plant Selection

Plants for beach house settings must adapt to this particular kind of environment. They must be salt-tolerant if they are in coast areas and must grow well in sandy soils. Beach houses on freshwater lakes have a greater selection of plants, but these may need to be cold-hardy in northern areas. Palm varieties look good in beach landscapes in Florida and North Carolina but cannot grow in zones below USDA Hardiness Zone 7, according to SunPalmTrees. Beachgrass, saltwort, pine and birch suit coastal areas like Massachusetts. Avoid plants that grow or spread quickly that will need constant pruning or removal of debris. Choose plants that are native to the area for best chance of long-term survival as well as fewer maintenance requirements.

2.Softscapes

Softscapes are the live, horticultural elements in your landscape design. For a beach house landscape, curved beds give property a casual, relaxed feel yet hold plants neatly, according to University of Florida horticulturalist Gail Hansen. Vertical lines of tree plantings should break up long, horizontal structures of the house and provide shade for outdoor living areas. Bedding shapes can be added to break up large, uninteresting expanses. Use mulch and gravel instead of lawn grass for easy maintenance and low water usage. Lawn areas, if desired, should use native grasses or lower maintenance grasses suitable for the region of the country. Use the shapes and textures of plants like arborvitae or ferns to add interest.

3. Hardscapes

Hardscapes are areas in landscapes that do not contain plants but that contribute to the overall look of the property. Entry sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls and patios are all hardscape features that should contribute to the look of the property as a whole. Flagstone, pavers, concrete, gravel and stone are all hardscape materials used to separate garden and living areas and provide clean and organized surfaces for specific functions. Gravel gives beach houses a more relaxed look for surface areas than concrete but may be impractical for northern beach areas where snow removal is a concern. Pavers are used to make attractive walkways and driveways. Flagstone is a good look for pathways around beach homes, directing traffic throughout the property while maintaining a casual look.

4.Maintenance Features

Beach living is by its nature easy-care, and landscape ideas for beach houses should include research for plants that need the minimum of care. Make patio and other hardscape areas easy to clean with a simple washing with a hose.