It’s almost the end of the summer holidays here in Scotland and I’m doing everything I can do hold on to them. A few weeks ago we repainted the kids playhouse to mimic the little beach huts we saw on holiday so the task now is to make the rest of the garden help us think of the beach!
In my mind, a beach themed garden isn’t about achieving a particular ‘look’ but rather the feel is important. A successful beach theme will evoke memories but not be in your face. In other words, I’m not about to be dragging giant buoys in for the corner of the deck!
That said, it’s easy to use beach ‘props’ in a less obvious and more child friendly ways. Obviously, we’ve started with a brightly painted play house and the kids have a sandpit to evoke memories of the beach. But I still think there’s plenty of scope to be a bit more subtle so here’s a few ideas:
1) Iron brazier
One of my happiest childhood beach memories is cooking sausages over camp fires. Gathering round the fire on a cold day was just magical – although you always had to be careful of stones spitting out of the fire! Having a central space – like this brazier – to gather round is a great way to mimic this as obviously an open fire is just not practical in a small garden.
I wouldn’t use one of these with smaller children around but with older ones? I think they’re just lovely.
Whether it’s the Blackpool illuminations or the traditional street lamps found along Brighton beach – there’s something that merges beaches and lighting for me. I wouldn’t go for little sparkly lights but big bulbs – like these festoon lights – strung between poles would be perfect for this.
It’s rare that we get to eat outside but even looking out on to the garden lit up is a treat! We try to reflect the garden in our living room as much as possible – firstly, by having lots of plants in pots around the place, but also by employing something like these Cox and Cox mirrors – to reflect as much of the outside as possible too.
Obviously, one of the most obvious ways to bring the beach to your garden is to use plants found at the seaside. Rosemary, Sea Holly, Cordylines, Thrift or Sea Lavender are all great bets and if you have a largely concrete garden like me – do really well in pots. Large pebbles can easily be added to pots to help evoke the seaside too or even could be placed around the base.
Another obvious way to add to the planting it to find pots in a material that hints at the beach. These could be brightly coloured, stone or even just look like something that has been washed up. I really like these aged zinc planters because they look like they could’ve been tarnished by a bit of sea water!
The most obvious piece of furniture for a beach themed garden is of course, a deckchair. These are great for relaxing with a cocktail but perhaps are not the most comfortable things for extended periods of time. I prefer stretching out on a lounger that’s got a bit more padding – but an easy nod towards deck chairs is just to employ stripes.
We’ve got a great range of seat cushions that we can bring out to make our basic furniture just look a bit more inviting. Whilst not strictly necessary, I find I’m more likely to stay somewhere for longer if I’m comfortable!
Our garden is of course, also littered with various plastic children’s toys and the lawn is largely occupied by a swing. Rather than attempting to fight this in any way I’ve think it’s best to go with the flow. After all, most decent beaches are festooned with brightly coloured buckets and spades anyway.
It’s also an excuse to get the ice cream on the go and enjoy the last of the summer holidays!
P.S. Each Friday I try to feature an original illustration by the wonderful Alison Soye – this Friday is no exception so be sure to check out her Instagram!
P.P.S. This is a collaborative post with Cox and Cox – I’m really thankful for their support!