Updated: Sep 22, 2022
Landscape Design by the Sea requires careful consideration about planting selection.
Why? Because there are plants which are hardier than others which can tolerate environmental conditions such as wind and varied levels of salt.
Jargon relating to plants suitable for planting by the Sea
There are plants which are rated 1st line salt and 2nd line salt tolerant.
What does this mean?
1st Line Salt or Front Line Salt refers to fully exposed positions by the Sea.
Plants suitable for the 'Front Line', are generally very hardy, able to withstand the salt laden winds, sandy soil and erosive salt air experienced by the sea.
Front line salt is generally within 100m of the sea.
These 'salty soldiers' have built in protection!
These plants usually have thick leaves and stems, many have hairs which act like a shield for the plant, taking the brunt of the wind and the salt.
Examples of First Line Salt Plants
Araucaria heterophylla - Norfolk Island Pines create an avenue along Manly Beach (initially planted in 1877 - although many failed )
Carpobrotus glaucescens - Pig Face cascades over a retaining wall on the walk from Manly to Shelly Beach
Other Aussie battlers standing strong against the force of Front line salt include;
Banksia integrifolia - Coast Banksia
Lagunaria patersonii - Norfolk Island Hibiscus
Agonis flexuosa - Weeping Myrtle
Westringia fruticosa - Coast Rosemary
Leptospermum laevigatum - Coast Tea Tree
2nd Line Salt refers to positions, one street back from the beach. In other words the position is considerably more protected than positions on the beach front.
These guys are still hardy, and should not be given a second thought, just because they are 2nd line salt tolerant.
These plants are just not quite as hardy as the 1st line salt plants.
In saying that, there is a way to help the 2nd line soldiers fight to survive on the beach. When they are accompanied by what is referred to as a 'Nurse Plant'.
Nurse Plants are front line salt tolerant plants which may be planted in front of 2nd line salt plants to protect them while they are young.
Once the plants have grown, become established and hardened, the 'Nurse Plants' may be removed from the stage to reveal the treasure which would not otherwise be able to withstand 1st line salt.
Wait! I hear you say ..... just plant a bigger plant! ..... It doesn't work that way!
Just like we apply sunscreen to protect our skin from our beautifully hot Aussie sun conditions, a plant learns best from young as it grows.
A larger plant grown in a nursery is a totally different environment to that of one street back from the beach.
In a nursery, the plant is not needing to adapt to salt laden winds unless the nursery is on the coast. ..... that's another discussion.....
So let's look at some 2nd line salt tolerant plants;
Examples of Australian 2nd Line Salt Plants
Philotheca myoporoides - Wax Flower
Myoporum parvifolium - Creeping Boobialla
Grevillea lanigera Mt Tambouritha - Prostrate Woolly Grevillea
Ceratopetalum gummiferum - NSW Christmas Bush
Flindersia australis - Australian Teak
Allocasuarina littoralis - Black She Oak
Melaleuca linariifolia - Snow in Summer
Having the right plant in the right place increases it's chance to thrive, create beauty or even shade and a beautiful environment for our people.
Written by Linda Taneja - Director of Soul Design Pty Ltd
(Landscape Designer, Horticulturalist and Florist)