If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast then this may just be the garden for you. Big, tough palms, flaxes and cabbage trees along with flashes of bright colour.
For a more exotic look add some of the larger Aloes and Agaves along with the odd Dracaena or Yucca. A coastal garden being much like their arid origins they’ll thrive here along with the Ponytail Palm, Beaucarnea recurvata. A good planting of mesembryanthemum will add colour between the plants and in less windy spots plant hibiscus bushes for colour.
To create the perfect coastal garden you’re going to need tough plants that can withstand salt-spray, wind, sun, drought and whatever else nature throws at them.
Of course one can’t consider a coastal garden without several native cabbage trees and flaxes. Look for unusual varieties (wider leaves and better colouring) for a more attractive planting. A full size or smaller hybrid Metrosideros (Pohutukawa or New Zealand Christmas Tree) would be a welcome addition as are tough grasses. Here you can’t beat some of the more colourful Pampas grasses.
For coastal palm trees you’ll want species that can tolerate the elements so consider Kentia, Howea forsteriana, Jelly Palms, Butia capitata, Mediterranean Fan Palms, Chamaerops humilis and blue-grey Date Palms, Phoenix dactylifera. The clustering Senegal Date Palm, Phoenix reclinata is also rather tough and with age becomes a striking feature plant.
Less common but worthy of note due to its tough grey leaves is the Palmetto Palm; either the trunking Sabal palmetto or the dwarf Sabal minor.
In areas without excessive salt-spray you might wish to try Washingtonia robusta or the Australian fan palms; Livistona australis and Livistona decipiens.
Finally, a Cardboard ‘Fern’ cycad, Zamia furfuracea, is perfectly suited to coastal conditions in warmer parts.