Australian Natives For Your Coastal Garden Design

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Choosing the right materials for the Australian outdoors is a well-documented necessity when designing your garden. Materials and plants are tested further in coastal gardens as they’re likely to deteriorate up to three times faster. What’s less documented is what you should plant for longevity, beauty and hardiness to ensure a beautiful coastal garden for many years to come.  When we think of a beach garden there are some species that instantly spring to mind, but there are plenty that are equally beachy. To get a good idea of what is local or indigenous to your area, try contacting your local council for a list of plants are that are found in the coastal zones near you. 

Having adapted to survive extreme Australian growing conditions, native coastal plants are the essence of a beautiful, low maintenance coastal garden design. By incorporating natives into your design you not only ensure that the plants will handle the conditions, but also help to bring and sustain wildlife, like birds and bees from the area.  Here we look at which species capture the essence of a coastal garden the best.


The Pandanus is an iconic Australian beach plant that takes you straight to the beachside holiday you’re yearning for. Its sculptural trunk, thick prop roots, strappy palmy style leaves and large pineapple-like seedpods make it the perfect feature tree. There are multiple varieties available, depending on where you live, and it is best to get the one local to your area. These coastal classics are ideally suited to sandy and rocky soils and is adaptable to a range of inland soils as well. 

She-oak (Casuarina equisetifolia)

Another iconic Australian beachside tree is the she-oak, which is often found above the dunes. Being by the ocean is all about playing to the senses, and the She-Oak plays its part providing the iconic coastal whisper heard on a windy day at the beach. Growing to about 10 metres, they create a thick mulched layer below. They look great as a feature tree when their delicate features are allowed to shine, or planted in long lines.  

Plunkett Mallee (Eucalyptus curtisii)


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Gumtrees are an Australian staple, however the thought of planting a tree that will grow up to 45 metres high is the stuff of nightmares, especially with a big coastal southerly on the way. There are however plenty of Gum varieties that grow to a more manageable 10-15 meters which makes them excellent feature plants to provide shade. Plunkett Mallee is an attractive small gum tree that grows to seven metres and features beautiful white flowers. With simple plantings below them, gums can provide a nice structural element to a garden.

Angular pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens)

Feature trees are often the first thing that’s considered in garden design, however coastal grasses and ground covers are the first to grow in the dunes, and help to create an environment for the larger feature plants to establish. Pigface is a hardy succulent that loves to grows in sand and dry or rocky soil and has beautiful pink flowers. 

Grass trees (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii)


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Grass trees when planted in a large number give a striking, and very Australian look to a coastal garden. They’re well known as outback plants, but are also common in the eucalypt forests that follow the Australian coastlines. Like the others in this list they grow really well in sandy or rocky soils and when combined with others in this list give a very Australian feel to the garden.  

Coastal rosemary (Westringia fruticosa)

Available in many varieties, including dwarf varieties these great looking shrubs are best left in their naturally open loose ball shape, or still look fantastic when pruned to form a tighter ball. The westringia is a hardy plant that performs really well in a wide variety of conditions but is particularly suited to the coastal garden. The native species Westringia fruticosa has dense, fine leaves and small white flowers loved by native birds and other wildlife. 

For more advice on coastal garden design, planting or picking the right plants for your garden reach out via our contact form.