The Coastal Garden

Designer: James Purdy

House image
Watch Walkthrough Video

About the garden

The Coastal Garden

This east-facing garden is inspired by the Irish coast but will suit any location.

‘This garden is designed to be robust and will tolerate arid and windy conditions that are typical in coastal locations but it will work just as well inland and lends itself to a good family space,’ explains James Purdy, the Belfast-based garden designer and chartered architect.  

Everything in the garden has been chosen to withstand the elements. While the garden, once properly planted, is relatively low maintenance, James notes that ‘you can’t have a garden without being a gardener’. ‘Even a lawn can be intense time-wise so you have to be active. Make sure you get the expensive items like trees and hard landscaping right but you can experiment and have fun with the rest of the planting which is relatively inexpensive. Don’t worry if something doesn’t work, the following year you can replace it. Failure is part of the learning process in gardening.’ 

James’ design incorporates many natural materials found along the Irish coastline including larch decking, gravel, and sandstone cobbles and paving. A Cor-ten steel shallow pond attracts birds and adds to the waterside theme, while the planting throughout the garden reflects subtle coastal tones. 

James Purdy

James Purdy

James Purdy is an award-winning garden designer and chartered architect. James struck gold at his first appearance in Bord Bia Bloom 2016 and again at Bloom 2019.

Plan B

East Facing

  • Back of the house is East Facing.
  • 15 x 9 m plot
Garden Information Pack

Garden Designer Tips

James’ top tips for maintaining your coastal garden.

Click on hotspots to interact

Hero plant 1: Ilex aquifolium 'Nellie R. Stevens' (Holly)

This holly produces glossy dark green leaves that are more smooth than spiky, and white flowers in the spring, red berries in the autumn. Position: Full Sun. Height: 1.5 m – 3 m (4.9 ft – 9.8 ft) Spread: 1.5 m – 4 m (4.9 ft – 13.12 ft)

Garden Download Plan List

Hero plant 2: Anemone × hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

A perennial with white flowers, tinged pink on the underside. Flowers mid-summer right through to autumn. Common name: Japanese anemone. Position: Full sun, partial shade. Flowers: August, September, October Height: 90 - 1.20 cm (3 - 4 ft) Spread: 45 - 75 cm (1.5 - 2.5 ft)

Garden Download Plan List


If you are lucky enough to view the sea from your garden keep hedges clipped to the preferred height for viewing, privacy and protecting from wind.


Perennials should be planted in a naturalistic style. Dig beds and add compost prior to planting.