Sample Landscape Plan for a Coastal Dune
By enhancing the natural plantings of a dune and creating a buffer between your house and the dune, you will work in harmony with the natural sedimentary processes of the coastal environment, stabilize sandy soils, reduce lawn area and its accompanying maintenance needs, conserve water, filter sediments and pollutants, and help preserve wildlife values.The dune landscape plan provided below incorporates a variety of native grasses, perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, and a few trees that are well suited for a coastal dune environment. The second illustration, the dune landscape profile, depicts the landscaped coastal dune as viewed from the house looking toward the sea.
The plants in this design are well-adapted to sunny areas and are resistant to dry conditions, wind, salt spray, and sand-overtopping. Because coastal homeowners often want to maintain some lawn area, a lawn is included in this plan. However, lawn grasses provide very little storm-damage protection and wildlife benefit, and are therefore not recommended in dune environments and should be kept as small as possible.
On the landscape plan below, you can move your cursor over each plant icon to find its common name, or you can click on the icon to find a photograph and a complete description of the plant. You can also see the plant list below for a complete list of all of the species used within the plan. Most of the plants included are native species, but those that are non-natives are indicated.
Coastal Dune Landscape Plan
Coastal Dune Landscape Plan by Betsy Rickards
Coastal Dune Landscape Profile
Coastal Dune Landscape Profile by Betsy Rickards
Plant List for Coastal Dune Landscape Plan
|Perennials and grasses|
|Ammophila breviligulata||American Beachgrass||2-3'||Ideal grass for coastal stabilization due to deep spreading roots, quick colonization, and salt tolerance. (native)|
|Cakile edentula||Sea Rocket||6-20”||Native perennial with fleshy stems and leaves and pale lavender to white flowers that bloom in the summer and are pollinated by bees, flies, beetles, moths, and butterflies. (native)|
|Distichlis spicata||Spike Grass||1-3'||Salt- and drought-tolerant perennial grass that can form dense mats that provides good groundcover and habitat for small animals. (native)|
|Lathyrus japonicus||Beach Pea||sprawling||Sprawling perennial vine with showy purple or pink flowers and pods that contain small peas that are eaten by animals, such as deer, mice, and birds. (native)|
|Leymus mollis||4-6’||Native grass with green foliage and inconspicuous yellow flowers and brown seeds, which forms clumps on coastal dunes and beaches. (native)|
|Panicum amarum||Coastal Panic Grass||3-6’||Long-lived native grass with an upright and hedge-like form and a deep fibrous root system that stabilizes more sheltered sand dunes—useful for creating wind barriers and wildlife cover. (not native)|
|Solidago sempervirens||Seaside Goldenrod||3-5’||
Native perennial with fleshy, waxy leaves and bright yellow flowers that provide a striking contrast to the green vegetation. (native)
|Shrubs and groundcovers|
|Arctostaphylos uva-ursi||Bearberry||6-12”||Hardy, low-growing evergreen groundcover/shrub that is a good soil stabilizer and has attractive bright red berries that are readily eaten by birds. (native)|
|Aronia arbutifolia||Red Chokeberry||6-10’||
Suckering, spreading, colonizing, deciduous shrub with summer flowers, persistent fruit, and colorful fall foliage. (native)
|Hudsonia tomentosa||Beach Heather||<1’||Low-growing perennial/shrub with bright yellow flowers, a carpet-like surface area of scaly leaves that protects the plant from moisture loss and holds the sand in place, and a network of roots that binds the sediments. (native)|
|Myrica pensylvanica||Northern Bayberry||5-7’||Salt-tolerant, semi-evergreen shrub with berries that are eaten by birds. (native)|
|Prunus maritima||Beach Plum||4-7’||Salt-tolerant, deciduous shrub with deep roots, white flowers, and edible fruits. (native)|
|Pinus rigida||Pitch Pine||20-80’||Hardy evergreen tree with persistent cones that mature in the fall. Its tolerance for poor soil conditions makes it useful for reforestation or stabilization where few other trees will grow. (native)|
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