These clients are lucky enough to have a beach house right by the ocean on Grand Cayman. The house was badly damaged some years ago by hurricane Ivan and is now undergoing a complete refurbishment. We have been asked to design a garden, which will not only reflect the ‘spirit of the place' but also be able to withstand the challenge of gale force winds. In addition to this, any plant material used must be very site appropriate. In this case that means being drought tolerant and resilient to salt laden winds.

In these circumstances it is always best to look to nature for direction (a good example of this is the late Derek Jarman's Kent seaside garden, in which he used only minimal, locally sourced plants.) On this site we will also be looking to the natural flora that abounds in the region, for example: Hohenbergia (Hohenbergia caymanensis), Ironwood (Chionanthus caymanensis) and Wild banana orchid (Myrmecophila thomsoniana) .

The client brief included a small swimming pool, a decked area for relaxation and gabions (wire crates filled with large pebbles found strewn across the beach). The gabions will be used to define the line between the garden area and the beach in a sympathetic, yet substantial way, and also to create a terraced effect replacing the existing sandy slope. Other design ideas include a funky gateway entrance to the driveway, again using the locally sourced materials, such as weather worn rustic timber, locally quarried stone and even rusty pieces of steel found on the beach.



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