Plans & ideas for nautical landscaping

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether your boring outdoor space is landlocked or on the coast, a nautical design can help transform it into a maritime-inspired masterpiece. The nautical style evokes imagery of navigation, sailing and coastal living. If you are considering updating your backyard landscape by creating a nautical theme, there are many design plans and ideas to help.

Nautical Focal Point

A landscape focal point is a feature or structure that grabs the attention of guests and passersby. For creating or enhancing a nautical theme in your outdoor space, you can choose any of several different focal point items. These include old ship anchors, masts, lobster traps, small boats, such as dinghies or rowboats, and lighthouse-shaped sheds. Gardening Resources suggests setting up a nautical-themed bird feeder, shaped like a boat or lighthouse. Rather than leaving your focal point standing solitary in the yard, it is a good idea to surround it with mulch, flowers and other plants.

Plant Selection

One of the best options for deciding on plants for your nautical landscape is to visit a nearby coastal environment. By observing the local plant life and taking your cues from nature, you can ensure that your plant selections will be able to tolerate the climatic conditions in your area. Backyard Landscaping Ideas notes that some of the most common coastal plants include beach plum (Prunus maritima), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 6; American beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata; hardy in zones 5 through 10); and bayberry (Myrica, multiples species). While the common northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) lives in zones 3 through 6, there are several other species, such as Black and Pacific bayberry, which can thrive outside of these zones.


To enclose certain sections of your nautical landscape, such as a garden or patio, or to line paths and walkways, try using chain fencing. Your fence sections can consist of drooping lengths of aged anchor chain---with its distinctive thick links---which you can suspend between waist-high aluminium fence posts. Alternatively, you could use fencing with wooden posts and thick, rigging-like rope railings and/or rope netting. While the industrial-style chain fencing will conjure up imagery of steamships and battleships, the antique-style rope fencing will give your landscape the appearance of a wooden sailboat, such as a galleon or schooner.


When it comes to furnishing your nautical landscape with items such as lawn chairs, Adirondack chairs and patio sets, choose items made of teak. Teak is a hard, durable lumber that shipbuilders commonly rely on for constructing wooden vessels. According to Backyard Landscaping Ideas, teak starts out with honey-brown surfaces that weather to a silver, greyish colour.

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About the Author

Erik Devaney is a writing professional specializing in health and science topics. His work has been featured on various websites. Devaney attended McGill University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies.