(Published in Inside Out Magazine, April, 2013)
Tucked away on Cayman Kai and overlooking a tranquil lagoon is a stunning beach garden which beguiles its location.
Despite its position right on the water’s edge, this tropical garden thrives year-round, offering a lush, shady retreat from the harsh glare of the sun’s rays.
Indeed, this garden truly offers the best of both worlds; a stunning sandy beachfront coupled with verdant foliage you would expect to find on fertile soil. As the home’s owner Brent Pierce says, this garden is “paradise on the beach”.
Brent purchased the house just two years ago, and with the help of the experts at Vigoro Nursery has worked to create a beach garden which can withstand all that Mother Nature can throw at it.
“During high tides, the feet of the plants are in the salt table, so choosing the right species was key in creating this garden,” Tom Balon of Vigoro explains.
“When the owners purchased the property, there was already a good basis of mature landscaping, which we worked to further enhance.”
The owners wanted a garden which was as private as possible, with lots of intimate shady areas. A screen of soaring palms shields the front of the garden and the house from the road, making it virtually invisible from passing road or foot traffic.
To one side of the house is a large pool surrounded by a wide range of palms, including fishtail palms, Chinese palms, date palms and traveller palms, as well as native thatch trees and crotons.
The pool sits on a large patio area, with a fabulous outdoor kitchen and shady cabana for entertaining, or al fresco meals overlooking one of Cayman’s most picturesque water spots.
On the other side of the house an almost hidden path meanders along the edge of the plot of land, linking the back and front gardens together. The path is flanked on either side by palms while an abundance of shrub species carpets the ground. The path leads to a tranquil Zen garden – a place of quiet contemplation, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
“Vigoro have been amazing and have been instrumental in bringing the garden to its current level,” Brent says.
“This home is my paradise on the beach with complete privacy due to the beautiful gardens and landscaping.”
Along the water’s edge, mangroves have been left to grow, creating a natural buffer and helping to prevent sand erosion. Scattered across the pristine beach are towering coconut trees, which create pockets of shade dotted across the powder-soft sand – perfect for kicking back and relaxing while soaking up the view. The centre piece of the beach garden is a stunning casuarina tree, which over the years has been meticulously cut and pruned, creating a fascinating bonsai-like effect.
“The garden has a very whimsical and loose feel, but it works,” Tom says.
“The large variety of palms all work well together, creating a fascinating mix of texture, height and leaf colours. It’s a very functional garden and the clever layout means that each area has been used to its fullest.”
Indeed, while the garden may not have clean, sculpted lines typical of a well-groomed garden, its loose and whimsical feel makes for a truly unique and beautiful beach garden, perfect for whiling away time in a Caribbean paradise such as Cayman Kai.