Deborah and Rick Smith enjoy a moment on the container-filled deck that Rick built.Photos by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

The Smiths also fill a hundred various-sized containers with unusual plants, cuttings from houseplants, and succulents such as sedums and aeoniums. Plectranthus also does well in pots as do grasses, especially blue lyme grass. To keep up with this demanding volume, they have an indoor greenhouse with lights; and tender plants spend the winter in a sunroom kept just above zero.

The oceanside of the garden is naturally the most difficult side. In the first year, they planted 25 dwarf Korean lilacs along the seawall to act as a windbreak. Only one survived. Deborah observed what worked in other gardens and decided to do the same. So in went the tough rugosa rose, ?Blanc Double de Coubert?, which makes a great show with pink buds opening into white blooms. Rick also extended the space dramatically by building a large deck.

Deborah and Rick Smith enjoy a moment on the container-filled deck that Rick built.