Have you ever wanted to build your own private beach? If so, you are not alone. Thousands of people around the United States have done just that, creating beautiful beaches at home. But before you start digging out your back yard or your spare time, you might want to think twice about the “benefits”. After all, not everyone enjoys the tranquil beauty of a private beach.
A beach is usually a gently sloping, sandy strip of land lying along either the side of a river, lake, or ocean. Sand is used to cover beaches, but sand can break up into razor-sharp cliffs if it is not kept in proper order, causing massive waves. Waves also occasionally wash debris from beaches, causing larger rafts of sand to crash together and form white washed out beaches. Most coastal erosion is the result of these large waves and eroding sand.
Beach materials for a beach include pebbles and shells. Beach pebbles are generally large enough to lie along the beach and are used as pedestals for waves to roll over. Beach shells are typically smaller and have sharp edges, providing traction for beachgoers. Most beaches have pebbles and shells but some beaches have a mix of both materials, especially near shores where tidal range changes may cause beach water to erode unpredictably. Larger pebbles and shells are less likely to be washed away by high tides, but they can still clump together and cause erosion if the tide isn’t watched carefully enough. The beach may also be formed by small lake eddies.
Coral reefs are made up of thousands of tiny sand particles that grow and die in response to the rising and falling tides. When the tide rolls in, the water moves over the top of the reef and grinds it into a mass of sand, leading to the formation of new reef structures. These structures may be similar to the pebbles along a beach, but they are often made up of living coral reefs. Because coral reefs are living structures, they need to be cared for just as you would care for a living thing. Their existence depends on the regular flow of sea water, the abundance of light and the amount of food provided to them by algae, other sea creatures, and birds.
Sand Dunes is created when steep slopes make land bridge like structures where the steepest parts of the slopes become steeper, or when flat areas become thin and then flatten. Sand dunes occur at most beaches and provide good conditions for wave riders and surfers. Most surfers prefer to go to the highest points on the beach so that they can ride the biggest waves coming across the beach. Some people like to lay on the sand and wave during their break, but most people prefer to just jump into the water when they see a wave approaching. If a large surf wave should come by, people can tuck their toes under the sand and stay safe.
Seawalls protect the most fragile parts of a beach from damage by surf or large waves. When there are many rocks on a beach, the seawall is usually built right into the middle of the beach. These types of seawalls are usually constructed out of wood or rock, and they are either constructed by hand using large rocks to punch holes in them, or by using a machine. Most beaches that are located in tidal areas have a seawall around their entire length, although some only have one seawall at a certain point.