Many areas of coast feature rock (vegetated sea cliffs) right down to the waters edge. On the most exposed SW faces, only the most tenacious plants eke a living from the cracks and crevices to be found. Rock samphire, sea plantain and thrift are just a few species that call such places home. The pictures below are from Guernsey, but many rocky cliffs host such plants, including the chalk cliffs of East Sussex and Kent.
Any garden with a slope or fall can reproduce the feel of sea-cliffs with the right plants. Many of these are halophytes (salt tolerant) but will grow in more sheltered or inland areas.