New Hampshire Landscaping Blog


Shoreline Improvements and DES Permitting

If you are planning any project within 250’ of the lake, you must be sure you get any necessary permits in place before you begin your project. It’s not just lakes either, so be aware of where DES (Department of Environmental Services) has jurisdiction (wetlands for example). If your hardscape design calls for work to be done here, permits are just part of life. You will soon find out that it’s going to be all about PERMEABLE SURFACES and IMPERMEABLE SURFACES. There are formulas that the DES uses to determine how many s.f. of IMPERMEABLE SURFACES you will be allowed, among other things. I know, this sounds a little ‘demanding’, but that’s life. There’s a reason for it. We all want everyone to be good stewards of the land, and these permits ensure that everyone will abide by guidelines that will protect our environment. There are consequences for not obtaining permits, so be sure to do this important step in your next project.

START THE PROCESS EARLY!!! You need to be aware that it takes time to get your permit in hand, so contact your Landscape Architect, Landscape Contractor, or the DES months ahead of time. We suggest starting your permit application process at least 6+ months prior to your desired start date, even sooner if you can.

PERMITS CAN BE A LITTLE PRICEY! Yes, permits have a fee.


PERMITS CAN REQUIRE THAT A PLAN BE SUBMITTED!!! A plan will lay out exactly what is being proposed, and will communicate to the DES what you are trying to obtain a permit to do. Plans also can be pricey, so plan ahead.

Your hardscape plan should lay out all of the hardscapes to be done now and in the future, because your permit will last you for a few years. Here’s the takeaway idea: Get all your information together early. Get quotes on what all of the associated costs will be to accomplish your Shoreline Improvement project. This applies to any project that would be in that 250’ setback limit. Get the permit process started as early as possible. Call your Landscape Architect, Landscape Contractor, and the DES to get all the information you need. Have your hardscape design in hand. Your shoreline improvement project will beworth it.

Examples of some landscaping projects that require permits:

Shoreline Retaining Wall

Perched Beach

Any retaining wall within 250’ of shoreline

Any patio or walk within 250’ of shoreline

Any driveway within 250’ of shoreline

Any hardscape construction project

Any new building


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