Landscaping on Shorelands
In New Hampshire, if you have property within 250’ of a body of water or wetlands, you may very well need to obtain permitting if you want to do landscaping projects. It can be somewhat confusing and daunting to approach this subject. We can help direct you to finding a great permitting specialist that will work closely with you and our company to navigate the process.
In New Hampshire, permits for shoreland or wetland properties comes from the NHDES (New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services). There are guidelines that must be followed in order to obtain the permit you may be seeking.
Here are some typical rules:
- There can only be “X” number of square feet of IMPERMEABLE surfaces that you can install based on what you have already existing on your site. This is a surface that doesn’t allow water to penetrate such as concrete, rooftops, driveway, patio, walkway, etc. These features must be limited to help protect the water quality.
- There’s an alternative to an IMPERMEABLE surface, which is called a PERMEABLE surface (no surprise there!). Some pavers are designed in such a way as to allow water to percolate through the surface and gently disperse into the soil below the patio rather than run off the edge. This kind of surface treatment is more satisfactory to NHDES rules.
- The shoreline may require ‘Bio-retention’ measures, or may be limited on the amount of stone work that can be done, as well as other considerations such as ‘Rain Gardens’ and ‘Shoreline Buffer Plants’.
- If you want a beach, you may need to do what’s called a “Perched Beach” such as in this photo.
So, let’s walk through a typical shoreland/wetland property owner’s journey from wanting to install landscaping to getting a DES permit, to getting the job done.
Mr. Johnson has a lakeshore property where the shoreline has some erosion and he needs to protect the shoreline with a retaining wall. He also wants stairs to ascend down to the dock and up towards the house, plus he would really like a beach. He calls us for an initial consultation appointment.
Since we know generally what Mr. Johnson is looking for before we get there, we arrange for an independent company who does the permitting process to meet us there on site for the initial consultation. We all discuss what Mr. Johnson would like to accomplish. The DES permitting specialist will tell us details on what we should be doing with this property in order to comply with the permitting rules. We develop a plan that complies with the rules and fits what Mr. Johnson would like to accomplish. The Permitting Specialist will tell us the time limits that would apply based on what type of permit(s) would be needed. A plan will be needed for permit submission. We specialize in developing computer done landscape plans that are beautifully detailed and easy for anyone to follow. We can begin your landscaping once the permit is obtained. This can be a rather lengthy process, so we urge you to call us well ahead of time. Call in the spring for a summer or fall installation project.