Landscaping Lakeshore Properties

Lakeshore properties are special. You love the natural beauty and the recreational opportunities! If you have a lakeshore property, you also take special care of it. The shoreline is subject to erosion. It’s not good for you or for the lake if the shoreline is eroding. Shoreline Restoration is the term we use for installing shoreline retaining walls or “Bio-retention” to prevent erosion according to DES permitting rules. You want to enjoy your lakeshore property too, so perhaps you are wanting a beach or a dock. Simply put, lakeshore properties require unique care.

The very first things you’ll need to do when planning on a landscaping project for a lakeshore property are to have a Landscape Architect or Landscape Contractor develop a plan and proposal for you. Shoreline restoration is heavy work and is usually done by a Landscape Contractor with the right know-how and equipment. This planning process should be done right along with the permitting process. Any lakeshore properties that are having work done need to get a DES (Department of Environmental Services) permit.

You will find that the permit may only allow a certain number of square feet of IMPERMEABLE surface on your property. Things such as houses, driveways, walks and patios are considered impermeable surfaces. They use a calculation to determine what you already have on site for impermeable surfaces, and how many more square feet of new impermeable surfaces you will be allowed. This is all done with the purpose of protecting the environment. Permits are just a part of the lakeshore property owner’s way of life. Not the fun part, but necessary nonetheless. For example, you may find out that your patio can only be a certain size. This will then be what you will need to incorporate into your landscape plan. But, here’s something you may not know about that can help you get a bigger patio. PERMEABLE PAVERS!!! Yup, there are products on the market that are considered “permeable” for permitting purposes. These pavers are engineered with gaps between them for water to pass through, and installed with layers of stone underneath them that basically act like a huge dry well.

You will find out, if you want a new beach, that you will be required to install what they call a “perched beach”. This kind of a beach sits above a shoreline retaining wall and usually has a rear retaining wall too. This keeps sand from washing into the lake. And, of course, there will be size limitations for the beach too.

Always give the planning and permitting processes plenty of time to occur. Call your Landscape Architect, Landscape Contractor and permitting people early. Allowing 6 or more months is ideal. When you’re done, you’ll be loving your new landscaping on your lakeshore property.

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