Landscaping the Summer Lake Home

Ahhh, there’s nothing better than summers at the Lake home. With the world as it is these days, we are needing to spend more time with our families at home. By landscaping your summer lake home, you will not only be increasing the value of your property, but you will be increasing your family’s enjoyment of it!

First things first. You should know that any water front properties in New Hampshire fall under DES (Department of Environmental Services) jurisdiction and will require permitting before you commence with your landscaping projects. If all you are doing is planting a few things, then you don’t need to worry about getting a permit, but if you will be doing anything like changing the grade or installing patios, paths, driveways, retaining walls, etc, then a permit will be required prior to work starting.

We can help you to navigate that process by bringing in the experts on that.

The project in the photo did require a permit. The permitting process dictated that the patio for this project must be constructed out of PERMEABLE PAVERS, and it also dictated a maximum size allowed for this patio. But look at the end result!!! There is a beautiful paver patio to sit and relax on and enjoy the view of the lake. It is located right next to the granite stairs that lead down to the dock and this path also incorporates permeable paver landings. Notice that the surrounding planting beds have native plants.

We incorporated a lot of Lowbush Blueberries here since it is a low growing native plant and won’t impede the view of the lake.

Here are some general considerations regarding landscape designing for Summer Lake Homes in general:

1. Low Maintenance plants (you don’t want to spend your time mowing or gardening while you’re on vacation)

2. What activities do you enjoy? (you may want to install a fire pit or a brick oven. How about a bocce ball court? A patio for dining outdoors is a main request we see.

3. Is the shoreline in good condition? Do you need to protect the bank from erosion?

4. Is there a safe way to get to the water? Perhaps you need some steps or a walk to the lake. Granite steps are a great choice of material for steps at the lake because when they get wet, they don’t tend to be slippery like some other material can be.

5. You may want the look to remain it’s ‘woodsy’ and natural character. If you like that, then let your designer know to keep it like that and not make it too formal. You don’t want it to look like you took a lot in a urban neighborhood and plopped it at the lake.

6. Keep in mind the DES permitting limitations on sizes allowed on things like patios.

7. Permeable pavers are the best solution for pavers on waterfront properties. They allow the water to seep directly into the ground instead of creating surface runoff.

8. A rain garden may be needed (check with DES and look at drainage issues)

9. Be aware that DES will require a detailed landscape plan to be submitted.

The photo is of a job we recently installed.

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