Traditional lawns, while not particularly harmful, have few of the benefits of a more natural shoreline. Lawns are shallow rooted, provide little wildlife habitat, need frequent maintenance, and are often over-fertilized (compare lawn grass on the far-right to natives on the rest of the image to the left). These factors can lead to problems on your lake such as:
Installing a native planting is an opportunity to balance our needs and priorities with the needs and priorities of those with whom we share life at the edge of the water.
Shoreland restoration can return many desirable features to your shoreline:
Will I still be able to enjoy the lake?
Yes! When planning a shoreland planting, we can leave out areas for recreation, beach/dock access, etc. We require an average minimum of 12 feet for the shoreline, but we can be flexible to give you areas to play!
Will I still be able to see the lake?
Another yes! Generally you can still see the lake even with a planting, but if you are especially concerned we can plant shorter species.
What kind of plants will be in my planting?
The kind of plants we include in our designs depends on the soil type and the amount of sun on your specific site. We plant a mixture of native grasses and flowers that will provide blooms from spring to fall, a variety of textures and colors, and bunches of blossoms scattered throughout. A couple of the most common species in our plantings include yellow coneflower, purple coneflower, white and purple prairie clover, wild bergamot, black-eyed susan, big and little bluestem, side-oats grama, and prairie dropseed, to name just a few.
What kind of maintenance will the planting require?
In the long term, plantings are much less maintenance than lawn grass! We like to say that native grasses and flowers sleep the first year, creep the second, and leap the third. This means that in the first few years, what we plant will be working on growing a hardy root system and you won't see too much growth beside the black-eyed susans and other species that grow great from seed. Once they develop their large root systems, then the plantings really take off with lots of color and diversity! The first few years we recommend weeding a few times a month and making sure they get about a half an inch of water a week, but after that they don't need much for maintenance besides an annual cleaning.
What is the process for putting in a native shoreline?
First, we'll set up a time with you to meet one of our staff members on site to see what concerns you have and what we can do to address them. We'll also observe what type of soil you have and what kind of sun you get, and we'll take that information back to the office and come up with a design, a planting list, and a cost estimate. Once you agree with the design, we move ahead with plans for installation!
We typically install shoreland restorations in early-mid June, but we sometimes install in the fall as well.
Do shoreland plantings actually prevent erosion?
Yes, they do! Our native grasses and flowers do a great job of holding the soil back and preventing erosion due to wave action. We also have a couple tricks up our sleeve (like erosion control blankets and coir logs) that we put on sites that are more susceptible to erosion.
Will plants actually grow in my sandy soil?
Yes, as long as the right plants are planted. Many plants that we pick out for sandy sites are found growing wild on sandy soils, where they have adapted to the hot and dry conditions, and they also do great along shorelines. In fact, some of our favorites flowers grow great in sandy soil, including prairie smoke, blanket flower, blazing stars, and prairie onion.