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Native shoreline plantings are relatively new ideas. Because of this, it takes a little more work to plan and install them compared to more traditional shoreline management. However, this site will help you every step of the way, so keep reading to do your part for water quality!

Planting Plans

You can customize your shoreline planting to not only improve water quality but also fit it to your own landscape preferences or needs.  Do you have a lot of shade in your yard?  Do you want to make sure plants don’t get too tall and block your view of the water?  Or would you like a planting that attracts birds and butterflies?  See below for easy to understand planting plans and plant lists to help you begin your project.

Shoreline Planting

The planning and construction of a simple native shoreline planting can usually be a do-it-yourself project; however in some instances, it may be necessary or desirable to hire a professional. You want to make sure the professional you hire is able to design your project to your satisfaction and also fulfill city or state requirements (if there are any).  When you are looking for a professional, use recommendations from neighbors, online resources and other databases, or consult your local Soil and Water Conservation District. The following are all good questions to ask potential candidates to ensure you will be satisfied with their work:

  • What experience do you have with native shoreline plantings?
  • Are you willing to work with homeowners?
  • Are you knowledgeable about local and state requirements or permits?
  • Can you help me find an appropriate design for my shoreline?
  • Are you experienced in erosion control practices necessary for shoreline plantings?


Living Shorelines

The accepted norm on many bays and shorelines is to have a mowed lawn up to the edge of a concrete seawall or to the shoreline. Healthy or living shorelines (and adjacent lawns) have an abundance of native plants both on the land and in the water, which work to filter pollutants out of runoff, deter nuisance wildlife, stabilize the shoreline, and slow wave action. Glacial stone (or rock) seawalls are also an improvement over concrete because they provide stabilization to the shoreline while also minimizing wave action. Homeowners often worry that a natural shoreline will look messy, but with proper planning a natural shoreline can be an incredibly beautiful, low-maintenance landscape feature without interfering with recreation.


In some cities or towns, it may be necessary to apply for a permit if you are planning on altering a shoreline area. Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has more information about the application process for a living shoreline project. Be sure to check with your county for area-specific guidelines. 


Need a permit?

You might need a permit to work along a shoreline. 

More info coming soon...

    Want help designing your shoreline planting?

    View the below links for some great resources.

      Need more help selecting plants?

      Maryland Native Plant Society, and Virginia Native Plant Society have resources for choosing and buying native plants.

      Herring Run Nursery, located in the Mount Pleasant Golf Course, is a non-profit nursery operated by Blue Water Baltimore that specializes in native plants grown in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

      The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website recommends native species for each state and a variety of situations.