Lake Friendly Living

Sunset on Long Lake - Photo courtesy of Joe Thrasher

Lake-friendly living isn’t just for those who live along the lake shore. Everyone in the watershed is making decisions on a daily basis that can affect the water quality of the lake. From deciding whether or not to fertilize your lawn, pave your driveway, or what new dishwasher to buy, there are many different ways to live lake-friendly. Living lake-friendly isn’t about giving up anything – it is about finding out what works for you. It is about educating yourself so that your decisions and actions will help protect Long Lake and the watershed for years to come.

LLPA Watershed Brochure

Landscaping & Lawn Care

Around your Home & Property

  • Septic Systems
  • Don’t Flush Your Drugs
  • Hazardous Household Products
  • Permeable Pavement
  • Rain Barrels
  • Water Conservation
  • Cars
  • Pets

Shoreline Buffers Help Protect Long Lake and the watershed.

 The Problem

More and more people are building year-round or second homes on the lake. They often bring their idea of a conventional yard with them, leading to a grass lawn down to the lake shore. Problems with bringing traditional lawns to the lake shore can include:

• Excessive plant growth and algal blooms;
• Shoreline erosion and sedimentation;
• Loss of wildlife habitat;
• An increase in nuisance animals; and
• Loss of leisure time.

The Solution

A well landscaped yard adds value to your property and can also benefit the lake’s water quality and overall health. The benefits of buffers include:

• Food and shelter for local wildlife;
• Stabilization of soil to reduce erosion;
• Filtration of pollutants and sediments;
• Absorption of nutrients;
• Deterrence of nuisance species;
• Privacy from lake users; and
• Savings in time and money for maintenance.

What is a vegetative buffer?

A vegetative buffer, or buffer zone, is a strip of natural vegetation along the shoreline of a lake or waterbody. Ideally, the vegetation should cover at least 50 – 75% of the property’s lake frontage. By restoring the shoreline with native plants, you restore the ecological functions of the lake shore.

Use the natural landscape as your guide

Let trees form a canopy, with shrubs, flowers, and ground cover underneath, creating multiple layers – just like in nature. If your trees are bigger than you want, stick with lower shrubs and flowers. Do what works for you – any plants are better than grass all the way down to the lake.

Right Plant. Right Place.

Long Lake is in Zone 3-4 of the plant hardiness zones – so be sure any plants you pick are meant for zone 4 or colder. You will also need to consider the soil type, sunlight, drainage and slope on your site.

What should I plant?

Contact your local extension office to pick up a list of recommended plants for buffers. You can also check out the demonstration rain garden at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary.

How do I get started ?

Look around at natural areas to see what plants are growing there. There are also many plant lists available online or at our local nursery/landscape centers. Find a local landscaper with experience planting buffers, or help educate your current landscaping team.