Why Shoreline Planting?
Natural vegetation along the lakeshore provides several benefits to the landowner and native fish and wildlife.
- Native vegetation adds visual appeal and frames lakeshore views.
- Since native plants are adapted to live in the Pacific Northwest, they generally require less maintenance than a lawn or ornamental plants.
- Vegetation hanging over the lakeshore provides cover for juvenile Chinook salmon.
- Insects feed on native vegetation, and then they become food for juvenile Chinook salmon when they fall onto the surface of the water.
- Dense vegetation filters out pollutants, so vegetated buffer areas also help keep our lake water clean.
For a list of native plants, and to create your own custom plant list, see the King County Native Plant Guide.
Which Plants to Use
Wider buffers provide the greatest functions, but any natural vegetation along the lakeshore provides some habitat value.
- Large trees and woody shrubs overhanging the lakeshore provide a source of shade, organic material, and cover for juvenile Chinook salmon.
- Emergent plants (partially underwater) along the lakeshore dampen wave action and can reduce erosion potential. These plants create a visual barrier that deters Canada Geese from visiting your yard and leaving their messes behind. Emergent plants can thrive in Lake Sammamish, but the water regime in Lake Washington is less conducive to their survival.
- Learn more about lakeshore yard care tips.
Designing Your Lakeshore Planting
Photo: J. Buehler
While there are no one-size-fits-all planting plans, many options exist for lakeshore friendly landscaping. The key to successful lakeside landscape design is to:
- Work with your site in terms of slope, solar exposure, soils and the site lines from your house.
- Do your planning from your kitchen, dining room, bedroom, deck – the places from where you like to view the lake.
- Think about how shoreline vegetation can offer interest or color to your yard and help frame your views.
Photo: D. Natelson
Who Can Help?
The following organizations may be able to help you plan your lakeshore planting design.