If you are interested in buying or already own a waterfront property in Maryland, you might have ideas on how you’d like to develop the landscape. However, you want to make sure you check with the county and find out information on your property before putting a shovel in the ground. Most waterfront properties WILL need a permit for any work completed in the yard, other than regular maintenance. That is why it is so important to follow the tips for landscaping a waterfront property in Maryland below.
Tips for Landscaping Waterfront Property in Maryland
Use the Right Contractor
One key to landscaping a waterfront property in Maryland the right way is to find a knowledgeable contractor who has experience working on the water in your area. A landscaping company that has years of experience in waterfront work will already be familiar with your city and county’s development regulations.
This is so important because it is hard to wade through all of the information and it is nice to have a partner next to you entering into the next step in renovating your property. If a contractor tells you you do not need a permit on a waterfront property, run or do your own research to find out. If you end up doing work without a permit, when you need it, both the homeowner AND client can be fined and made to fix the problem immediately.
See a picture below of a current violation we are helping a client with. They paid a contractor a lot of money to clear and put down synthetic lawn on a waterfront slope. The client had no idea this was a big ‘no no.’ The contractor told them they didn’t need a permit.
Do Your Research
Another tip is to know your property. It is up to you to know the exact conditions and regulations on your Maryland waterfront property. Do not blindly rely on someone else to know and follow the rules for you; it is worth doing your research and knowing how to proceed yourself. Otherwise, you might run into mistakes and subsequent penalties. Call your County or City to get more information on your property.
Use the Best Materials
Like any property, you will need to take into account the existing characteristics of your landscape. Consider the terrain, wildlife, and existing structures on the site. Your ultimate design will work with these elements for the most harmonious result.
Some waterfront properties have a beach, others have steps and slopes, and some need a retaining wall. If you are building a retaining wall and want something natural, you might want to consider jute or coconut fiber logs. These will last for a number of years and then biodegrade leaving just the plant material. However, if the property has a gradual slope you might be able to get away with minor grading and planting. Any way you slice it, it is best to talk with a Landscape Designer that is knowledgeable. They can help you make it look aesthetically pleasing, functional, and use material within the necessary guidelines allowed on your property.
Maryland has pages and pages of codes and regulations on how you develop your waterfront property. However you design it, you will need a permit. Period. One cannot overstate the importance of carefully researching your property’s regulations and finding a contractor that can faithfully partner with you in the process and develop a beautiful, waterfront-friendly, and budget-friendly design.
We have almost 50 years of experience working with Anne Arundel County, PG County, St. Mary’s County, Calvert County, Annapolis City, and Baltimore City. All have regulations concerning waterfront or water oriented properties. It is best to hire a company that has the experience AND the rapport with the County/City to guide you through the process.
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