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How to Create a Lake Garden That Helps the Ecology of Your Lake

If you’re lucky enough to have a lake garden, you can create an environment that not only satisfies your gardening senses but also helps with the ecology of your local lake. While many lakes are filled with weeds and other plant species that compete for space and water, it is possible to create a beautiful garden that will benefit the health of the lake and its residents.

One Sanford couple has done just that by taking advantage of the good soil conditions on their property and turning their lakeside land into a garden. They’ve lived at the lake for 33 years and their gardens are a tribute to their love of gardening and lake life.

The landscaped areas at the front and back of their home are beautiful. The lake side is especially well-designed and is a showcase for a wide variety of perennials, shrubs and trees that have thrived in the good soil conditions.

In addition, the couple has rigged a pump near their home that draws water from the lake to irrigate the gardens. They use solar-powered garden lamps to light up the area at night and they are happy with their efforts.

A few of the highlights in their lakeside landscape are a birdhouse, covered bridge, a water fountain, an old-fashioned well pump and some fun artwork. They have created a place to relax and enjoy their gardens as they watch the sun set over Sanford Lake.

Another great feature of their garden is a rain garden, which filters runoff from the driveway and walkways before it goes into the lake. This helps keep the lake clean and safe for fish, turtles and other water wildlife.

Creating your own lakeside garden can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it can be challenging to find the right mix of plants to spruce up your surroundings and benefit lake ecology. Here are a few tips to help you design a garden that will grow and flourish while helping the health of your lake:

Choose plant species that help with habitat, such as hardstem bulrush which attracts northern pike and trout, or wildflowers, such as liatris, for example. These plants provide important nutrients for fish, birds and other water wildlife and they also add color and texture to your garden.

Plan your garden by the season, and be sure to give it plenty of water. You will want to re-apply fertilizer after the first frost. This can help your grasses and other plants re-grow and produce new leaves and flowers.

Consider placing logs in your garden, if there are any available. These naturally fallen logs help slow shoreline erosion and help plants settle and colonize the lake.

In this garden, the gardener, Denice Heblich, layers plants to allow the eye to travel from the ground up and fills in spaces with interesting objets d’art. Among her favorite treasures are old firepit surrounds, glazed pots brimming with colorful plants and stakes made from bits of mosaic or billiard balls.lakegarden residences


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