Sustainable Futures - encouring and promoting healthy, sustainable communities
Lake Front Living Tips

Everyone who lives on Lake Keowee or visits for recreation or relaxation can readily see what a wonderful natural resource we have.  Lake Keowee not only provides drinking water for surrounding communities, it is home for a variety of birds, butterflies, fish and other wildlife.  By preserving this natural resource, we ensure that future generations, including our grandchildren, will have the same opportunities we enjoy today and for years to come. Here are a few sample tips to get you started:

SITE DESIGN

Careful placement of homes among healthy stands of vegetation allows for a natural setting, provides shelter for animals, and promotes the infiltration of rainwater.  Let nature guide the design, taking your cues for siting and orienting indoor and outdoor spaces from the natural world around you.  Sitting homes away from slopes allows for more suitable use of these areas and decreases the likelihood of erosion.  Land disturbance and building projects in steep areas can cause excessive erosion.  The ideal site provides drainage, wind protection, and convenient access.

Limiting the amount of clearing on your lot will help prevent erosion.  Removing all vegetation from an area for building houses destroys animal habitat and may cause excess runoff.  If you have bare patches of ground, erosion can be reduced by choosing appropriate plant cover, preferably a native species.   Sediment that enters the lake can harm fish and destroy habitats used as spawning areas.

In rural areas such as Lake Keowee, the built landscape (houses and gardens) provide an accent to the larger natural setting.  Proper planning will help your homesite be an asset to the overall community.

Remember that good site design begins first "on paper."  It is much less costly (for you and for the environment) to make your mistakes on paper than on the land.  Spend plenty of time on upfront planning for your lake front property.  It will more than pay off in the end.  Choose a competent landscape architect or engineer to help you.

LAWNCARE AND LANDSCAPING

Native plants offer a pleasing landscape and require less management – less watering and fertilizing.  Using plant materials can provide natural screening and privacy for outdoor gatherings.  A more natural approach to gardening and lawn care adds real beauty to your lake front property and help control erosion and filter runoff from adjacent hard surfaces. 

Limit the amount of lawn to what your family actually needs for play and recreation.  Consider rock gardens or shrubs and trees that will also provide habitat for insect-eating birds.  Choose natural insecticides and use them only when really needed.

It is best to avoid fertilizers within 75 feet of the lake.  Instead, consider organic, non-chemical fertilizers for lawn and plants to protect chemical runoff from entering the lake.  If you use a lawn service, request natural management practices instead of chemical methods. 

You can reduce your water requirements by using drip irrigation or soaker hoses and mulching plant beds.  Encourage birds and insects that will reduce pests, build the soil, and pollinate plants!

For more gardening tips click here.

CREATING A "WILDLIFE FRIENDLY" HOME

Placement of homes away from shoreline, with suitable buffer areas, protects the habitat of nearby wildlife.

Allowing trees and shrubs to grow in natural buffer areas along the lake provides shading in shallow waters and habitat for animals. Intensive maintenance of lawns down to the shoreline decreases shade and increases temperature, and the chance of pesticides and fertilizers entering the lake.

If you’ve already removed natural vegetation close to the shoreline, see the Resources in this web site to locate appropriate native specials to restore your shoreline to a more natural state.  Choose from the many shrubs, grasses and trees that are native to our region and will flourish on your property.

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Contact Sustainable Futures for ways to design a more "Wildlife Friendly" home. We will assist you in providing appropriate food, water and cover for wildlife and aquatic species. These measures could qualify your land as a "Certified Backyard Habitat" through the National Wildlife Federation. Sustainable Futures also provides the service of helping you get certified!

Sustainable Futures specializes in consultation to the community development field
 
Ph. 864-238-3044
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