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Native Plant Guide

Information and Services for King County, Washington

Plant a beautiful and natural shoreline.

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Creating a natural landscape helps keep your bank in place without the need for expensive and unattractive bulkheads. Whether you are working along a lake, stream or Puget Sound, restoring your shoreline provides numerous benefits for wildlife and you.

Landscape plans and plant selection ideal for wet conditions, such as shorelines, are covered in the plant topics portion of this site. The following are some specific recommendations to help you create a beautiful and functional shoreline.

If you can wait, watch the water on your property for a year. By placing a few stakes at different water levels throughout the year, you will gain a better picture of which plants will thrive where. While you are at it, take note of sunny and shady areas.
- Select a variety of plants species. You are bound to have some survivors!
- Plant larger trees and shrubs near the sides of your property to create a natural frame and accentuate your view.
- Plant the same plants at different distances from the water. This helps ensure some of the plants will be planted in their favored conditions. This helps avoid lots of replanting later.
- Pick plants that will grow to your preferred height. In the interest of time and plant health, try to avoid planting with the idea that you'll prune later to create a view.
- Low growing shoreline plants include small fruited bulrush, slough sedge, and yellow monkey flower.
- Medium height shrubs may include vine maple, Pacific ninebark, swamp rose, and red twig dogwood.
- Large trees include Sitka spruce, western red cedar, Oregon ash and various willows.
- Canada geese enjoy wide open spaces. To discourage them, stagger shoreline plantings to create the illusion (from the water) of continuous plants.

Consult the landscaping plan section that best fits your site conditions such as wet/shady or wet/sunny and enjoy gardening on the shoreline.

Planting plans related to this article: Wet, sunny