Buffer Landscaping


Buffer landscaping consists of vegetation planted near the lakeshore to trap sediments and to filter nutrients and pollutants. It also serves to prevent erosion and stabilize sloped areas of the shoreline. Buffer Landscaping promotes the concept that landowners can have a beautiful lakefront while being lake friendly and environmentally sound. Member Master Gardeners have developed a protocol for the establishment of gardens of native vegetation to filter contaminants and fertilizers flowing to the lake.

SMLA provides a Buffer Landscape ‘How To Guide’ as well as an extensive plant list that can help with your planning. The plant list is comprehensive with native as well as cultivars that thrive in our area. The list is approved by AEP for use below the 800 foot contour in the current Shoreline Management Plan.

SMLA will send our Buffer Landscape Advisory Service Team (BLAST) members to your home to advise and make recommendations on how to improve buffering characteristics of lakefront or near lakefront properties. You can request a BLAST visit by calling the SMLA office 540-719-0690 or email theoffice@smlassociation.org. We are also available to speak to groups interested in this program. The talk on buffer landscaping is both informative and entertaining.

SMLA recognizes property owners on the lake who are actively preserving Smith Mountain Lake by installing buffer landscaping and using sound environmental practices. Each year the Buffer Landscape Committee searches for waterfront properties that are examples for others to emulate. The following criteria is used in the selection:

  • Landscape follows guidelines as set out in SMLA Buffer landscape Guide
  • Landscape uses plants listed in the SMLA Buffer Landscape plant list
  • Landscape meets guidelines contained in the current AEP Shoreline Management Plan

This includes private property owners, organizations or businesses on the lake.

Nominate your neighbor, or nominate yourself!  Submit the name and/or address of the property by email to theoffice@smlassociation.org”.

Buffer Landscaping Services:

The Buffer Landscaping Committee consists of a team of about 20 volunteers many of which are Virginia Master Naturalists and Virginia Master Gardeners.  Our mission is to preserve the lake shoreline and water quality while providing wildlife habitat and protecting your property investment and enhancing the beauty of the lake.  Committee members are available to make recommendations to homeowners on how to slow and filter water flowing into the lake using native plants.

How to Participate:

  • Start your own buffer improvement effort
  • Nominate your own or a neighbor’s property for recognition
  • Join our committee.
  • Download our informative Buffer Landscaping Brochure for an overview of Buffer Gardening. Be a Steward of the lake!

Join SMLA Today

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