Why You Should Hire a Shoreline Contractor

Katy Willis
Written by Katy Willis
Updated January 31, 2022
Home on the lakefront with jet skis
Photo: davelogan / iStock / Getty Images


  • The costs for living shoreline projects vary, but expect to pay $440 to $5,500 per linear foot. 

  • Shoreline erosion impacts 0.01 to 5.9 feet of shoreline per year, depending on location.

  • Mulch, cover crops, trees, bushes, and other natural solutions can reduce shoreline erosion.

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 If you have a shorefront property, caring for the shoreline itself should be at the top of your agenda. If you neglect it, erosion will set in and you'll start to lose ground, literally, as the sea washes it away. That's where a shoreline landscaper comes in. Unlike a regular landscape gardener, these outdoor pros have specialist knowledge that's critical to stop your shoreline rapidly slipping under the water. 

Shoreline Erosion Specialist Knowledge

There are many benefits of hiring a shoreline landscaper. But, first and foremost, is their knowledge, experience, and expertise to deal with the specific needs and issues of shorefront properties. These professionals understand how to work with the existing landscape and the importance of including plenty of vegetation into the shorescape to reduce the fragility of the soil. 

Rather than using landscaping fabric and only focusing on the topmost layer of ground, shoreline landscapers work in three dimensions, paying close attention to the whole area. This way, they know where the trouble spots are and can advise you on bringing in extra defenses when your shoreline needs extra help. 

Minimize Shoreline Erosion

One of the biggest dangers for any shorefront property is erosion. Whether you've got a lake, river, or oceanfront property, erosion is your primary enemy. Take a look at the average annual coastal erosion figures for different parts of the U.S. 

  • National Average: 1.1 ft/year (0.4 m/year)

  • Atlantic Coastline: 2.6 ft/year (0.8 m/year)

  • Gulf Coast: 5.9 ft/year (1.8 m/year)

  • Pacific Coast, including Alaska: 0.01 ft/year (0.005 m/year)

Your local shoreline landscaper understands the factors that contribute to erosion, from storms, tides, and winds to the wakes from boats, loose soil, and excessive foot traffic. And they have the necessary knowledge to help combat these factors. 

They'll perform an assessment of the current shoreline situation to get a grasp of what's causing the erosion, then work with you to get a project plan in place to help mitigate the effects and, in some cases, rebuild the landscape. Solutions may include:

  • Mulching

  • Adding cover crops

  • Adding trees and bushes

  • Using hydroseeding

  • Laying permeable pavers

  • Using rain collection barrels

  • Adding crushed stone

  • Bringing in riprap rock

  • Adding lots of native flora

  • Create wildlife habitats

  • Strategically placed sand fences

Boost Curb Appeal

A woman sitting on steps in doorway of log cabin
Photo: Maskot / Adobe Stock

Even if you don't plan to sell your property in the next year or two, who knows what the future holds? Shoreline landscapers can boost your home's curb appeal, making it more enjoyable to you while you still own it, and boosting its value when you're ready to sell. 

Additionally, by holding back erosion, these outdoor pros ensure you retain as much of your property's exterior square footage as possible. Remember, if you live on the Gulf Coast and have an unprotected shoreline, you could lose up to 5.9 feet per year. That's a shockingly large figure, and you can see just how quickly you can lose a significant amount of ground. Land is valuable, so losing it to erosion would decrease your property value year over year.

Landscape to Minimize Foot Traffic Damage

Aside from the water and weather, foot traffic is one of the biggest dangers to shorefront properties. Your local shoreline landscaper can use a mixture of strategies to create pathways of crushed stone or permeable pavers that let you confidently walk along the shore without damaging soil health or plant life. 

Can Identify Areas of Significant Risk

Due to their specialist knowledge, shoreline landscapers can quickly identify areas of greatest risk. If, for example, you have loose, sandy soil with little vegetation or root networks holding it in place, they'll spot it right away and can rapidly implement steps to minimize and, in some cases, reverse the damage.

Making a Shoreline Erosion Management Plan

Shoreline landscapers are aware of all the regulations, permitting requirements, and other legalities around shoreline management. They'll be able to put together a legally compliant shoreline management plan that you and your contractor can work on and implement. 

The knowledge of local rules is critical. For example, in some states, it's actually illegal to restore a shoreline. In others, it's legal, but expensive permits are required. In other areas, no permits are necessary for living shoreline replacement. The costs for living shoreline projects vary significantly, but you can typically expect to pay $440 to $5,500 per linear foot.

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