Why Shoreline Landscaping Is Essential for Selling Lakefront Properties

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated April 5, 2022
Group of friends having dinner by the lake
Photo: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images


  • Lakehouse buyers are focused on the lake side of the home.

  • A neglected shoreline can be a turnoff to buyers who are eager to start lake life.

  • Remove lake weeds sparingly to protect the natural flow and ecosystem of the lake.

  • A lakefront landscaper can advise on how to make the shoreline beautiful and safe.

  • Some municipalities restrict shoreline landscaping, so be sure to check.

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Take everything you think you know about landscaping to increase curb appeal for a quick home sale and forget it if you have a lakefront property. Your buyers will be less impressed by an adorable turquoise front door and will pay a premium for a pristine shoreline.

So, while most sellers put their money into cleaning up the front yard, lakefront sellers would do better to invest in the lake side of the house.

Show Lakehouse Buyers What They Want to See

Lakehouse buyers are imagining slow-paced mornings with coffee overlooking the lake. They’re thinking about the boat or kayak that’s always ready for push-off. They’re already planning outdoor dinners with their friends and family. So show them how it’s done.

Stage your backyard with outdoor furniture. Tie up the kayak on the dock so it’s gently bobbing in the water. Place some mosquito-repelling plants around the deck to show buyers that bugs are no problem.

You can also dump some fresh ocean sand at the shoreline to give the new buyer some beach access.

Clean Up the Shoreline

A neglected, weedy, eroded shoreline will turn off potential buyers who just want to hop in their whimsical new doughnut floaty ASAP. So give the shoreline a good cleaning before listing the home for sale.

Remove Aquatic Weeds

Young boy swimming in a clear lake
Photo: Chris Tobin / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Nothing makes the lake less appealing than the thought of wading through slimy weeds or those weeds getting wrapped around your standup paddleboard paddle. Give your buyers a fresh start by clearing some of the weeds. Just be choosy about what you remove because aquatic weeds are there for a reason–more on that later. A small water access point might be enough.

Standing on the shore, you can use a weed rake ($100) to pull vegetation from the water. For floating algae, a surface skimmer ($130) should help get the green off the top, so your buyers can see beautiful blue water.

Erosion Control

Wind, frost, vegetation removal, foot traffic, and seawalls can worsen shoreline erosion. You can’t do much about wind and frost, but you can mitigate the rest. Check with your contractor or local permitting office before making changes. In some regions, shoreline erosion management is tightly controlled.

Let Plants Do Their Jobs

Try not to disrupt the shoreline too much. You can clear some weeds for an access point, but leave as much as you can. Deep-rooted plants near the shoreline help prevent shoreline erosion by absorbing the energy of waves. Clearing a wide, weed-free beach could disrupt the habitat of critters who live in the lake and erode your shoreline. Leaving aquatic vegetation and any trees growing along the shoreline in place helps keep the lake healthy. It improves water clarity and provides a home to fish and insects.

A local shoreline contractor can advise you on how to landscape your yard and protect the body of water. For example, if you have loose sandy soil, you might need to add plants that will help hold the soil in place. The even better news is that water vegetation is quick growing, so your new plants can help reverse damage from erosion quickly.

Mitigate Damage from Foot Traffic

Heavy foot traffic can also harm the plant life and shoreline. Your contractor might recommend placing pavers or crushed stone walkways to minimize lake damage.

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