Want an easy way to improve our rivers’ health by making a small change in your landscape routine? Try planting or restoring a buffer area on your property. A buffer is a naturalized strip of vegetation separating your lawn from any adjacent waterway or impermeable surface (the street or your driveway). In undeveloped areas, natural buffers help to reduce the amount of stormwater entering our watershed by filtering out pollutants. Bringing these natural vegetated areas back to developed areas is very important for reducing water pollution.
Whether you have a bulkhead or a natural shoreline, a buffer helps filter a variety of pollutants. By slowing down stormwater, more water permeates the soil instead of entering the river. Buffers also work to filter and slow water at your curbside which reduces your street-side stormwater runoff. The best buffers have a variety of native plants, so when designing your very own buffer include different native plants to your area such as shrubs, trees, perennials, and non-turf grasses.
The benefits of buffers include:
- Less water pollution
- Reduced soil erosion
- Reduced flooding and flood damage
- Provides a natural habitat for wildlife
- Lower lawn maintenance requirements for your yard
For more information on buffers and how to construct your very own buffer garden, please visit Lynnhaven River Now.
And for more green landscaping advice, visit askHRgreen’s Lawn and Garden resources.
This blog post was submitted by Kathryn Havrilla, intern with Lynnhaven River Now.