July 26 – August 1, 2019Vol. 21, No. 8

Define Your Pathways

Pathways are defined so gardens can grow. Photo courtesy of Maine Lakes Society LakeSmart.

by Sabine Fontaine

Another way to save your lake is to define your foot pathways. Trees, shrubs, and plants act as a shield between the lake and groundwater runoff. Plants catch rainwater, slow it down, and filter out the unwanted chemicals. But plants can only grow if they don't get trampled, and a pathway tells humans how to walk around them. Paths are ideally 3-4' wide and can be defined with undyed mulch, crushed stone or even pine needles. You can border them with rocks, logs, branches, or nothing at all. They should bend in way to deter water from travelling straight down them into the lake.

Once you define your path you have two ways to vegetate in the other areas. You can landscape the garden with native and native friendly plants like blueberries, juniper, hostas and daylilies. If you put mulch down, make sure it is undyed so those chemicals can't leach into the lake. If you are not interested in a "highly civilized" landscape, you can let it vegetate naturally with whatever is naturally growing. You will be surprised at how much stuff grows when you stop walking on it!

If you are interested in getting personalized LakeSmart recommendations for your property, you can sign up for a free, no-obligation, LakeSmart visit by contacting Sabine Fontaine at lakesmart@blamaine.org or 512-5150.