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Landscaping is work undertaken around a structure to improve:

  1. The appearance – such as to beautify, increase shade or light conditions, or improve the view of the lake;
  2. The use – such as to add vegetable and/or flower gardens to incorporate a patio or space for outdoor living, to create a pond or lookout, or to provide paths and walking areas;
  3. The operative features – such as to control erosion, direct surface water flow, level terrain, construct buildings, and install septic systems and water lines.

Value of Landscaping

  • Any alteration to the natural features of your property will tend to increase the “hydrologic response” of your property to rainfall and spring melt. More water reaches the lake and adjacent water bodies faster than under natural conditions and this will carry with it higher levels of contaminants such as nutrients, organic debris and sediment. Groundwater flow also increases.
  • Simply clearing vegetation from a lot can result in increased nutrient loading to the water without even considering the use of fertilizers. Leaving it natural is best from a Bay impact perspective – and leaving it natural requires the least maintenance.


Landscaping can be accomplished with minimal disturbance, using environmentally friendly alternatives. Consider some of the following to improve:

  1. The Appearance
    • protect wildlife corridors and restore or rehabilitate disturbed areas;
    • consider replacing lawn with native plants, shrubs and trees;
    • provide a strip of vegetation between your dwelling and the water which will decrease the volume and velocity of runoff;
    • provide a canopy of trees which will improve the efficiency of any vegetation strip by reducing the impact of rainfall and wind;
    • provide a better view of the lake by trimming a few tree branches and leaving the trees standing;
    • if you must fertilize, use organic products such as compost and never over fertilize; also consider using lake water which has many nutrients;
    • consider landscapes which limit your use of water for lawn care and yard cleaning.
  2. The Use
    • make use of the natural vegetation already present;
    • border gardens with vegetation, a gully or structure to prevent loss of soil and nutrients;
    • perennial plants are preferable to annuals since they establish a root matrix that binds the soil year round;
    • limit the use of paved or impervious surfaces which increase runoff.
  3. The Operative Features
    • place structures on your property with environmental suitability and function in mind;
    • make use of natural slopes and depressions to trap or shed water;
    • maintain as much of the natural vegetation as possible;
    • during excavation use appropriate erosion control techniques and materials;
    • use clean fill only, as required;
    • replant vegetation as soon as possible after disturbance.
Municipality of Callander 705-752-1410
North Bay District Ministry of Natural Resources 705-475-5550
North Bay – Mattawa Conservation Authority 705-474-5420

This information has been prepared as a guide only. Please contact the appropriate authorities prior to any works on your property to ensure that rules and regulations are interpreted appropriately for your individual circumstances.