Shoreline Management and Landscaping: Educational Resources for Landowners

The way we develop shoreline property, build our homes and businesses, landscape and garden can profoundly affect the environment which sustains our quality of life. Learn how to preserve native plant communities and use native species in landscaping which can help to reduce erosion and maintain slope stability. You will also help improve water quality, salmon habitat, the beauty of the region, and reduce landscaping and maintenance costs.

The plants listed below are provided only as a starting point and introduction to the landscaping value of native plants. Each plant has specific needs as to soil type, sun exposure, and soil moisture. The references provided here will help you develop a planting plan of species best suited to your particular situation and site conditions. Native plant landscaping can be specifically beneficial for shoreline property owners who are concerned about erosion and landslides. Increasing shoreline buffer widths and reducing the extent of lawns are two simple and effective steps that shoreline owners can take to help keep the Puget Sound area green.

Selected Native Species for Planting to Reduce Erosion and Maintain Slope Stability*


  • Swordfern
  • Deerfern
  • Trailing Blackberry
  • Kinnikinnik
  • Bunchberry
  • Twin Flower
  • Polystichum munitum
  • Blechnum spicant
  • Rubus ursinus
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Cornus canadensis
  • Linnaea borealis


  • Redtwig Dogwood
  • Cornus stolonifera
  • Common Snowberry
  • Symphoricarpos alba
  • Nootka Rose
  • Rosa nutkana
  • Baldhip Rose
  • Rosa gymnocarpa
  • Clustered Wild Rose
  • Rosa piso carpa
  • Red-Flowering Currant
  • Ribes sanguineum
  • Oceanspray
  • Holodiscus discolor
  • Serviceberry
  • Amelanchier alnifolia
  • Pacific Ninebark
  • Physocarpus capitatus
  • Mock-orange
  • Philadelphus lewisii
  • Beaked Hazel
  • Corylus cornuta
  • Vine Maple
  • Acer circinatum
  • Twinberry
  • Lonicera involucrata


  • Pacific Yew
  • Taxus brevifolia
  • Pacific Madrone
  • Arbutus menziesii
  • Douglas Fir
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Bigleaf Maple
  • Acer macrophyllum
  • Shore Pine
  • Pinus contorta
  • Western Redcedar
  • Thuja plicata
  • Western Whitepine
  • Pinus monticola
  • Sitka Spruce
  • Picea sitchensis
  • Scouler Willow
  • Salix scourleriana

*Note: It should be clearly understood that the use and success of plants to reduce erosion and slope problems is dependent on site specific conditions such as slope, aspect, geology, light and water availability, and soils. Planting on slopes requires a clear understanding of the processes affecting slopes, techniques to be employed to ensure success, and the potential hazards of working on steep slopes in vulnerable areas. Permits may be required before slope restoration planting begins. Check with the appropriate local city or county agency.

Useful Web Resources

Washington State Department of Ecology

(360) 407-6000 –

  • Vegetation Management: A Guide for Puget Bluff Property Owners, 1993, Elliott Menashe, WA Dept of Ecology. Publication 93-31.
  • Surface Water & Groundwater on Coastal Bluffs: A Guide for Puget Sound Property Owners, 1995, WA Dept of Ecology Publication #95-107.

WSU Extension

  • Grow Your Own Native Landscape: 1997, WSU Extension- Thurston County, Native Plant Salvage Project.

Washington Native Plant Society

(206) 527-3210 –

  • Native Plants of Western Washington, brochure:
  • Landscaping Ideas for the Environment, series:
  • Native Plants for Western Washington Garden:

Greenbelt Consulting

(360) 341-3433 –

  • Low Impact Development Techniques for Wooded Shoreline Homesites
  • Preserving Native Vegetation to Reduce Stormwater Impacts
  • Restoring Native Vegetation on Coastal Bluffs in Puget Sound – An Overview
  • Slope Revegetation: A Checklist of Factors to Consider
  • Value, Benefits and Limitations of Vegetation in Reducing Erosion

General resources

  • Shorelines landscaping plans:
  • Shoreline landscaping tips:
  • Landscaping for wildlife:
  • Shrink your Lawn!
  • King County Noxious Weeds:
  • Plant Right for Your Site – A guide to creating your own native plant landscape:
  • Where to purchase native plants:
  • Plant it Right Brochure:
  • Soils, compost and mulch use:
  • Natural Yard Care Booklet (includes watering):
  • Washington State University (WSU) Extension – Beach Watchers:
  • Island County Shore Stewards:

Useful Publications

  • Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Russell Link. UW Press, Seattle. 1999.
  • Grow your Own Native Landscape. Item MISC0273 WSU Cooperative Extension. Revised 1999. Order @ 1-800-723-1763
  • Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd edition. Arthur R. Kruckeburg. UW Press, Seattle 1996.
  • Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Jim Pojar and Andy Mackinnon. Lone Pine Publishing, Vancouver, BC. 1994.
  • Vegetation Management: A Guide for Puget Sound Bluff Property Owners. Elliott Menashe, WA DOE Publication #31-93. Order @ (360) 407-6000

Available for download as a PDF.