University of Maryland Master Gardener Baywise Howard County Bay Wise Demo Sign

It is our mission to educate residents about landscape practices that protect the Chesapeake Bay and our local waterways.  We offer the following programs to Howard County residents. Together, by changing a few simple practices we can help keep our Maryland water clean and  healthy.  Are you Bay-Wise?  

Bay-Wise Certification

Test your knowledge with the Bay-Wise Yardstick to see how you measure up.  If you exceed 36 inches and would like to become certified as a Bay-Wise homeowner, save a copy of your completed yardstick pdf and email it to  We’ll contact you to schedule a confirming visit.  Homeowners who meet a threshold of good Bay-Wise practices are awarded a Bay Wise certificate and may optionally have a small sign installed on their property to recognize their Bay-Wise status.

Homeowner Consultations

Not ready for certification?  Homeowners may request an on-site evaluation of their property by a team of Howard County Master Gardeners and receive advice on dealing with concerns such as storm water management, erosion, lawn care, Integrated Pest Management, composting, creating wildlife habitat and inclusion of native plants in the landscape.  The consultations are offered at no charge and can be initiated by completing a Homeowner Consultation Request Form

Community Education

Look for Bay-Wise exhibits at community events and in Howard County libraries.  Team members are also available for presentations to community groups on topics including Bay-Wise Landscaping, Storm Water Management, Trees, Rain Gardens, Green Roofs and Landscaping without Lawns.

Demonstration Garden

The Bay-Wise Master Gardeners with the support of Howard County converted the garden at the entrance to the Alpha Ridge landfill into a trial site to test the ability of various perennials to survive under heavy deer pressure.  Small plantings with varying site requirements are evaluated annually for response to deer browse. Stop by and check it out.

Useful Links

Growing & Maintaining a Fescue Lawn

Landscape for Water Quality

Maintaining your Rain Garden

Maryland Native Plant Sources

Native Plants

Permeable Paving Fact Sheet

Rain Gardens - Do I Want One

Rain Gardens - How to Build One

Tried and True Native Plants