University of Maryland Extension

Bay-Wise Landscape Management


Our mission is to educate residents about landscape practices that protect the Chesapeake Bay and our local waterways.  By changing a few simple practices, together we can help keep our Maryland water healthy.  Are you Bay-Wise?  Watch this short video and then see how you measure up. 

Master Gardeners support and recommend Bay-Wise Gardening principles through the following activities:

Annual Bay-Wise Garden Tour

Each fall the Bay-Wise team sponsors a garden tour of a Howard County property to illustrate the landscaping practices designed to improve the health of our local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.  The properties featured on the tour prove that ecological garden practices are compatible with a beautiful well designed landscape.  


On-Site Consultations [NOTE: We are experiencing a large volume of requests;  we ask for your patience and we will arrange a consultation for you as soon as possible.]

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, Integrated Pest Management, composting 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

Bay-Wise Certification

A Bay-Wise team can be invited to your home to evaluate your landscaping practices.  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 advertise their Bay-Wise status.  If you are interested in obtaining certification, begin the process by contacting our office at 410-313-2707.

Bay-Wise Community Education

Members of the Bay-Wise team are available for presentations addressing Bay-Wise landscaping practices.  Topics include: Bay-Wise overview, Storm Water Management, Rain Barrels, Rain Gardens, Green Roofs and Landscaping without Lawns. 

Team members also install displays on Bay-Wise topics in the Howard County libraries.

Howard County Gardens and Landscapes

The Bay-Wise Master Gardeners in conjunction with Howard County have installed a demonstration Rain Garden at the Alpha Ridge Landfill.  Rain Gardens are designed to collect and absorb runoff thereby improving water quality, reducing flooding, and increasing property value with an attractive landscape element.  For educational information and garden designs suitable for home landscapes, check out these documents and presentations:

Landscaping for Water Quality

Rain Gardens - Do I Want One

Rain Gardens - How to Build One

Maintaining Your Rain Garden

Rain Barrel Give-Away

Free barrels are available to Howard County residents at the Alpha Ridge Landfill. The yearly schedule for rain barrel distribution is included on the fact sheet.  Coincident with the rain barrel give-away Master Gardeners will also distribute compost bins and explain the benefits of the demonstration conservation landscape installed near the entrance to the landfill. 

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