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?  

Test your knowledge of these Bay-Wise principles and use the Bay-Wise Yardstick to see how you measure up. 

  • Controlling Storm water Runoff
  • Encouraging Wildlife,
  • Protecting the Waterfront
  • Mowing properly and Watering Efficiently
  • Managing Yard Pests
  • Mulching and Recycling
  • Fertilizing
  • Planting Wisely

[NOTE: Due to Corona Virus concerns and for the safety of our volunteers and clients, consultations, certifications and distributions of rain barrels are suspended for now.  We will update when it is safe to continue. Please use the online resources on this site in the interim.]

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

On-Site Consultations

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.

Demonstration Garden

The Bay-Wise Master Gardeners with the support of Howard County have converted the garden at the entrance to the Alpha Ridge landfill into a trial garden 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. 

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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