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5 Steps to a Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Landscape

By changing a few simple landscape practices, you can help keep Maryland waterways healthy.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program

Most Maryland residents live within a half-mile of a storm drain, stream or river. Most of those waterways eventually drain into the Chesapeake Bay.  What we do to maintain our own landscapes can affect the health of our local waterways (drainage ditches, streams, and rivers), the Chesapeake Bay, and our environment.

By changing a few simple landscape practices, you can help keep Maryland waterways healthy. The University of Maryland Extension (UME) Bay-Wise Program provides environmentally sound landscaping resources and Bay-Wise landscape certification opportunities to Maryland residents.


Many UME Master Gardeners from across the state of Maryland have been trained to educate the public about garden, landscape, and Bay-Wise best practices. UME Master Gardeners concentrate on several key Bay-Wise focus areas such as how to plant wisely, fertilize wisely, water efficiently, mulch appropriately, control stormwater runoff, encourage wildlife, and much more.

Are You Ready to Become Bay-Wise Certified?

Here are the 5 steps:

  1. Print the Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick(s) and check off the actions that you have completed.  Your goal is to reach or exceed 36 inches on the Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick for each Bay-Wise Certificate.
  2. Contact the UME Master Gardener Coordinator for your county Bay-Wise Program to discuss your Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick results and request a Bay-Wise Certification site visit.  For a complete list of participating counties, please see Additional Resources found below.
  3. Print and complete the UME Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick Application.

    Print Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick Application

  4. Submit your completed Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick(s) and UME Bay-Wise Maryland Yardstick Application to your local UME Master Gardeners.
  5. Congratulations! Your landscape is now Bay-Wise Certified! Once the UME Master Gardeners have completed your Bay-Wise certification site visit and approved the necessary documentation, they will certify that your landscape meets the UME Bay-Wise Program certification criteria and provide you with our signature blue Bay-Wise Sign to display in your landscape.

    Susan & Marvin Thomas are UME Master Gardeners of Washington County and Bay-Wise Certificate recipients.

The UME Master Gardeners and the UME Bay-Wise Program are eager to hear from you! Just imagine the positive impact we can all make by working together! The more Maryland residents make Bay-Wise decisions in their gardening and landscaping practices, the healthier our waterways will be for future generations to come.

Thank you for taking the next step!

For more information, please visit our UME Bay-Wise Program website.


Video courtesy of Washington College Campus Garden Project, Queen Anne’s County, and Kent County UME Master Gardeners. To learn more about the Washington College Campus Garden Project, please visit the Campus Garden website.

University of Maryland Extension Programs

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