How to Maximize Outdoor Space at Your Waterfront Property

maximizing outdoor space

You can picture it now. Relaxing outside, sipping evening cocktails from your lounge chair and enjoying the soothing sounds of the water from your perfect outdoor view. You’ve worked hard for your waterfront property, and it’s nearly time to enjoy it. Now that you have the waterfront property of your dreams, you want to make the most out of your outdoor spaces. 

designing outdoor spaces

You might have some ideas about what you want, but perhaps you’re not quite sure where to start or which features are most important. From landscaping to seating to boats and docks, you have a lot to consider when designing the outdoor spaces at your waterfront property.

If you’re wondering how to maximize the outdoor space at your waterfront home or property, follow these helpful tips to get you started in the right direction.  

Table of Contents:

1. Add Creative and Functional Landscaping to Your Outdoor Space

landscaping waterfront property

Landscaping your waterfront property is one of the best ways to maximize the space. There is a range of various landscaping projects you can delve into as a way to improve your outdoor area and enjoy your waterfront property. Depending on where your property sits compared to the water and the shoreline will dictate the types of projects you can consider. It is wise to pay close attention to the natural soil and foliage around the waterfront and consult with professionals before getting started on any major shoreline construction. 

That said, there are a lot of small to medium-sized projects you can dive into on your own or with the help of a landscape professional.

ideas on landscaping waterfront property

Whether you’re thinking of hiring a landscape contractor or doing it yourself, here are a few ideas to get started landscaping waterfront property.  

Understand Zoning Laws

First, it’s vital that you realize landscaping your waterfront property starts with understanding your local laws and regulations. Some landscaping projects are lengthy and extensive, requiring permits and adherence to local zoning laws. Check with your landscaping contractor and double-check both state and local zoning regulations before you commit to starting a project at your waterfront home or property. 

Many times, states and local governments have zoning regulations and laws in place to protect natural habitats and shorelines, so it’s important to understand these before moving forward with any type of major landscape construction. 

Build Retaining Walls

Since waterfront properties frequently have slopes leading down to the water, retaining walls work well for controlling erosion and managing the grade of the slope. If you have a sloping yard, or you’re worried about your land eroding from rain, then a retaining wall is a great choice for your waterfront property. Retaining walls are also aesthetically pleasing to look at, and you could plant different shrubs and foliage to help them blend with the rest of the yard and enhance your landscaping.  

Retaining walls are generally made of wood, stone or brick. If you’re landscaping your waterfront property, then you should consider building with either stone, brick or a combination of the two. You’ll want to stay away from using wood for a retaining wall as it can easily rot from all of the moisture and humidity. You’ll also want to consider the rest of your outdoor decor and use materials and designs that fit. For example, if your patio has stone pavers, consider choosing similar stones for your retaining wall. 

Add Sod and Grass

One of the best ways to maximize outdoor space at your waterfront property is by adding sod or grass. You can have the sod installed or you can grow the grass yourself from seeds. Just be sure to double-check that any chemicals or fertilizers you’re using are safe for the environment around your waterfront property. 

Some products can disrupt the natural ecosystem, especially if they run off into the water your property sits on. These chemicals could affect the health of various wildlife such as fish and birds. If you enjoy fishing the water near your property, then you have an especially large interest in avoiding harmful chemicals.  

Once you’ve decided on installing sod, growing grass or a combination of the two, then it’s time to plan for the optimal growing time. You’ll want to sow grass seed in late winter or early spring, and be careful around sodding so it establishes a strong root system. Research how to water your grass and maintain it for optimal growth. 

Once you’ve got the lawn of your dreams, you’ll have a nice green space and outdoor area to enjoy family activities. In addition to adding a pleasing aesthetic to your property, grass gives you a great place to enjoy games and activities with your family and friends when you’re not out on the water. 

Create a Walkway to the Shoreline

Create an easy way to access the shoreline or beach from your house with a nice walkway. You can build a walkway from your home or patio to the shoreline using wooden boards, brick pavers or by pouring concrete slabs.

considerations in waterfront landscaping

This type of project can be a large undertaking, so there are a few things to consider before you get started: 


  • Distance from the house to the shoreline: Consider the size of the walkway you’re going to build by measuring the distance from the house to the shoreline or area of the yard you want to access. The length of the walkway will dictate the cost and amount of time you’ll have to invest.  
  • The condition of the ground and soil underneath: You don’t want to install brick pavers on top of sandy or saturated soil because it will cause them to shift and crack. Do a thorough check of the soil before breaking ground on any sort of paver installation. If the soil is too loose or sandy, then you’ll want to consider a different material such as wood.
  • Elevation changes in the yard: A yard with a deep slope or steep climb to the shoreline or edge of the yard makes it difficult to install a walkway. If you have too many elevation changes, then you’ll likely want to consider having a professional consultation. For steep slopes, consider stairs as an alternative.  

Install a Fire Pit

Nothing says summer nights outdoors quite like sitting next to a warm cozy fire and roasting marshmallows with your loved ones. If that sounds like your idea of fun, then consider adding a fire pit as a way to maximize your outdoor space. Fire pits are a great way to enhance your outdoor waterfront experience at night.  

You can add a fire pit to your waterfront property by either purchasing a premade one from a home improvement store or by building your own. You can build a perfectly safe fire pit by digging out a small area in your yard, making sure to have enough space and depth for the logs. Line the bottom of the pit with gravel and add concrete blocks to the sides to keep the fire contained. 

As always, be sure to practice safety when you’re building fires to enjoy by the waterfront by supervising children and never leaving them unattended. Also, be sure to check your state’s laws on fires, especially in dry, arid seasons. 

Create a Better View of The Water

Sometimes, you might have trees and other growth close to the shoreline blocking your view. If foliage or trees are blocking your view of the water, then consider having some of them cut back or transplanted to help clear your view. Keeping some trees might be best for help with drainage and erosion, but a landscaping company can help trim branches that block your view.

Another way you can create a view of the water and enjoy your landscaping design from your house is by installing large glass doors or windows that overlook the water. Floor-to-ceiling windows both enhance your view of the water and offer more natural lighting in your home. 

One of the best ways to see the water is from higher ground. If you don’t already have one, then consider building an elevated deck or porch onto your waterfront property. You can also build a small accessible balcony off of a bedroom or living space, which will give a better view of the water while creating additional outdoor space to enjoy.  

2. Create an Outdoor Living Area at Your Waterfront Property

Improve your waterfront property by creating an outdoor living area where you and your family can relax and enjoy the water. This area can be near your house or closer to the shoreline depending on the type of lot your property sits on. Adding an outdoor living area will certainly help you maximize your outdoor space by providing you and your family with a comfortable area where you can relax outside. 

Creating an outdoor living area is typically a larger, more time-consuming and costly project. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll likely want to consult with a professional contractor before getting started. Most outdoor living areas are paved spaces that connect to the house and have paths or walkways down to the shoreline.  

waterfront property features

Further enhance your outdoor living area and waterfront property by adding these features to the space:

  • Outdoor patio furniture: Add patio furniture to your outdoor living space to give you and your guests a comfortable place to sit down and relax. Include a table with an umbrella to create a space where you can enjoy shaded meals by the waterfront. You’ll also want to consider adding a few lounge chairs for relaxing and tanning.  
  • A gas or charcoal grill: Install a gas or charcoal grill to bring food and fun outside on your waterfront property. You can choose anything from a high-range gas grill to a simple charcoal pit to satisfy you and your family’s needs. Nothing says fun summers by the water quite like the smells of a barbecue.  
  • A rinse-off or shower area: Living next to the water also means you have to deal with sand and dirt from the shoreline. Installing a rinse stall or showerhead allows you to clean off all that annoying sand and dirt before entering the house. As an added benefit, this feature will keep you from constantly sweeping and cleaning your floors. 

These are just a few additional features to consider adding to your outdoor living area. Depending on the amount of outdoor space you have to work with on your waterfront property, you may want to include additional features such as a jacuzzi tub or extra storage for your gear.   

Install Additional Lighting

Installing additional lighting is an excellent way to maximize your outdoor space at your waterfront property. Additional landscape lighting such as solar light stakes or string lights adds a cozy, comfortable feel to your outdoor area. You can purchase packs of solar lights that you stake into the ground as well as string lights from home improvement stores. You might have to run an extension cord from an outside socket to the area where you ultimately decide to hang your string lights. 

String lights come in different lengths, so be sure and measure the area before shopping for lights. You can even purchase strings of LED lights that resemble glass bulbs. Most of the outdoor string lights available at home improvement stores are waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about taking them down or covering them every time it rains. 

You can be as simple or complex as you like when it comes to installing additional lighting around your outdoor waterfront property. One great benefit to installing additional outdoor lighting is it’s easy to do when you’re on a budget but has an enormous impact on your design.   

Add a Screened-In Porch

Already have an elevated deck or porch built onto your waterfront property? Consider screening in your porch or deck area as a way to enhance your outdoor experience and create flexibility in the way you utilize the space.  

Screening your porch will allow you to enjoy that outdoor space whenever you’d like by providing protection from storms, wind and pesky insects. Transform your porch or deck into a pleasant, private outdoor area you can enjoy all year long. If you still want a truly outdoor space with exposure to the sunlight and elements, then you can always add retractable awnings and screens that allow you to pick and choose the best times to enjoy a covered area.    

Another benefit of investing in a screened-in porch or deck space is the protection from bugs such as mosquitoes and gnats. Living next to the water usually means having to deal with a variety of insects. To protect your food and your family, install a screen for your porch area so you can enjoy the outdoors unencumbered.  

Include Additional Outdoor Storage

Using your outdoor waterfront property for fun family activities means you’ll likely have a lot of extra equipment and toys around that need a place for storage and organization. Include some outdoor storage around the waterfront to maximize your outdoor space and keep it tidy and organized. You can buy storage bins and chests that are weatherproof, and some can also be locked to prevent theft. 

If you have a boat and your own boat dock, then you’ll also need a place to store all of the materials and equipment you need to clean and maintain them. You probably also have a number of life jackets, fishing poles, inner tubes, waterskis and other accessories for enjoying life on the water. Include some outdoor storage options around your waterfront property to keep all of these items safe and secure.

3. Get a Boat and Dock for Your Waterfront Property

What fun is having a waterfront property without owning a boat to take out on the water? Enhance your enjoyment of your waterfront property with your very own boat.

purchasing a boat

Purchasing a boat is a big decision, so there are a few different considerations you need to make before you buy:

  • Setting your budget: First, you’ll of course want to consider a budget. How much money are you looking to spend on your boat, and what features do you want? Some boats come with high-end features, while others are more simple. Decide the amount of money you’re willing to spend on a boat before you start looking. 
  • Activities you will be using the boat for: Consider what activities you and your family will be using the boat for. You can use your boat to enjoy a range of fun water activities such as waterskiing, fishing, swimming and tubing.  
  • Launching and docking your boat: You will want to have a dock and possibly a boat launch or port installed on your waterfront property where you can safely dock your boat and access it whenever you’d like. If you don’t yet have a dock installed on your property, then you’ll want to take into consideration the nearest marinas and any fees associated with docking your boat there.   
  • Body of water your property sits on: Deciding on the type of boat to buy needs to be based on the type of water your property sits on and where you plan to use your boat. Whether or not you’re boating on a river, lake or ocean will dictate the types of boat you can consider. For example, a pontoon boat or kayak is not ideal for ocean use.

Types of Boats

There are many different types of boats to consider buying for enjoying your waterfront property. Choosing the boat that’s right for you depends on the body of water you’ll be using it on. Oceans, rivers and lakes have different challenges, so you’ll need a vessel that can adequately meet the demands of the water your property is on. 

types of boats

Since you likely aren’t operating a fishing business or other operation from your boat, you’ll look for something known as a pleasure craft. There are many types of pleasure craft, including:

  • Pontoon boats
  • Houseboats
  • Inboard ski and wakeboard boats  
  • Sailboats
  • Sportfishing boats
  • Bowrider boats
  • Deck boats
  • Paddlecraft boats

Again, the type of boat you choose depends on the body of water you’re on. Pontoon boats are great if you’ll be boating on a river or lake, but they aren’t meant to be used in the open ocean. Likewise, some lakes have rules banning speedboats and similar craft to reduce noise and provide a safer environment for everyone.

Partner With EZ Dock When Developing Your Outdoor Waterfront Space

What good is having a boat without the ability to access it when and how you’d like? Installing a dock and a boat launch on your waterfront property is one of the best ways to enjoy life by the water. 

Maximize outdoor space by installing a floating EZ Dock and a boat launch on your waterfront property.

using EZ Dock

There are several advantages of using EZ Dock, including:

  • Freedom to come and go as you please
  • Increasing the value of your home
  • No rental fees
  • ADA accessible options
  • Easy maintenance compared to traditional wood docks
  • Simple access at any water level

Explore the many different docking and boat accessories from EZ Dock to enhance your waterfront property today. We offer a range of floating dock options designed to meet your needs. 

Learn more about EZ Dock

Get started learning more about the ways EZ Dock can help you develop your outdoor waterfront space by filling out an online contact form today.