Shoreline Erosion Control - featured image

Rising water levels in Michigan and the Great Lakes has been in the news as record high levels have caused beaches to erode and, in some cases, damaged homes and businesses.  In Leland, Michigan, historic Fishtown has experienced flooding due to seiches and high-water levels. Throughout Benzie and Leelanau counties, Lake Michigan beaches have eroded to a fraction of what they were just a few years ago.

The rising water levels are due to record snowpack and rainfall over the last few years. In contrast, not long ago we were experiencing record low water levels. Historically, the Great Lakes go through natural cycle of changes in water levels. This means that waterfront homeowners need to plan for both high and low water levels.

Wind, waves, and ice all play a role in erosion.  The shoreline itself also contributes to how well it can resist these forces. Native vegetation helps to buffer the impact of wave and wind erosion and the composition of the soil and underlying rock all contribute to how the shoreline is affected.

What can a homeowner do to protect their shoreline and property?

Adding a seawall may seem like a logical solution but alternatives should be considered whenever possible. Seawalls can actually create more erosion by redirecting wave forces downward and undercutting the wall, or by flanking and eroding the areas directly adjacent to the wall.  Of course, a property on Lake Michigan versus an inland lake will have different conditions to consider.

Often rock (rock armor or “rip rap”) can be used as an alternative to seawalls. A rock revetment absorbs wave energy better than seawalls and reduces the chance of undercutting and flanking. They also provide better access for wildlife to and from the water as compared to a seawall. Rock revetments are also long lasting and can last for years. It should be noted that seawalls and revetments require approval by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership recommends the following strategies for preventing shoreline erosion.

  • Site your house a minimum of 100 feet from the lake.
  • Limit turf grass especially at the lake edge. Keep as many trees, shrubs and native plants as possible.
  • Minimize impervious surfaces to help prevent storm water from running directly into the lake. This helps minimize washing away of sand.
  • Keep the native plants in the lake or only remove a limited amount for boating access or swimming. Plants in the water along the shore help protect the shoreline by absorbing wave energy.

 

Are you ready to make your lake house dream a reality? Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss your home building plans.

Lakehouse Foundations and Septic Systems - featured image

It is said that in Michigan, you are never more than six miles from a body of water. Michigan also has the longest freshwater coastline in the world. We are very fortunate to have such an abundance of water!  No wonder so many people dream of owning a waterfront home.

When you envision your perfect home on the water, you probably think of the beautiful views, the sunsets, boating and swimming, or the calming effect that water has on so many of us. But with all the idyllic charm comes the reality that building a custom waterfront home can be challenging due to the very nature of a waterfront property.

When building a waterfront home, two unique challenges are foundations and septic systems. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Water Tables, Foundations, and Basements

Having a home near water usually means a high water table. Many things determine your actual water table such as soil type, drainage, and of course distance from the body of water.

The water table will influence your foundation design and a full basement might not be an option. State and local building codes also play a role in determining the requirements for your homes’ foundation.

During the planning stage, a survey of the property can help determine the elevation of your basement and other key points in relationship to the water table and the base flood elevation for the surrounding properties. This will help determine whether a full basement is practical or if a crawls space is more appropriate. An Elevation Certificate can be issued by the surveyor and is an essential for obtaining flood insurance.

Water drainage also needs to be considered when planning your new home. Managing water away from the foundation can be facilitated in many ways including French drains, gutters and even landscaping and vegetation.

Based on your individual situation and house design, we will design and build a foundation that is appropriate for your conditions and will endure the unique natural forces that waterfront properties face. While this may sound daunting, rest assured that Lakeshore Custom Homes has years of experience building custom waterfront homes in unique settings.

Septic Systems for Waterfront Homes

A well designed and properly functioning septic system safeguards ground water and nearby lakes and streams from contamination. Obviously if you are investing in a waterfront home, you want to be assured that you will have safe drinking water and be able to enjoy your lake to its fullest while protecting your investment.

Factors that affect the design of a home septic system include:

  • Household size
  • Soil type
  • Site slope
  • Proximity to bodies of water

In most cases, a traditional septic system will be approved by your local health department, however in special circumstances, there are many other alternative design options. We are experienced working with the county health departments, and local building inspectors, and will advise you on design and placement of septic systems and wells.

Are you ready to make your lake house dream a reality? Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss your home building plans.