Conservation Landscaping

You protect the river. We’ll share the cost.

Converting bare or turfgrass areas on your property into low-maintenance conservation landscaping with locally-sourced, native plants makes the river cleaner and your home more beautiful. Even better, we’ll share the cost if your property qualifies. 

What A Native Landscape Will Do

Native landscaping uses plants that grow naturally in Coastal Virginia. You’ll create a beautiful home landscape, use less water and help restore the beautiful Elizabeth River.

  • Reduces pollution and help prevent algae blooms
  • Creates much-needed new habitat for birds and pollinators
  • Lowers your landscaping water bills
  • Slows stormwater runoff to reduce pollution 

What We’ll Do

  • Free site visit and consultation from our staff to identify potential projects and to see if your home qualifies 

  • Project design with $100 deposit applied to project cost upon installation
  • ERP staff will install the project or work with a local landscape contractor. Homeowners can also choose a preferred contractor if required or discuss DIY planting with ERP staff guidance.
  • Norfolk and Chesapeake: Cost share 50% of total costs up to $2,000
  • NEW! Virginia Beach: Cost share 75% of total costs up to $3,500
  • ERP staff will provide a long term maintenance plan for the project

Does your home qualify?

To be selected for the Native Landscape cost-sharing program, property owners must meet the following requirements:

  • Residential property located within the Elizabeth River watershed – Must be in Norfolk, Chesapeake, or Virginia Beach to qualify
  • Enrolled in the Free River Star Home program
  • Owner agrees to convert a portion of the property – preferably poorly draining or significantly eroding turfgrass – into a native landscape
  • Project area must capture direct stormwater runoff or be able to redirect water towards the planting area
  • Owner agrees to maintain the area as conservation landscaping with re-verification by Elizabeth River Project staff or relevant project funders after 5 years
  • Owner agrees to join or renew as an Elizabeth River Project member upon completion of installation

Our garden you designed looks amazing…it is beautiful and has lots of blooms. The garden has so much to watch for, we are so grateful.

Melanie Sanders
River Star Home

How to Apply

Application Period: Site Visit list is currently full. Please sign up for our waitlist.

Approval Process: Staff will review and respond to all applications after January 1, 2023 

Target Installation: Early spring 2023 through early fall 2023. 

Apply Now

Thanks to our Partners

Our Native Landscaping cost-sharing programs are only made possible through funding generous support from our partners and the hundreds of Elizabeth River Project members and donors.

  • City of Norfolk
  • City of Chesapeake
  • City of Virginia Beach


Landscaping Guide

Our Landscaping Guide presents four native landscaping designs, each accommodating common growing conditions in Southeast Virginia. They can be scaled to fit any garden or yard size and shape. The native plants featured in each design were selected for attractiveness and palette, local ecological value, and ease of maintenance and sourcing.

Milkweed Native Plant

Youth Water Monitoring Results

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