How to get involved

Let us help you plan and plant your property with native plants! Our naturalization outreach service includes a site visit, customized planting plan, hands-on planting and maintenance plan.

Browse our selection of curated plant kits to find the bundle that works best for your property. Pre-order online and pick-up at Abbey Gardens in May.

Gain the skills to create a naturalization plan for your property through our tours, workshops and speaking engagements.

 Shoreline & Property naturalization

Shoreline naturalization is the process of restoring a lake’s natural shoreline, typically by planting native species of vegetation along the water’s edge. Natural shorelines are vital to maintaining the overall health of a lake.  Shoreline plants protect from erosion, wave action and ice damage, moderate water temperature, flooding, and absorb nutrients from human activity. Did you know that shorelines are called the ribbon of life? Eighty to ninety percent of species depend on shoreline habitat for nesting, shelter, travel, reproduction, and feeding. 

Shoreline buffer zones extend 20-30m back from the lake. This area may include forest, home gardens, lawn, septic tile beds, and more! We can create plans to add native plants to any of these spaces. 

outreach service

Let us come to you for a site visit! Show us around your property to discuss your goals, needs, and concerns. We’ll share our preliminary ideas and discuss the natural features (and plants!) on your property. We’ll take soil samples, measurements, and photos as well. Site visits, led by our ecologist, are $150 plus tax within our main service area (50km round trip or less from Abbey Gardens). Mileage fees apply for our longer-distance clients.

Then, book our naturalization outreach service to receive a customized natural design & plant species list AND 50 free wildflowers or 20 potted trees or shrubs! We’ll install your plants, and provide you with a summary report and maintenance guide.  As an added bonus- we’ll credit back your site visit fee towards your final balance!

Past clients have used this naturalization service to:

    • Increase wildlife value
    • Create pollinator gardens, meadows, naturalized shorelines, and woodland spaces
    • Filter water-runoff
    • Create property privacy
    • Replace or minimizing turfgrass
    • Mitigate erosion
    • Support pollinators
    • Create an environmental succession plan for their property

We are aligned with the Natural Edge Programme of Watersheds Canada. 

Meet the ecologist

Cara Steele oversees restoration projects on the Abbey Gardens’ property and in the broader community, completing all phases including site assessments, design, plant sourcing and implementation.

She brings 14 years of experience in the restoration field and has completed forest, grassland, shoreline, and wetland restoration projects.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology as well as a post- graduate certificate in Ecosystem Restoration.

In 2022 + 2023

20 properties

9 lakes

1,966 + trees, shrubs, and wildflowers planted

Native Plant Sale

Figuring out what plants to buy for your property can be a daunting task. 

If you’re looking for a DIY option with a little help from the experts, our ecologist has curated plant kits that are uniquely tailored to the site conditions prevalent in our area:

  • The Pollinator Garden Kit is for sites with dry to normal soil that experience part shade to full sun. This kit includes a mix of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees that will attract pollinators throughout the whole season.
  • The Open Shoreline Kit benefits sites with low lying areas that have moist soil and at least six hours of sunlight per day. The wildflowers can be planted right at the waters’ edge to create a beautiful display of colour.
  • The Forest Garden Kit is appropriate for shaded shorelines that have dry to normal soil. Alternatively, the plants can be used to naturalize and add plant diversity to shady upland areas.

Plant kits will be available for pre-order this winter for a May 2024 pick-up.


& Tours

We offer a variety of talks, and tours focused on shoreline health and ecological restoration We’ve presented to school groups (classroom or field trip style), at lake association AGM’s, environmental community group speaking engagements, for private tours, and more.


Shoreline: An overview of shoreline naturalization principles coupled with tanglible lessons to help you select the right plants for your site conditions, and property goals! This workshop can be presentation style or offered at your waterfront property! Just gather your lake friends for an interactive learning experience, complete with property tour and hands-on planting. 

Contact [email protected] to learn more about our tours and workshops. 

From Gravel to Greenspace: Lessons we’ve learned from 10+ years of decommissioned gravel pit restoration efforts at Abbey Gardens. We’ll cover tallgrass prairie, meadow, mini forest, native plant garden, and shoreline restoration projects. Scalable and replicable projects for homeowners, community groups, public spaces, and more!