Landscaping on Spring Island should not be thought of as added beautification, but rather as another part of the home and the Island: create outdoor rooms with natural screens for walls, with trees and trellises forming roofs.

Nature Curtain Management


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purpose of a nature curtain is to screen the view of the home so that the home does not dominate the landscape as viewed from outside the property. Nature Curtains are 50’ along the roadway at the front of your Estate lot and 25’ along each side lot line. They should resemble a nature preserve and appear unmanaged. There should be a healthy tree canopy with a diverse understory of shrubs, seedlings, grasses and herbaceous plants.

While your Nature Curtains may have been full when your home was built, as the trees and shrubs have matured and vines and sapling trees have grown in, the understory screening has been lost. Nature Curtains which are not meeting their desired purpose as screening may require management to restore this function. Consult the Trust Landscape Ecologist before beginning landscape management in the Nature Curtain. Extensive planting or tree removal may require HRB Approval.

A Spring Island Certified Landscape Contractor should be used for the work. To learn more about the certification requirements contact the Trust Landscape Ecologist at 843-987-2016. The work should typically be done in late winter or early spring when plant recovery will be most rapid. The following is a description of work which may be approved in the renovation of a Nature Curtain.

  • Cut tall, leggy shrubs to within 1 foot or less from the ground to encourage low branching. Shrubs in the Nature Curtain should never be sheared for a formal appearance.
  • Remove crowded, small or unhealthy trees to develop a widely spaced canopy with dappled light reaching the shrub layer. Areas with closely spaced oak or pine saplings will require significant thinning and shrub planting to restore a diverse understory.
  • Plant only native plants appropriate to the habitat in the nature curtain. Plantings are to be arranged randomly, in natural masses.
  • Remove vine masses which are shading shrubs and trees.
  • Maintain plantings in the nature curtain and driveway entrances by only irrigating during a limited establishment period and removing vines which have covered plants. Growth of additional native shrubs and herbaceous plants is to be encouraged.

The addition of plants to the Nature Curtain should take into consideration the plant composition of neighboring lots and Nature Preserve property. These plantings should be appropriate to the habitat type and should blend with existing habitat along roadsides and property boundaries.