Vegetated foreshores in front of existing dikes can contribute to the overall reduction of wave loads on the dike. In order to test this concept in large shallow lakes a field pilot was constructed along the Houtribdijk in Lake Markermeer (the Netherlands) in 2014 to gain experience with construction, stability, maintenance and governance aspects. A large scale monitoring programme was set up to follow the hydrodynamic forcing, morphological changes and vegetation development on the pilot. The pilot is located on an exposed south-westerly direction, and experiences substantial wave impact. As a result the desired vegetation on the land-water interface has not been able to establish, but a rather dynamic sandy beach is currently the main feature along the waterline of the site. Higher up the slope planted reeds, and a mixture of willows has well established itself in the first growing season. The exposed position of the location makes that hardly any natural pioneer vegetation has settled, only in small sheltered areas some annuals were able to germinate and maintain themselves.