Hell Strip or Boulevard Gardens


Can anyone help point me to any City of Toronto rules on hell strip gardening? I am thinking about replacing parts of my front lawn with gardens.


To quote from the City of Toronto’s Green Streets Technical Guidelines….Green Streets are road rights-of-way that incorporate green infrastructure to complement or replace grey infrastructure. Green Infrastructure (GI), as defined in Toronto’s Official Plan, refers to “natural and human-made elements that provide ecological and hydrological functions and processes” (Toronto, 2015). Examples of GI options that can be integrated into Green Streets include: street trees, green walls, alternate energy sources (wind / solar) and high efficiency lighting, Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater infrastructure and more. In addition to supporting the environmental objectives of the TGS, Green Streets are designed to focus on the at-source treatment of stormwater runoff. Green Streets typically employ a ‘treatment train’ of GI options that are designed to replicate the function of a natural drainage system by attenuating, filtering and infiltrating stormwater runoff as close as possible to where it is generated. This approach to managing runoff can reduce or even eliminate the requirement for a conventional (grey infrastructure) stormwater conveyance and management system. Green Streets help to build a city that is resilient to climate change and contributes to an improved quality of life.

The link to the complete document is below.

In the past, homeowners were discouraged from planting on the boulevards, but now our society recognizes the need to help the environment. I planted my Markham boulevard in 2004. A neighbour reported me for it. The City investigator came out to find out more about what he termed a “nuisance report” and told me he wished everyone would do the same. There is one caution, though, no matter where you live. If the city needs to dig up the area for repairs to underground services, the homeowner cannot object. So far, so good for me.

I would also add that you might pay attention to the height of plants you put in so they do not block anyone’s driveway view…and also, avoid planting any veggies that might absorb too much of the metals and salts common to roadsides.