Boulevard gardening guidelines

Book exchange on traffic calmed garden in East Vancouver

Boost the character of your neighbourhoods and build up Vancouver's green space by beautifying boulevards (between the road and sidewalk), traffic circles, and street-corner bulges.

Our guidelines help you choose plants, consider food gardens, select ornaments and structures, and keep sidewalks and utilities clear.

Plants

Choose plants that flourish:

  • In all seasons
  • Without pesticides
  • Under 60 cm tall where visibility is a concern (like in traffic circles, in corner bulges, and near curbs, intersections, driveways, and sidewalk edges) or under 1 m tall where it isn't a concern

Food gardens

Before planting a food garden on your boulevard, consider:

  • The quality of soil and quantity of watering needed
  • How to make the boulevard look good in all seasons
  • The potential impact of neighbours and their pets

Ornaments and structures

Temporary structures and ornaments like raised garden beds or planters are allowed if they:

  • Meet our clearance and measurement standards outlined in the Boulevard Gardening Guidelines (see below)
  • Can be easily moved
  • Don't interfere with access to sidewalks or visibility

Sidewalks and utility clearance

On boulevards

To make sure sidewalks and utilities are accessible:

  • Maintain a clear path to sidewalks (if there are none, leave enough space so people walking don't have to go on the street)
  • Give people enough room to access their parked vehicles
  • Confirm where underground utilities are located, and avoid interfering with utilities
  • Maintain a clearance of 1.5 m around fire hydrants, utility poles, and permanent structures so they are visible to first responders and utility workers 

On traffic circles and corner bulges

Many traffic circle and corner bulge garden areas contain utility covers (manhole and valve covers). 

When planting in an area with utility covers:

  • Keep plants and soil clear of utility covers
  • If you place a pot of flowers on top of a utility cover, make sure a single person could easily move it

Work crews need to be able to see and access utilities that provide water, power, and telephone service.

Read the complete guidelines

More specific guidelines for street gardens

Water restrictions

Watering restrictions begin May 15. Find out when you can water your lawn, how to get an exemption, and why they are in place.

Gardening naturally saves time, money, and water.

Pesticide-free lawns and gardens

Pesticides can only be used in gardens to control infestations and destroy health hazards, not to beautify. Choose the right products and get tips.

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Chafer beetles

Learn how to recognize and manage a European Chafer Beetle infestation on your lawn.

Hogweed

Learn how the City of Vancouver controls giant hogweed and find out how you can help manage these dangerous weeds.