Parking Strips: City Ordinances for Planting Parking Strips

What is an ordinance?

An ordinance is a local law enacted by a municipal government that deals with public health, safety, and morals.Some municipalities have ordinances that regulate what a homeowner can and cannot do on the parking or park strip (the strip of land between the street and the sidewalk). Traditionally, many cities have had restrictive rules about what can and cannot be planted in the parking strip. As an example of a parking strip ordinance, the city of Seattle, Washington, requires a permit before planting anything but sod in a park strip.Recent concerns about limited water resources and water over use has led to many municipalities changing their city ordinances to allow for water conservation on parking strips.Always check local ordinances before changing the parking strip. A few issues to keep in mind include:

  • Safety – height of plants or other objects in the parking strip may obstruct sight lines for turning, entering, and exiting vehicles
  • Irrigation
  • Weeds
  • Know the location of public utilities before you dig!

a mounded parking strip with water wise plants
Example of a diversely planted but well maintained parking strip.
photo credit: edgeplot, Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0