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 …

Parking Strips: A Unique Design Concept

A narrow parking strip planted with turf and tree saplings between a residential street and a sidewalk

Turn this into something beautiful. Parking strips offer opportunities for unique design concepts.

A parking or park strip is a narrow strip of land between the sidewalk and the street often used as a right of way for public utilities and traditionally planted with street trees and turf.  Although the municipality owns the strip, the homeowner is responsible for its upkeep.

Parking strips offer unique, if not challenging, opportunities for water conservation in the landscape. They can be as …

Irrigating the Parking Strip

Irrigating the parking strip (also called a park strip) is often a challenge.  Parking strips are often long and narrow and in some cases irregular in shape.


sprinklers overspraying onto a sidewalk


Sprinkler overspray wastes water. Photo credit: Adrien  Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


soaker hose emitting water droplets


Using drip emitters or soaker hoses in the parking strip can help save water. Photo credit: JobyOne Flickr CC BY 2.

Irrigation of these areas is often overlooked, and parking strips can become unsightly.  Property owners adjacent to the park strip …

Parking Strips: Water Conserving or Weed Magnet?

Parking strips can be either water conserving or weed magnets. Parking strips are often “out of sight, out of  mind” for many homeowners, especially in older neighborhoods without pressurized irrigation systems and can quickly become weed magnets.

Dragging a hose across the sidewalk is inconvenient and possibly dangerous to pedestrians.

One way to address this issue is to create a water conserving park strip. A water conserving parking strip is simply a parking strip that uses less water than …

Problems with Parking (Park) Strips

Maintenance issues are the biggest problems with parking strips. Municipalities have the right-of-way in park strips, however, homeowners are responsible for maintaining them. 

Very narrow parking strips with lack of effective irrigation can also create maintenance problems.





Roots heaving a sidewalk. Source: Forestry Images CC BY-NC 3.0

Problems with Parking Strips


  • Difficult to irrigate due to their long narrow shape, overspray onto sidewalks and streets is common
  • Odd shapes may need drip systems for effective irrigation to the

Parking Strips: Plant Selection

Parking strips, the generally long, narrow strips between the street and sidewalk, can make plant selection more challenging.










Many types of plants are available for creating an attractive water conserving parking strip. Plants should be selected for hardiness, sun exposure, soil and pollution tolerance, and mature size.

Many parking strips contain existing street trees. Consider the orientation of existing trees. Is there morning or afternoon shade under the trees?  Are …