Ecoyards provides complete lawn and landscape services with an emphasis on quality customer service and environmental responsibility.

Gardening in planting strips

Posted on October 27th, 2012 by Andy


Ecoyards makeover of West Seattle parking strip.

All across Seattle, homeowners have been reclaiming the parking strip — the city-owned no-man’s land between the sidewalk and the street in front of their homes — and remaking it into a more beautiful or useful part of their home landscape. One of our neighbors has been working on a DIY project to transform her grass-covered parking strip into a low-maintenance but edible garden space. Because the city-owned property is public, she wants to install edible plants that would provide bounty to anyone in the neighborhood who wants to help themselves.

Other residents are making use of these parking strips to plant vegetables, install raised beds, add extra beautify to their landscapes or creating a landscape that doesn’t require mowing. After much uproar from citizens, the city of Seattle relaxed rules on gardening in planting strips back in 2009. Residents no longer have to pay the old $225 permit fee to plant in the space, but you still have to follow certain setback rules and height requirements.

The city keeps a master tree list of trees that can be planted in the parking strip. It offers useful information such as mature height, whether it can be planted under wires and what fall color it offers.

Here are some other questions and answers, taken from the city’s memo on the subject:

Do I need a permit? No permit is required if you are gardening in the planting strip in front of your house. A FREE street use permit is required if you plant a tree or install hardscape elements, such as a raised bed or pavers.

Can I grow food? Yes. The city allows you to grow food in planting strips as long as you follow certain height and setback guidelines. The city doesn’t allow “certain trees, including fruiting cherry, apple, and pear species that can pose a safety risk to pedestrians when fruit falls on the walkway.”

Where do I get a permit? Apply for a Street Use permit online, or in person on the 23rd floor of the Seattle Municipal Building at 700 5th Ave.



Filed under:Seattle Landscape Design, Seattle Landscape Maintenance, Vegetable Gardening | |

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