Boulevard Gardening Permits Procedure

Purpose statement

This procedure outlines the Boulevard Gardening Permit process for installation within the municipal right of ways and shall have regard to public safety, traffic egress and ingress and the availability of the proposed location in conjunction with other approved town activities or uses of the right of way.


This procedure applies to the permitted installation of boulevard gardens within the municipal right of way, under the jurisdiction of the Town of Oakville.


Permits for any installation of boulevard gardens within the municipal right of way are issued through the Engineering and Construction department and shall comply with all applicable by-law(s), policies and regulations.

Requests for boulevard gardening permits must be made not less than five (5) business days in advance of the proposed installation date. Permit applications must include the following:

  • Payment of all applicable fees.
  • A signed and completed boulevard gardening Permit Application. If the applicants property is located within an unassumed subdivision, the applicant must submit a declaration letter from the developer stating that:
    • the developer issued a lot grading certificate for the applicants lot, and
    • the developer has completed all boulevard works in front of the applicants home to town standards save and except any material deficiencies, and
    • the developer provides their consent to the application
  • Two copies of a detailed plan on 8.5” x 11” paper showing the proposed boulevard garden(s). The plan shall show all existing topographical features, all property boundary lines for the lot fronting the boulevard garden and shall be labelled with street names, municipal addresses and a north arrow depicting true north. The plan shall show the dimensions of the proposed garden and its location relative to fixed features (curb lines, property lines, sidewalks, etc.), so that such proposed garden area(s) can be easily be identified in the field.
  • Two copies of a list of the species of plants to be used
  • Utility location data will be transcribed from field marks, by the applicant, onto the detailed plan
  • Copies of any additional permits from other town departments or other public agencies, if required.


  1. A boulevard garden is permitted within the boulevard area of a municipal right of way. The boulevard garden permit will only be issued for the public boulevard space directly abutting lands owned, rented or leased by the permit holder. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to locate their property line through a legal survey.
  2. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to locate all servicing, such as gas, phone, Hydro, cable etc., prior to commencing any works on the boulevard. (Call before you dig Ontario One Call: 1-800-400-2255).
  3. Boulevard gardens must not pose a danger to the public, compromise drainage, impair any sightlines, or adversely affect the delivery of municipal maintenance activities.
  4. The Department of Engineering and Construction will not issue permits for driveway entrance alterations within unassumed right of ways unless the application is made with the consent of the developer responsible for the street construction.
  5. Boulevard gardens shall use low maintenance, drought and salt tolerant plants. See recommended plant list (available on the Boulevard Gardening page). Invasive plant material is not acceptable. As invasive plant lists are regularly updated, we strongly recommend you periodically check this site to ensure the plants are not considered invasive.
  6. Plant height can vary depending on location of the boulevard garden.
    1. In general, plant material shall not exceed 1.0 m (3.0 ft) in height so that it does not impair any sightlines (intersections, driveway, etc.)
    2. Plants in corner lot sight areas shall be no higher than 0.8 m (2.5 ft) above the elevation of the nearest point on the adjacent roadway.
    3. Plants shall not overhang the sidewalk or path or pose a hazard to users of same.
    4. Fire hydrants must be easily visible and accessible from both the street and sidewalk. Plant material shall be maintained no taller than 15 cm (6 in) in height within 1.5 m (5 ft) of hydrants.
    5. Utility structures also require easy access and the areas around them are very likely to be excavated, thus easily replaced plant material is recommended and plant material shall not exceed 15 cm (6 in) in height within 1 m (3 ft) of a utility structure.
    6. Roadside ditches and drainage swales provide an important function to conduct storm water safely away. Plant material shall not interfere with proper water flow. It is the permit-holder's responsibility to ensure that proper drainage is in no way impaired.
    7. Street trees require special care. No plants, including lawn grasses, shall be grown within 0.5 m (1.5 ft) of a newly planted boulevard tree.  After two years, shallow rooted annuals and perennials can be planted around the tree with the understanding that the health of the tree should not be compromised. Be aware that a tree requires less frequent watering than many flowers. Be careful not to overwater garden beds around trees.
  7. Boulevard gardens are intended to provide growing spaces for plant material and as such a minimum of hard surfacing materials should be used. If hardscaping is used, it must not interfere with sightlines, sidewalk snow-clearance, access to utilities, and safe pedestrian movement (see condition 9). No hardscaping may project more than 10 cm above the nearest grade.
  8. Permanent installations such as in-ground irrigation systems are not permitted.
  9. Raised planters shall not be used to contain the boulevard garden.
  10. The boulevard garden shall be at grade with any adjacent sidewalk or path edge to minimize movement of mulch or inorganic materials and prevent gaps that could cause pedestrians to trip.  The permit holder is responsible for maintaining this level.
  11. Localized mounding may be permitted however the height restriction set out in condition 5 cannot be exceeded and shall (in the case of mounded areas) be interpreted as a total height restriction which considers the height of both the mound and plant material.
  12. Compost-based mulch is recommended within the boulevard garden area and tree bed area to inhibit weed growth, provide nutrients and retain moisture.
  13. Should the boulevard garden be used as a parking area, the boulevard garden permit will be revoked and the permit holder will be instructed to remove the boulevard garden and return the area to a grassed condition.
  14. The permit holder accepts full responsibility for the boulevard garden and assumes all risk related to its presence, including any damages to same arising out of any works undertaken by the town, authorized works by others or damages resulting from any accident within the municipal right of way.
  15. The town or authorized person(s) will endeavour to provide advance notice to the permit holder with the intent of advising the permit holder of works that have the potential of negatively impacting the boulevard garden, thereby providing the permit holder an opportunity to salvage their boulevard garden material prior to the works commencing. In the case of emergency work, where time is of the essence; such notice shall not be provided. Upon completion of the works, the town or authorized person(s) will restore the boulevard to grade and advise the permit holder that the boulevard garden must be reinstated (at the permit holders expense) within 30 days, else the Town or authorized person(s) will restore the boulevard area with topsoil and sod.
  16. The Director of Engineering and Construction reserves the right to revoke a boulevard garden permit at any time and will provide notice of such revocation to the permit holder wherein the permit holder will be instructed to remove the boulevard garden within 5 calendar days.
  17. The Director of Engineering and Construction may direct the removal or alteration of any boulevard garden within the municipal right of way which has not been:
    1. permitted
    2. installed in accordance with the permit issued, or
    3. maintained in accordance with this procedure or any other relevant regulations and by-laws.
  18. Notwithstanding the above, all risk, responsibility and expense associated with any boulevard garden located on any municipal right of way is the responsibility of the permit holder.
  19. In the event the permit holder refuses or fails to remove or properly remediate an improperly installed boulevard garden as directed, the Director of Engineering and Construction is hereby authorized to remove the boulevard garden and/or perform the remediation works as deemed necessary. All costs incurred by the Town of Oakville in performing such work shall be invoiced to the permit holder with a 20% administrative fee.


Boulevard: for the purpose of this procedure means the grass or earthed area(s) between the roadside curb or in the case of no curb, the back slope of the roadside ditch/swale and the property line.

Corner Lot Sight Area: means that part of a boulevard adjacent to a corner lot that is bound by the edge of pavement of the intersecting streets and a line extending through the points on each lateral property line measured 9.0 metres from the point of intersection of the lateral property lines.

Director of Engineering and Construction: means the Director of the Engineering and Construction department of the Town of Oakville or his/her designate.

Hardscaping: means paving stones, boulders, stones, gravel, concrete asphalt, rail, or any other hard materials.

Sidewalk or path: means the improved portion of a municipal right of way that is intended primarily for the use of pedestrians and/or cyclists and is situated between the road and the lateral property line of the municipal right of way.


The Road Corridor section of the Department of Engineering and Construction is responsible for ensuring compliance, maintenance, interpretation of the procedure and the associated policy.

Procedure details

Procedure Number: MS-PER-004-002
Parent Policy: MS-PER-004
Section: Municipal Services
Sub-Section: Permits
Author: Engineering and Construction
Authority: CAO
Effective Date: 2009 Jun 29
Review by Date: 2015


Use of Roads By-law
Boulevard Gardening Permit Application Form