English Garden with wooden bench and wildflowers. Lorenza Marzocchi / iStock / Getty Images Plus / via Getty Images

Bylaw update to allow naturalized yards backed by city politicians

Less lawn cutting, more wildflowers.

A plan to update London's yard and lot maintenance bylaw to more clearly allow for naturalized yards has received the backing of a city committee.

The proposed changes would mean people could swap traditional grass yards for a variety of plants and wildflowers without the fear of a run-in with bylaw officers. Previously people who wanted to have a front yard filled with a variety of plant species had to apply for an exemption. That would no longer be the case.

The revised bylaw would also remove the definitions of "naturalized areas", "perennial gardens", and "wildflower meadows" to provide clarity for staff and the public and to reduce the bias toward traditional grassed yards. Instead, there will be a height limit of eight inches for traditional turf lawns and a three-foot height maximum for naturalized plantings near any corner visibility triangle or driveway visibility triangle.

"Amendments to the bylaw and deletion of a council policy regarding naturalized yards are intended to make it easier for people to grow what they want on their property, with regulations pertaining only to nuisances and public safety matters," read a report by city staff.

The changes would better align the city's approach to yard maintenance with its strategic plan toward health and wellbeing and climate change, the report added.

The report was presented to the community and protective services committee on Tuesday afternoon where it received unanimous support from all five members.

The proposed bylaw changes still have to go to council for final approval on March 5.

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