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Strawberries by the sidewalk? New rules for L.A.'s residential parkways

October 27, 2010 | 10:56 am

StrawberryParkwayThe Los Angeles Board of Public Works approved new rules Monday for residential parkways, that strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street. The city's revised Residential Parkway Landscaping Guideline allow homeowners to plant drought-tolerant ground-cover plants without a permit. Previously, the only permit-free plantings allowed were street trees and lawn.

"A lot of people look at the parkways as an extension of their frontyard, and it really has a different purpose and therefore has to be held to a different standard," said Lance Oishi, senior landscape architect for L.A.'s Bureau of Street Services.

Technically, parkways are part of the street, Oishi said. They are not private property, even though homeowners are required to maintain them. 

"People have to be able to get across the parkway, and sometimes they're too shrubby or bushy, so those generate complaints for us," he said. The new guidelines were developed to address those situations, Oishi said, noting that the last time the city issued parkway guidelines was in 1974.

Now homeowners can select from among 20 drought-tolerant types of turf and turf substitutes, including buffalo and bermuda grasses, sedge, yarrow, chamomile, dymondia, thyme, even certain types of strawberries.

Permits are required for all other plant materials or landscape improvements, including pavement, irrigation and storm-water capture systems. 

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo credit: Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services

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