Did you know that the City of Vancouver has a program called “Green Streets” which provides residents beautifying guidelines for the green space near their homes?
Most homes have a patch of grass that lies between the sidewalk adjacent to your home and the street curb. This space is called the boulevard. And although it’s normally planted with grass by the city, residents are encouraged to add some character to their neighbourhoods by planting flowers and plants.
These boulevard gardens, as they are called, are part of the greater community, so it’s important to remember that you should keep your gardens tidy and free of garbage. At the end of the day, beautifying these patches benefits the entire city. It helps personalize your neighbourhood and property and you’re also building a sense of community pride and ownership. Not to mention it helps with curb appeal when looking to resell your home.
If you have a “boulevard” next to your property it is ultimately your responsibility to upkeep this patch of land. Most of the time, it’s just grass that needs to be mowed regularly, but there are also sometimes plants and flowers planted on boulevards that require regular maintenance.
However, if you would like to install a garden on the boulevard near your home, you should read the City of Vancouver’s ‘Boulevard Gardening Guidelines’ (http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/boulevard-gardening-guidelines.pdf) in order to ensure you’re following the requirements. Don’t forget that sidewalks need to be accessible at all times, and that utilities (underground pipes, fire hydrants, poles, etc.) need to be accessible as well by city workers.
When selecting plants, think about what will look nice year-round, survive without the use of pesticides, stay short and not grow over the curb or sidewalk.
If you enjoy gardening, but don’t have anywhere to garden or want to beautify your neighbourhood further, why not volunteer to garden traffic calming spaces in-and-around Vancouver’s residential neighbourhoods? The city will pay for initial planting and as a volunteer, you’ll get to work with the City of Vancouver officials and the community to help maintain these gardens year-round.
The City looks for people with all skills and level of interest. You can provide regular upkeep by watering and weeding the spaces, or you can add your favourite plants to create more colour and allure to the area. Look for green or yellow signs in gardens in residential settings to determine what is needed. The former means the garden needs assistance, while the latter means the garden is already being tended to.
By volunteering with the green streets program, you’ll gain a sense of community, meet fellow gardeners and help beautify your city in the process. You’ll learn from fellow volunteers and have access to mentor gardeners who are part of the Master Gardeners Association of BC. There’s also an invitation-only Autumn Green Streets Garden Party where your hard work will be celebrated with your fellow volunteers.