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Landscaping in Toronto

Last modified: 2021-10-26 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Amanda Harvey

A well-kept and intricately designed front lawn will allow you to explore your creativity while adding to the curb appeal of your home. Landscaping is a valuable practice and can involve elements from trees and plants to decorative stonework and architectural elements. Taking on a landscaping project can be a quick DIY job or a week-long undertaking. Either way, if you’re living in the city of Toronto, it is important to make sure you’re following the rules when it comes to tampering with your lawn and the surrounding areas.

As the prices of homes in Toronto rise and property becomes increasingly valuable, it is more important than ever to take care of the land on which yourself and your home live. But, before getting started it is important to figure out what can be planted, excavated and removed on your lawn. Read on to find out the specifics about landscaping for a home in Toronto.

Everything to know about landscaping in Toronto

Soft-scaping versus hard-scaping

source: Pexels

Depending on what type of landscaping you plan on taking on, the rules will vary. Soft landscaping, which is sometimes referred to as soft-scaping, will generally have slightly different municipal rules and regulations than hard landscaped areas, also known as hard-scaping. Soft-scaping excludes decorative stonework, retaining walls, walkways, and other hard architectural elements.

Also, driveways do not qualify as landscaping and come with building rules and regulations that fall outside of landscaping rules. It is important to note here that artificial turf including mock-grass and Astroturf are not permitted as a grass replacement in Toronto and the GTA.

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Permits and regulations for landscaping in Toronto

As is clear from our last section, it is crucial to check your local municipality for the rules and regulations regarding landscaping of any sort. If you are planning any landscaping work that falls outside of your property lines, you will require a permit.

Depending on the type of permit you need, the application process will vary. If the work you plan on undergoing is close to an existing tree, then it would be important to take note that all trees on city property cannot be tampered with. Your new landscaping plan must take these trees into consideration. Further, trees planted on private property with a diameter of 0.30m or greater cannot be touched.

An application will need to be submitted with both major and minor landscaping jobs. Major landscaping jobs extend more than 1.2m measured from the sidewalk, whereas minor jobs are anything that exceeds less than 1.2 m. Depending on the type of job, the application will vary. However, when applying for any form of landscaping permit, you will have to submit a proposal, a cover letter and 6 sets of drawings alongside the application.

There are specifications for these drawings, but they should be thought of as blueprints for your project. Specifications for these drawings and other application stipulations can be found here. Lastly, all applications require a non-refundable fee. 

Toronto landscaping climate

source: Pexels

As mentioned, there are plenty of aspects to landscaping that does not only include plants. However, it is crucial to plant for your native land. Not only will these plants have a better chance of surviving, but they will require less water than those which thrive in different climates. Water-efficient plants are one of the ways to grow a beautiful garden or add to the curb appeal of your home. These plants are low-maintenance while remaining attractive.

They also attract native wildlife, birds and butterflies. Some Toronto-native favourites include: Bee Balm, Big Blue Stem, Black-eyed Susan, False Sunflower, Purple Coneflower, Hyssop and Wild Bergamot. You can find a full list of plants that are native to Toronto here. Working with these plants encourages natural biodiversity, and these plants will not require pesticides to stay alive. Further, native wildflowers are self-seeding, meaning they will not need to be replaced year after year. These flowers adapt to the local climate and soils, which will help you save time and money.

To see examples of landscaping and exterior renovation projects completed by contractors, check out "10 examples of landscaping projects". 

Get 3 renovation quotes for your Toronto landscaping project can help you get quotes for your Toronto landscaping project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from companies that are specialized in home renovations.

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