Landscaping Rules You Need To Know

Tuesday Sep 03rd, 2019


Thinking about adding a gazebo to your backyard? Before you go and make your yard dreams a reality, it’s important to check up on your municipality’s landscaping regulations first. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you plan to embark on one of these backyard projects.


Adding a Structure

Whether you’re thinking of adding a gazebo, pergola, storage shed or any other kind of structure in your backyard, you may need to apply or obtain a building permit, as well as pay the applicable fees. This will need to be done before you begin any construction.

Once you’ve received the permit and your project has begun, you’ll need to book an inspection for your site, which may happen several times during the construction phase. Once the final inspection has been completed the permit is officially closed.

There are some projects that may not need a permit at all, such as outdoor structures that so not exceed a certain length or height. It’s important to double-check what the permit requirements are in your area.

Installing a Fence

Some cities have restrictions in regards to the height of residential fences. The City of Toronto, for example, stipulates that the maximum height for most front yard fences is 1.2 metres, while side and rear fences is between 2.0 and 2.5 metres. There are also restrictions on what materials can be used, such as barbed wire, sheet metal, or any sharp or electrified material.

There are different rules when it comes to swimming pool enclosures. In most cases, swimming pools are required to have a fence and therefore a permit will be needed.

Adding a Fire Pit

A fire pit is a great way to add some warmth and enjoyment to your backyard. However, they can pose hazards for people and the environment, which is why you should find out what your city’s rules are. In the City of Vancouver, for instance, fire pots, chimneys, or any wood-burning appliances are not allowed anywhere on private or public property. However, fixed gas and propane fire pits are perfectly legal, but individuals are still required to obtain a permit. Check your municipality’s fire code, ordinances, and permit requirements if you’re curious about the rules.

Adding a Hot Tub

In most cases, a permit is not required to install a hot tub in your backyard as long as it complies with the municipality’s zoning by-laws. Homeowners should follow the standards set by their city, which will stipulate where the hot tub can be located, the minimum distance it should be from the lot line, whether it will require a fence enclosure, and whether it is required to have a lockable attached cover.

Removing a Tree

In many cases, trees can only be removed if they meet one of the reasons listed by your municipality. For example, trees may be removed if they are dead, dying or diseased; if the roots are interfering with the sewage system; or if they are causing serious damage to your property. If one of those reasons is met, then you’ll most likely be issued a permit to remove the tree on your property. Some city standards also require homeowners to plant a replacement tree for every tree that is removed. Any unauthorized removal of trees, even on privately owned land, may incur fines and penalties.

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