Front Yard Gardens: Legal in Edmonton!

It’s possible to grow vegetables just about anywhere, as long as you have soil, sun and water. Gone are the days when you need to confine your vegetable pots or in-ground garden or raised beds or garden boxes to the back yard. If your front or side yard or balcony is ideal for a garden, then you can convert that space to grow food. Just think of all the time you will save by not having to mow the lawn! The City not only approves, but encourages you to plant vegetables instead of turf. There are no zoning rules to prevent you from gardening in your front yard. The exception would be if your Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or your Condo Board have restrictions that apply to your property, so be sure to check with them in advance. Otherwise, you do not need a permit. 

And, it gets better… gardeners like to have their garden tools handy, so storage sheds, cisterns, tool sheds, compost bins, or similar structures and seasonal structures such as hoop houses and cold frames can be anywhere in the front yard if  they are under 1.2m (4ft) tall. If taller than that, then they must be located beside the house or in the backyard. As well, there are no restrictions on how much of your property hoop houses or cold frames can cover if they are under 1.85m (6 ft) tall and each is under 10m2 (approx. 100 sq. ft). Just remember, over 1.2 m (4 ft) cannot be in your front yard, and once you exceed a height of 1.85 m, there’s a limit to how much land the hoop house or cold frame can cover (even in your backyard) based on what the property is zoned (you can search for your property’s zone through Edmonton Maps). Some final rules to review before you get started: Structures such as sheds, hoop houses, or cold frames larger than 10m2 (100 sq. ft) and taller than 1.85 m (6 ft) require a permit, and compost piles not in a bin must be hidden away from the road. Before digging, visit Alberta One Call to learn how to do so safely. Now all you need is to find a friend willing to dig up your front lawn while you social distance and dream about all the food you will have to share with your good friend, come the end of summer.

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