Urban Natural Homes May 6, 2015

Gardening in Parking Strips


I have to admit that until recently I hadn’t given much thought to gardening in parking strips, which is the strip of land in front of a property between the road and sidewalk. But in an urban environment where land is at a premium, it really makes sense to use every bit of it as creatively as possible. Parking strips are actually public property, but the SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation) encourages “the installation of low shrubs, perennial or groundcover plantings that provide a superior degree of separation between the sidewalk and street at reduced maintenance costs.” They even allow the growing of food in these public spaces, but require a free permit for raised beds, tree planting, or any hardscape structures.  It is noted on their website that they prohibit certain types of trees, including cherry, apple and pear species that can pose a safety risk to pedestrians when the fruit falls on the walkway. They also note that because the area is so close to the road, contaminants can often be found at potentially unsafe levels, so it’s a good idea to get a soil test before planting items meant for consumption. Taking a walk around many Seattle neighborhoods can provide ample ideas for creative parking strip plantings—is there a raised bed or perennial garden in your parking strip future?

SDOT/Environment & Conservation