Environmental news from California and beyond
L.A.’s Board of Public Works approved new rules for residential parkways Monday. The city’s Residential Parkway Landscape Guidelines allow homeowners to plant drought-tolerant, turf-substitute ground-cover plants in their parkways without obtaining a permit. Previously, the only permit-free plantings allowed in parkways were street trees and grass.
“A lot of people look at the parkways as an extension of their frontyard, and it really has a different purpose and therefore has to be held to a different standard,” said Lance Oishi, senior landscape architect for L.A.’s Bureau of Street Services.
Technically, parkways are part of the street, Oishi said. They are not private property, even though homeowners are required to maintain them.
“People have to be able to get across the parkway, and sometimes they’re too shrubby or bushy, so those generate complaints for us. The guidelines were developed to address those situations,” said Oishi, noting that the last time the city issued parkway guidelines was in 1974.
Under the new guidelines, homeowners can select among 20 drought-tolerant turf species, including buffalo and bermuda grasses, sedge, yarrow, chamomile, dymondia, thyme, even certain types of strawberries.
Permits are required for all other non-standard plant materials or landscape improvements other than grass and drought-tolerant substitutes, including pavement, irrigation and storm-water capture systems.
— Susan Carpenter
Photo: Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services