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Did you receive a “Landscaping Encroachment” letter from the City of Vancouver requiring you to trim back a hedge that is impeding the city sidewalk? You have 30 days to get the work done yourself before a City crew comes in and hard prunes your garden themselves. Landscaping Encroachment notices are served when people can’t walk by on a sidewalk without touching the hedge.

landscape encroachment sidewalkHigher Ground Gardens has provided this type of hedge trimming and pruning service to homeowners, with great satisfaction. By hiring a professional contractor, you gain control over the final look of your encroaching hedges, plants or trees. If the pruning and trimming is left to be done by a city crew, your hedge may get hacked without regard for the final appearance of the hedge. The City crew’s priority is to provide a safe passage along the sidewalk, nothing else.

Following are the City of Vancouver Gardening Guidelines concerning landscaping encroachment. Outlined are the types of encroachments that are unsafe (impeding public lands) and acceptable (planting of boulevards).

Boulevard landscaping encroachments
When trees and bushes are overgrown, they can impede streets, curbs, and boulevards. Similarly, fences and gates can improperly impede the street.
This is called a boulevard landscaping encroachment.
“Encroachment” is defined as any type of vegetation, man-made object, or personal property that exists on, or extends from a person’s premises, on to public lands.

Unsafe boulevard landscaping encroachments

Unsafe landscaping encroachments may include:
• Unsafe fences, gates, hedges, rockeries, and bollards installed or constructed
• Vegetation (trees, hedges, bushes, and so on) that are impeding traffic or pedestrians
• Trees on City boulevards that need maintenance (unstable trees, hanging or fallen branches, and so on)

NOTE: Planting on City boulevards is permitted if it follows City guidelines and does not impede traffic or pedestrians.

Acceptable landscape boulevard encroachments of sidewalks and utilities

To make sure sidewalks and utilities are accessible:
• Maintain a clear path to sidewalks
• If there is no sidewalk, leave enough space so that pedestrians do not have to walk on the street
• Leave passengers room to get out of their cars
• Confirm where underground utilities are located, and avoid interfering with utilities

Maintain a clearance of 1.5 m so that fire hydrants, utility poles and permanent structures can be seen from the street and sidewalk