Boulevard Gardening

Perennial plants in pots in the foreground, with a sign saying "this is a natural space." Several people in the background talking and looking at plants.

Community members pick out plants for their boulevards at a plant giveaway in downtown Dartmouth.

Did you know that planting perennial blooms in the public right-of-way, known as boulevard gardening, can have positive impacts on the environment, our communities, and on our physical and mental health? The average urban boulevard, consisting of sod and volunteer weed species, offers none of these benefits. 

In 2020, the Halifax Regional Municipality passed the Administrative Order respecting Boulevard Gardening, which allows residents greater control over what they can plant in their abutting boulevard strip. This change also supports HalifACT, the municipality’s climate action plan. We’re pleased to be launching a pilot program encouraging residents to plant their boulevards with native perennial plants.

Check out our resource booklet for details on which species to plant, where to plant them, and how.  

A man in gardening clothes rolls up a piece of sod in a road boulevard. Two other men talk in the background.

Sod removal from the boulevard right of way strip allows for more space for planting native species.

Benefits of perennial boulevard gardening:

  • Perennial planting sequesters carbon. In fact, 100 square feet (about the area of an apartment bedroom) of perennial planting will sequester 355KG of CO2 in 50 years.
  • Perennial plants attract pollinator species such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
  • Deep-rooted perennial plants reduce erosion and stormwater runoff. (helping to delay negative impacts from our changing climate?)
  • Perennial plants beautify a street with flowering plants and grasses that have multi-season interest.
  • Boulevard gardening offers opportunities to connect with neighbours and passersby as you tend to your garden in the streetscape.
  • Native species provide habitat for migratory birds and other urban wildlife.
  • Gardening can improve physical and psychological wellbeing.
  • Plants taller than sod provide a visual screen and reduce noise pollution.
Two men plant perennials in a right of way boulevard.

Native plants are planted in a boulevard on Dahlia Street in Dartmouth in fall 2022.