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Learn More About the City of Burlington’s Bylaw for Naturalized Lawns


In order for the City of Burlington to do our part in efforts to protect species and help our environment, the City made changes in 2018 to our Lot Maintenance Bylaw to allow for naturalized lawns. Please click the link if you’d like to take a look through it.

The bylaw spells out the types of grass, weeds and plants that are permitted as per the Provinces Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5, as amended, on properties.

It defines a naturalized area as: “a yard or a portion of a yard containing vegetative growth that does not form part of a natural garden that has been deliberately implemented to produce ground cover, including one or more species of wildflowers, shrubs, perennials, grasses or combinations of them, whether native or non-native, consistent with a managed and natural landscape other than regularly mowed grass.”

In addition, the bylaw requires that all property owners remove and destroy all noxious weeds from their property, including within naturalized areas, between May 1 and Oct. 15 of each calendar year.

There are numerous examples across the City of naturalized lawns where no enforcement action is taken due to the manner in which the lawns are carefully grown, maintained and cared for and where a buffer strip is maintained. The City’s bylaw defines a “buffer strip” as cutting all grass and ground cover within three (3) feet of any adjoining property line. Similar bylaws exist across municipalities within Ontario.

The City of Burlington receives hundreds of complaints every year regarding the issue of tall grass and weeds, as well as naturalization of properties. All complaints are investigated and treated the same under the provisions of our Lot Maintenance Bylaw that allows the naturalization of properties. We give all property owners the right to clear and maintain their property to the provisions set out in the Lot Maintenance Bylaw.

Enforcement only takes place after all avenues are exhausted by our Municipal Bylaw Officers with the property owner whose property has not been brought into compliance with our bylaw.  When it comes to enforcing bylaws in the City of Burlington, City staff always try to work collaboratively with residents including educating them about our bylaw requirements.

I and the City encourage residents to continue to do their part to help the climate anyway they can including growing and maintaining naturalized lawns that fall within our Lot Maintenance Bylaw.

We invite you to attend one of the city’s upcoming community workshops or complete an online survey to share your ideas and help us develop Burlington’s climate action plan. Click this link for more details:


I am fully supportive of naturalized lawns and feel they can add to the beauty of a neighbourhood while helping our environment and protecting local species.

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5 thoughts on “Learn More About the City of Burlington’s Bylaw for Naturalized Lawns”

  1. Before you send out Municipal Bylaw Officers to tear out someones naturalized garden, it would be a darn good idea to train them as to what is and isn’t a weed.

    Also, does this law apply to the backyard of a property that is not seen from the street? Would it apply to a backyard that was completely fenced off from it’s neighbours if the only way a neighbour could see it would be to stand on something and look over the fence?

    BTW, here is the site that shows what noxious weeds are: You may want to make sure your enforcement officers are familiar with this.

  2. We have a neighbor on Newport Street that has taken this to the enth degree. Her front door is no longer visible as all the grass and whatever else has grown up in her front yard! I believe that it is a safety hazard. If you do not believe me just take a ride up to Walker’s Line and Dundas area is where Newport Street is and take a look. It will not take you long to pick out this house.
    You are right Kevin, who is going to enforce this? This house looks like it is abandoned!

  3. Your illustrations didn’t leave any spots for our record dandelion crop in Canada’s Dandelion Capital. Please also display my city-owned boulevard. There is no room for grass.

  4. As always… who is going to enforce this?
    “… the bylaw requires that all property owners remove and destroy all noxious weeds from their property…”
    I see, for instance, Ragweed… everywhere, when I walk around Burlington…

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