Non-standard boulevard treatment

Did you know Winnipeggers are able to spruce up the City-owned boulevard in front of their home?

Residents can plant, landscape or otherwise decorate boulevards. The City has guidelines for these non-standard boulevard treatments. Residents whose project will follow the guidelines do not need a permit. 

Please note: Residents whose plans don't follow the guidelines need a permit. So do those whose boulevards are at certain locations.

Residents are also responsible for pre-planting utility clearances and ongoing maintenance.

Non-standard boulevard treatment guidelines

  • The project can't interfere with driver or pedestrian sightlines, cars on the road or people on the sidewalk.
  • Projects cannot harm trees or tree roots.
  • Access must be maintained to:
    • Fire hydrants
    • All City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro, and Bell MTS infrastructure and equipment
    • Canada Post mail hubs
  • Snow clearing equipment must be able to safely operate. There must also be space for snow storage on the boulevard if required.
  • Residents cannot create or wide a private approach (to do so, the resident must take out a permit). 
  • The boulevard must be graded to prevent water from pooling and ponding. Rainwater and snow must have a path to flow from the edge of the right of way into the street drain.
  • Residents cannot plan fruits, vegetables, noxious weeds, or toxic and poisonous plants. Examples of prohibited plants include angel’s trumpet, black nightshade, castor bean, climbing nightshade, leafy spurge, and water hemlock).
  • Nothing other than sod can be planted within one metre of the curb and .5 metres of the City sidewalk.
  • Features must not weigh more than 10 kg or grow to be more than one metre in height.
  • Stones or other aggregate materials must be between 20 mm and 40 mm in diameter.
  • Designs cannot include any concrete or asphalt, apart from at-grade paving stones.
  • Residents must have their neighbours sign a written agreement if the project extends beyond their own property’s boulevard.

Planning, development, and maintenance

Residents must obtain an underground clearance from all relevant utilities via Click Before You Dig before doing any digging on the boulevard.

One way around this requirement is to create above-ground garden beds on the boulevard. We recommend the following process for above-ground beds:

  1. Start by layering old newspapers on top of the existing turf
  2. Place your soil right on top of the paper
  3. Plant your garden
  4. If/when any grass peeks out, pull it as you see it.

Residents are responsible for boulevard maintenance. Maintenance requirements include:

  • Keeping grass no more than 15 cm tall
  • Keeping other vegetation shorter than one metre 
  • Controlling noxious weeds
  • Keeping the boulevard free of garbage.

Inspectors regularly monitor boulevards throughout the City. Residents with non-compliant boulevards can expect to be contacted directly by the City.

It is important for residents to know that once a boulevard is beautified, all items and vegetation on it become City of Winnipeg property.  Boulevards are provided for public safety and quick access to utilities like water, hydro, telephone and fire hydrants. Emergency or routine work may require excavation or removal of vegetation.

Removal to accommodate City work does not require resident approval. The City cannot provide compensation for any removals. We will make every effort to contact a homeowner ahead before removal when possible.

Permit requirements

Residents are required to obtain a permit for all planned non-standard boulevard treatments that either do not meet all the guidelines, are wider than 20 feet, or are at any of the following locations:

  • Beside a regional street
  • Flanking properties beside a regional street
  • In a ditch where grass has never been planted

It costs $43.05 (including GST) to apply for a non-standard boulevard permit. You can download a permit application online, and submit it via one of of two methods: 

  1. Email or fax it to 311
  2. Submit it in person at the Public Works Customer Service desk at 1155 Pacific Avenue

Application forms must include details of your proposed treatment, a site plan, and contact information.

Once you have completed and submitted an application, a technician will contact you with next steps.

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