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Boulevard Gardens

The City of Barrie has a policy regulating gardening on the municipal boulevard, the area of city-owned land between the homeowner’s front property line and the street curb.

The policy arises from increasing efforts by residents to beautify their streetscape. The attractive gardens contribute to Barrie’s success as a winning community in the international municipal beautification contest Communities In Bloom, which recognizes the efforts of municipalities, corporations and individual citizens who are striving to improve their community through horticulture, heritage and the environment.

Guidelines and Registration

Homeowners are required to register their boulevard garden with the City and agree to follow guidelines. Registration ensures that the homeowner is provided with the guidelines and gives the City a chance to notify about scheduled construction within their boulevard so the homeowner has time to salvage plants before construction begins. Note: no notice can be given for emergency works.

There is no cost to register. Once the resident submits a signed Guidelines & Registration Form to Service Barrie they are free to begin their garden (Suggested Plant List).

Following the guidelines helps reduce taxpayer costs for damages to City maintenance vehicles, staff time, and avert potential injuries. Those interested in adding to the beauty of their neighbourhood may also find that their boulevard garden is a stop on the Communities in Bloom tour.

City of Barrie Boulevard Garden Policy

Property owners are encouraged to maintain the standard turf grass municipal boulevard in front of their property. Property owners wishing to install alternatives to sod shall follow the non-standard boulevard landscape treatment guidelines.

Guidelines for Non-standard Boulevard Treatments

  1. The property owner shall sign this policy below to attest they have read and will follow these guidelines and shall submit their signed policy to the City for registration prior to commencing a boulevard garden (see below).
  2. It is the responsibility of the property owner to locate all servicing, such as gas, phone, Hydro, cable etc. prior to commencing any works on the boulevard.
  3. All boulevard gardens shall be limited to perennial or annual plant materials up to 60cm* tall except within street intersection lots where plants shall not exceed 30cm tall (in order to preserve driver sightlines over corner daylight triangles). Shrubs up to 30cm in height are permitted. Decomposable mulches are permitted. Noxious weeds and invasive plants are not permitted. PLEASE NOTE: PROPERTY OWNERS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO PLANT TREES ON THE MUNICIPAL BOULEVARD.
  4. A 30cm setback shall remain in place for all sidewalks, curbs and driveway edges to prevent tripping hazards.
  5. The landscape treatment shall maintain positive surface drainage.
  6. Property owners shall maintain their sidewalk free and clear of all debris in accordance with City of Barrie Municipal Code 88-260 Section and Nuisance By-law 2004-142 Section 2.
  7. The City of Barrie reserves the right with due notice to require that the boulevard be returned to turf grass at any time at the property owner's expense, failing which the City may remove all non-compliant material and restore the boulevard to the turf grass standard.
  8. It is the responsibility of the property owner to locate their property line through their legal survey. In accordance with Zoning By-law Section (Residential) retaining walls or fences shall be set back 0.3 metres from any lot line abutting a street. Hedges shall be set back 1.0 metres from the front lot line. In the case of a corner lot, hedges shall be also set back 1.0 metres from the side lot line abutting the street. Permanent installations such as in-ground irrigation systems, fencing or hard mulches such as pea gravel or small rocks are not permitted on the boulevard.
  9. In the event that emergency works are required that will disturb an existing boulevard garden, no notification will be provided. In the event of scheduled boulevard works, city staff will notify the homeowner two weeks in advance, giving them the opportunity to salvage plant material. Following any boulevard works, the boulevard will be restored to the sod standard unless the homeowner states their intent to reestablish the boulevard plantings within 30 days, weather permitting. Reestablished boulevard gardens should be in compliance with this policy. Following the 30 day period, if no homeowner plantings have taken place, the city will restore the boulevard to turf. The City of Barrie assumes no responsibility for the cost of repairs of any damages to the garden on the boulevard.
  10. The property owner shall maintain clear and easy access to all above ground and underground services including but not limited to fire hydrants and valves, Bell pedestals, and Hydro transformer boxes.

    * 1”= 2.54 cm

Muskoka Gardens

Muskoka Gardens is the term the City of Barrie uses to promote the use of native and low-water use plants that thrive in our climate. There are a great variety of plants that require only the water that Mother Nature provides in order to survive.

Some advantages of native plants are listed below:

  • They tolerate our weather better than non-native plants
  • They are more resistant to disease and thus require less fertilizer and pesticides
  • They require much less work; you simply let Mother Nature take its course. ​

Suggested Plants List


Common Name Latin Name
Beebalm Monarda didyma
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
Blanketflower Gallardia x grandiflora
Blazing Star Liatris spicata
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis
Coreopsis Coreopsis spp.
Daylily Hemerocallis spp.
Dragons Blood Sedum spurium
Evening Primrose Oenothera fruiticosa
Garland Flower Daphne cneorum var.
Hens and Chicks Sempervivum
Lupine Lupinus spp.
Maltese Cross Lychinis chalcedonica
Moss Pink Phlox subulata var
Pincushion Flower Scabiosa
Poppy Papaver spp.
Purple Coneflower Echinacea pupurea
Sage Salvia spp.
Saxifrage Saxifraga
Shasta Daisy Chrysanthemum x superbum
Snow-In-Summer Cerastium tomentosum
Speedwell Veronica spp.
Spiderwort Tradescantia
Yarrow Achillea spp.
Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Colorata Euonymus Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’
Periwinkle Vinca minor
Thyme Thymus spp.
Winter Heath Erica carnea
Ornamental Grasses
Fescue Festuca spp.
Hairgrass Deschampsia spp.
Sedge Carex spp.
Sweet Flag Acorus calamus
Variegated Manna Grass Glycera maxima ‘Variegata’
Crocus Crocus spp.
Daffodils Narcissus spp.
Grape hyacinths Muscarii
Iris Iris spp.
Scilla Scilla
Snowdrops Galanthus
Spanish Bluebell Endymion hispanica
Summer Snowflake Leucojum aestivum
Tulips Tulipifera spp.
Low Spreading Evergreens
Arcadia juniper Juniperus Sabina ‘Arcadia’
Blue Rug Juniper Juniperus horizonalis ‘Wiltonii’
Dwarf Canadian Hemlock Tsuga Canadensis ‘Cole’s Prostrata’
Golden Japanese Yew Taxus cuspidata ‘Aurescens’
Japanese Garden Juniper Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’
Prince of Wales Juniper Juniperus horizontalis ‘Prince of Wales’
Siberian Carpet Cypress Microbiota decussata


Common Name Latin Name
Deadnettle Lamium maculatum var.
Bethlehem Sage Pulmonaria saccharata var.
Goat’s Beard Astilbe spp.
Common Bugle Ajuga reptans
Ivy Hedera Helix
Bergenia Berginia cordifolia
Sweet Woodruff Galium odoratum
Periwinkle Vinca minor
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Colorata Euonymus Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’
Japanese Spurge Pachysandra terminalis
Plantain Lily Hosta spp.
Blue Lungwort Pulmonaria angustifolia
Maidenhair Fern Adiantum pedatum
Lady Fern Athyrium filix femina
Hayscented Fern Dennstaeditia punctilobula
Christmas Fern Polystichum acrostichoides

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