Contrary to popular belief, officials say, the city does not own the parking strip (more on this later). Most cities do regulate trees on the strip and maintain them as staffing allows. In many cases, however, any landscaping beyond those trees -- be it grass, flowers or shrubs -- is left to the homeowner to plant and maintain.
Some councils promote turf alternatives in the parking strips,
Though those rules are still on the books, times and tastes have changed.
"In the late 1970s and early 1980s, gardeners started using water-wise, better-suited plants such as common yarrow [Achillea millefolium] in place of turf grass," . With thousands of miles of residential roadways and only five landscape architects, the Department of Public Works can't review every parking strip. Instead, follow these unofficial guidelines:
"Plant low-growing plants, no more than 6 to 12 inches high, and the city won't make a big deal.
"Use plants that match the aesthetics of the yard, but don't let it get out of hand. Avoid thorny things. Keep shrubby plants below 30 inches -- no tall hedges or solid green walls, especially near driveways and street corners."
CITIES' rules and approaches to enforcement can seem inconsistent, partly because of the complex question of who controls the parking strip. State code says a homeowner's property includes the sidewalk and parking strip. But, he adds, because the land is a public right of way, if it's not cared for properly, the Department of Public Works can revoke the permit.