Note: These regulations are a general summary only and may vary depending on your lot characteristics and/or your location in the City.

The City of Toronto has harmonized the requirements for the widths of driveways and the amount of landscaping in the front yards of small residential buildings in the City.

Landscaping definition
An area used for trees, plants, decorative stonework, retaining walls, walkways or other landscape or architectural elements. Driveways or areas for loading, parking or storing of vehicles are not landscaping.

Soft landscaping definition
Soft landscaping is a defined term under Zoning By-Law 438-86 and reads; which means an open, unobstructed area that supports the growth of vegetation such as grass, trees, shrubs flowers or other plants and permits infiltration into the ground. Soft landscaping must allow for the planting of, and sustaining of plant material.

Soft landscaping excludes hard-surfaced areas such as decorative stonework, retaining walls, walkways, or other hard-surfaced landscape-architectural elements. Artificial turf is not acceptable or considered to be soft landscaping and is, therefore, not permitted.

General rules about driveways and landscaping:

  • In no case can the driveway exceed the width of the parking spaces (garages) located behind the front wall of building
  • For a lot frontage of less than 6 metres, the maximum permitted driveway width is 2.6 metres and 100% of the front yard area not covered by a permitted driveway must be landscaping. Of this, at least 75% must be in the form of soft landscaping
  • For a lot frontage of 6 metres to less than 15 metres, the maximum driveway width is 6.0 metres and a minimum of 50% of the front yard area must be landscaping. Of this, at least 75% must be in the form of soft landscaping
  • For a lot frontage of 15 metres to 23 metres inclusive the maximum driveway width is 9 metres and a minimum of 60% of the front yard area must be landscaping. Of this, at least 75% must be in the form of soft landscaping
  • For a lot frontage greater than 23 metres, the maximum permitted driveway width is 9 metres and a minimum of 60% of the front yard area must be landscaping. Of this, at least 75% must be in the form of soft landscaping
  • If a lot does not have a permitted driveway in the front yard, a minimum of 75% of the front yard must be soft landscaping.
  • If all of the parking spaces are in the rear yard, the maximum driveway width is 2.6 metres.


Note: Areas covered by permitted encroachments into required minimum building setbacks (platforms such as porches and exterior stairs) are excluded in the calculation of landscaping and soft landscaping areas. Please subtract this area from the area of your front yard before calculating your percentages.

For further requirements regarding front yard and back yard landscaping, visit one of the Toronto Building, Zoning Customer Service office locations in the district where the property is located.

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