The Grass and Weeds Bylaw includes rules about height requirements of grass, weeds and vegetation on private properties, including any publicly-owned portions. The bylaw also outlines rules for having a natural garden.
The bylaw requires that property owners cut and remove the grass and weeds on their properties whenever these grow to over 20 centimetres or 8 inches in height. This includes any growth that is not part of a natural garden and was planted to produce ground cover, including wildflowers, shrubs and perennials.
Residents can contact 311 to report a property that is overgrown.
The bylaw considers grass and weeds to be all noxious weeds and local weeds designated under the provincial Weed Control Act, and any other vegetation growth that does not form part of a natural garden that has been deliberately planted to produce ground cover.
If a property does not meet City standards, the City may send an advisory letter to the property owner notifying them to cut their grass and maintain their lawn. Property owners will be asked to comply with the bylaw by a certain date.
If no action is taken, a bylaw officer will follow up to take appropriate enforcement action. If property owners do not comply with the bylaw, the City can carry out maintenance work to ensure compliance and the costs of the work may be added to the property tax bill.
A natural garden is managed within a certain boundary and may both contain native and non-native plants. Currently the Grass and Weeds Bylaw has a natural garden exemption process. However, an updated bylaw will come into effect on January 1, 2022 and will include removing the process for natural garden exemptions.
Under the updated bylaw all properties will be required to maintain their gardens with a focus on health and safety requirements, such as prohibiting specific plant species, managing the height of turf grass, and ensuring that sightlines are not obstructed. More information will be available on this page.
In the interim, as of July 2021, the natural garden exemption process in the Grass and Weeds Bylaw has been suspended. The City is no longer accepting applications for natural garden exemptions.
Type (don’t copy and paste) your email address into the box below and then click “Subscribe” to receive updates related to the City of Toronto’s Grass and Weeds bylaw (Chapter 489) and the Natural Gardens Exemption process. You will receive an email with instructions to confirm your subscription.