Living in the city, I have a small yard, which limits the amount of gardening I can do “in” my yard. But, living on the corner, I have eight sections of “boulevard” available for gardening. The “boulevard” is the section of grass between the sidewalk and the street. Where I live, I own the boulevard, but the city has an easement and can do work on utilities in the boulevard without having to repair or replace my plants. So, my personal rule about boulevard gardening is, “Don’t use expensive or unique plants.” Another rule is to pick plants that can tolerate the salt from winter snow emergencies.
I’ve planted mostly native perennials in my boulevard gardens, as have many of my neighbors, but I’ve noticed that some folks are planting food in their boulevards! One woman has strawberries in a section of boulevard. She says the cat keeps the birds away. Another person has lettuce, beans, peas, and tomatoes in the boulevard. I can’t decide how I feel about this. I’m all for growing your own food. But, I can’t help thinking about the dogs that are walking by peeing on everything. Yuck.
I like walking in neighborhoods where people have planted their boulevards. It’s interesting to see what plants people use and how they design their spaces. I think it’s much more interesting than walking by plain lawn. If you live in the city and are interested in planting on your boulevard, there’s a nifty publication published by the Sustainable Resources Center’s Urban Lands Program that describes the benefits of boulevard gardening as well as the plant height regulations and some other do’s and don’ts.