Brought to North America by European colonists who maintained English garden landscapes, the manicured lawn has long been the epitome of suburban conformity, and a symbol of order, leisure, and status. More recently, increasing concern for the global climate crisis and loss of biodiversity have led to a growing criticism of traditional lawns as well as an emerging awareness that naturalized lawns provide greater ecological and social benefits.

There is a growing body of research questioning the value of traditional gardening practices. This work has identified that manicured lawns not only discourage biodiversity, but also exacerbate flooding, as well as negatively affect water and air quality.

Natural urban and suburban landscapes on the other hand, have the capacity to support pollinator conservation and mitigate the global impact of habitat loss on biodiversity – and these are only a few of the countless benefits provided by naturalized landscapes. Natural gardens (or healthy yards), especially those abundant with native flowering plants, provide pollinators with both nectar and refuge, and as a result, yield a greater ecosystem species richness and diversity.

With this shift away from traditional lawns to more naturalized gardens and healthy landscapes, property owners, environmentalists, ecologists, and anyone passionate about local biodiversity, still face the barrier of municipal by-laws that uphold and enforce outdated property standards. This legislation limits an individual’s rights to express environmental beliefs through the planting and design of natural landscapes on their property, and prohibits alternative landscaping practices – proven to yield greater environmental value – that differ from traditional lawns.

By-laws for biodiversity encourage municipal wide environmental stewards, and protect and promote environmental and biological diversity, through the revision of outdated, colonially-rooted weed and grass by-laws.


2021 - ongoing