Native Landscapes in the Neighborhood and Beyond

Zoning Practice — April 2020

By Suzanne Rhees, AICP


ZP subscriber
List price
Sign In & Download

Not a member but want to buy a copy? You'll need to create a free My APA account to purchase. Create account

More urban and suburban residents than ever are converting their lawns and landscaping to native landscapes, rain gardens, and bee lawns, hoping to create habitat for threatened pollinators, reduce stormwater runoff, reduce water use, and improve soil health. While such practices are increasingly accepted in many cities, it is still possible to run afoul of "weed" or property maintenance ordinances.

This edition of Zoning Practice examines how communities can retool nuisance abatement and zoning regulations to promote native vegetation. The first part explores the elements of a native landscaping ordinance for existing residential neighborhoods, a sample permitting process, and methods for addressing common concerns and enforcement issues. The second part discusses the elements of a city- or countywide ordinance that requires the use of native plants in various types of new development and redevelopment.

Compliant Version


Page Count
Date Published
April 1, 2020
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Suzanne Rhees, AICP
Suzanne Sutro Rhees, AICP, has worked across many facets of the planning field for over 30 years.  With a Master's in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, she has worked in the public and private sectors as a project manager, lead planner, writer and editor, with a focus on urban design traditional neighborhood zoning. In her current position as Special Projects Coordinator for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, she works to develop and launch programs and initiatives that support climate mitigation, landscape resilience, and soil health. She's especially excited about her work with many partners advancing peatland restoration as a natural climate solution.