Creating lawn standards for naturalizing lawns: Help us draft a by-law 

Help us draft a lawn standards by-law that allows for the naturalization of lawns. Send your input by Friday, March 1, by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 902-634-4410 x240. Read below for more information on this project:

The Town is exploring a lawn standards by-law to support lawn naturalization, blending natural growth with intentional planting of local and foreign plants to create maintained natural spaces.

To help draft a by-law, the Town hosted a community conversation on Feb. 20 that brought 23 residents and three staff together to discuss topics and themes that could be incorporated into the bylaw. This session was open to the public, but pre-registration was required.

During the conversation, the following themes emerged:

  • Naturalization: Clear guidelines for naturalizing lawns.
  • Aesthetics: Avoid subjective terms; limit regulation of aesthetics.
  • Invasive Species: Consensus on managing invasive species per Provincial regulations and guidance.
  • Public Safety: Ensure naturalization respects public safety, including fire risk and pest control.
  • Education & Engagement: Emphasize educational support and community engagement for naturalization.
  • Enforcement: Continue with a complaint-based approach for enforcement.

Detailed notes and staff recommendations from the conversation are available here:  pdf Feb. 20 Community Conversation Notes (233 KB)

How did we get here?

Towns follow provincial regulations, especially the Municipal Government Act (MGA), outlining municipal powers and responsibilities. Specifically, PART XV of the Act requires properties to be kept in a condition that is neither unsightly nor dangerous. Due to the Act's broad language, many municipalities adopt specific policies or bylaws on unsightly and dangerous properties for clearer guidance.

At TOL, without a specific policy, we rely on the MGA for unsightly property complaints, which are rare. However, a dedicated by-law would prevent confusion or conflicting interpretations in future complaints. Unlike typical property standards by-laws, the Town of Lunenburg aims to include naturalized area provisions.

In their preliminary research on this topic, staff reviewed by-laws from municipalities, mainly in Ontario, that support lawn and lot naturalization, gathering precedents and best practices.

Some examples include:

Next steps

After public input, staff will create a by-law draft reflecting recommendations. It will be presented at a Council meeting for initial and final readings, with chances for feedback before approval.