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Landscaping & the Law

Most restrictions governing private or public landscaping vary greatly from area to area. Anyone who plants or maintains a landscape should check governing or controlling agencies for guidelines.

Restrictions are governmental or private. Governmental restrictions may be laws, codes or requirements. Private restrictions are usually mandated by homeowner associations or land-use requirements as a part of an ownership deed. Landscapes in new developments are often controlled by ordinance.

There are several requirements in Colorado that are common throughout the state. In some areas, any overhanging branches or roots from trees or shrubs can be trimmed at the property line as long as the trimming does not adversely impact the plant. Joint property line trees require approval by both owners before maintenance.

Public right-of-way landscapes may be the responsibility of the adjoining private land owner. Berm and landscape planting is usually required to screen parking lots and storage areas.

Some plants, such as Siberian elm, Russian olive, thistle and seeding cottonwoods, are prohibited by ordinance because of their undesirability. The amount of lawn may be limited and the type of grass may be designated. The mowing height of grass and the use of chemicals may also be controlled. Sometimes, the amount of irrigated area will be controlled, and specific soil preparation may be required.trees below power lines

Trees below power lines or plants and structures in utility easements may be prohibited. Planting in view corridors may be restricted. An official concept of development, such as trees along streets and lawn between the curb and the sidewalk, may be required.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).


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Updated Monday, December 15, 2014