Landscaping residential properties in Lethbridge County is not required but is highly encouraged as it has all sorts of benefits: economic, health, environmental, and social. It can increase the value of a property and make it more attractive to prospective buyers which could mean less time on the market. It can help to reduce the costs associated with heating and cooling a residence. It can provide a healthier environment by filtering pollutants and providing cleaner air. It provides privacy, can decrease stress, and helps promote a healthy lifestyle. It can lessen the effects of soil erosion and soil degradation. It can have a micro-climate effect that helps reduce temperature extremes and can help reduce local flooding by reducing storm water runoff. It also promotes habitat for wildlife and increases the livability of communities.
Before You Plant
It is important to remember that there may be utilities buried on your property. Before doing any digging for trees and shrubs be sure to have the utilities located on your property by making an Alberta One-Call. There may be a delay for this service depending on the time of year so plan ahead.
Trees that are fully grown can cause damage to buildings (foundations, roofs, siding), overhead utilities, and neighbouring properties. Before planting trees take into account how large the tree will get once fully matured and adjust its location to accommodate for existing infrastructure. Be sure to also make note of the location of property lines. Landowners are responsible for ensuring they are not planting trees and shrubs on a neighbour’s property or on County-owned land such as alleys, right-of-ways, environmental reserves, and so forth.
Creating Sustainable Landscapes
Xeriscaping is a landscaping practice that promotes water conservation and it is highly encouraged by Lethbridge County. When properly planned and designed, a xeriscaped yard will thrive on minimal water during periods of drought and will retain as much water as possible during periods of natural rainfall. Xeriscaping incorporates native and drought-resistant plants to create beautifully created landscapes that will thrive even in the hardest conditions Southern Alberta has to offer.
Xeriscaping is often confused with zero-scaping, which is a form of landscaping that typically incorporates gravel and rocks with cactus and succulent type plants.
The following document is to a reference guide on xeriscaping by the City of Lethbridge: Xeriscaping (City of Lethbridge)
Due to the extreme drought conditions often experienced in Southern Alberta, Lethbridge County encourages the planting of native and drought-resistant species. Below are lists of native and drought-resistant species complied by the County to assist landowners in creating beautiful landscapes in this harsh climate. Local nurseries and garden centres may offer new and alternative varieties of drought-resistant plants in addition to those on the lists below.
Common Coulee Plants of Southern Alberta
*Please note that all plants require some amount of water until they are established. Plants may take 1-2 growing seasons or longer to establish depending on the species and the severity of the climate. When installing any new plants on a property, owners should be prepared to help nurture their plants until they are strong enough to survive on their own. It is best to follow the planting instructions and maintenance advice provided by the nursery or garden centre that sold the plants.
Shelterbelts offer many of the benefits outlined above as well as helping to reduce dust, reducing damage caused by wind, trap snow, and protect homes, yards and even livestock.
While shelterbelts offer many benefits, when they are planted too close to a roadway they trap large amounts of snow in the winter which has a negative impact road conditions for County residents. Lethbridge County’s Land Use Bylaw specifies that no hedge or shelterbelt shall be erected within 10m (30-ft.) of a road right-of-way as illustrated in Diagram 3.5 (Part 3, Section 11.e). Diagram 3.5 and the relevant section of the Land Use Bylaw can be downloaded here:
LUB Part 3, Section 11
For useful information on the various types of shelterbelts, recommended trees, method of planting, and maintenance, please consult the Government of Alberta’s website: Government of Alberta- Shelterbelts
Landscaping in Commercial/Industrial Areas
New commercial/industrial properties in Lethbridge County generally require a landscaping plan to be submitted with their Development Permit Application. The County encourages new these projects to incorporate xeriscaping techniques in their landscape design and utilize native and drought-resistant plants. To view an example of an approved landscaping plan for a commercial/industrial development please contact Planning and Development at 403-328-5525.
Should you have any questions about landscaping properties in Lethbridge County please contact Planning and Development at 403-328-5525.