Welcome to Ferndale's

Community & Economic Development

Community And Economic Development Department

The Community and Economic Development Department (CED) works with all community stakeholders to improve Ferndale's quality of life. CED is the primary contact and liaison for the City's Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Mayor's Business Council, and Construction Board of Appeals.

To maintain and further foster Ferndale's development, the CED is structured around the following core services:

Building Services

Business Support and Economic Development

Code Enforcement

Planning & Zoning Services

Rental Services


Guide to Development

For a comprehensive overview of the development review process in Ferndale, including contacts, links to forms and documents, and policy guidance, see our Guide to Development.

Self-Service Access

Visit AccessMyGov for self-service online access to the City's building and permit resources. Make building, tax, and utility payments; apply for a permit; schedule an inspection; and conduct Building Department and rental property searches.


Community and Economic Development Department

Ferndale City Hall
300 E. Nine Mile Rd.
Ferndale, MI 48220

(248) 546-1632 (Option #2)


Ask a Question

Relevant Services



Am I required to build a fence around my swimming pool?

All pools permanent or portable over 12 inches deep require a fence with a minimum height of 48 inches.  All gates must be self-locking and closing.

Are dog owners required to keep their yards and the public right of way free of dog waste?

Yes. Yards, the public right of way, and exercise dog runs shall be kept free of dog droppings and uneaten food, and maintained in a sanitary manner so as not to be a nuisance because of odor or attraction for flies and vermin.

Are there any 'No Kill' animal shelters in Oakland County?

Yes, there are several Oakland County "no-kill" shelters—that is, shelters that do not euthanize healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full—including:

Almost Home
25503 Clara Ln. 
Southfield, MI

New Beginnings Animal Rescue
2502 Rochester Rd. 
Royal Oak, MI

Michigan Animal Rescue League
790 Featherstone St.
Pontiac, MI

Are there any incentives or grants available to support my business or project?

Our goal is to help Ferndale businesses build, grow, and flourish, and that means making it easy for owners and entrepreneurs. From at-your-fingers access to permits and applications to our unique Mayor’s Business Council, we’ve got the information you need to help you succeed. Visit our Open For Business page for more information.  

For more information, please contact:  

Jordan Twardy, CED Director



Are there height restrictions for my accessory building?

The building height of a garage, shed, or other accessory building must not exceed 16 feet.

Are there things to look for that indicate that I might have rats?

The following are strong indicators that you may have rats or rodents in your home or on your property:

  • Gnaw marks on wood, walls, or garbage cans
  • Trails—rats tend to follow the same path over and over, which can tamp down grass or leave tracks in the snow
  • Holes in the grass or ground
  • Greasy or dirty marks on walls, baseboards, or a home's exterior

Can I add a second accessory building to my property?

An additional accessory building such as a shed or garage is not permitted unless the second structure is constructed at least 25 feet from any other building or structure located on the same lot, and minimum of 5 feet from any property line or easement edge.

Can I keep chickens on my property?

The City allows residents to keep chickens in a detached structure in areas zoned as R-1 or R-2 (residential zoning). No more than three hen chickens shall be kept on a property at any time. Roosters or male chickens are prohibited from being kept at the property. The slaughter of any chicken is prohibited within the City.  

If you are interested in keeping hen chickens on your property, contact the Community and Economic Development Department at 248-546-2366.

Check out the City's ordinance to learn more about how to property keep hen chickens on your property. 

Can the Code Enforcement Officer come into my yard?

We make every effort to respect your property rights.  We are allowed to access public areas such as the sidewalk, porch and driveway of your house.  If you would like to invite us into your back yard we will gladly work with you to show you what may need to be done.

Can the size of my accessory buliding exceed my primary house?

No, any detached accessory building shall not have a greater square footage than the principal building on the same lot.

Do I need a permit for a fence or shed?


A Fence Permit will be used to keep records of ownership of the fence and also let the owner/contractor know that the height and location is approved by the City Ordinance. Review the fence ordinance at this link.

To apply for a fence permit, please click here.  

A Zoning Compliance Permit is used for accessory structures (sheds less than 200 square feet) or similar items where a Building Permit is not required, but a review is necessary for City Ordinance compliance.

To apply for a shed permit, please click here.  

For more information, please contact:

Kathy McClintic, Permit Technician



Do I need a permit?

If you are already familiar with the permit process and do not need additional assistance, you can find a list of permits here.

If you are new to the process of obtaining a permit, use our tool to help you through the process step-by-step.

For more information, please contact:  

Scott Worthington, Building Official:



Do I need to install a privacy fence or screening fence if my pool has an elevated deck?

A six (6) foot screening fence, or an eight (8) foot screening fence in the event the pool has an elevated deck, must be installed on the fence lines, unless a written waiver is obtained from adjoining property owners, and is renewed should ownership of adjoining property change.

If written waivers are obtained, a forty-eight (48) inch fence will be sufficient.  The pool service area may extend to the property line.  No swimming pool shall be located less than six (6) feet from any side to rear property line or ten (10) feet from any street property line.

Does Ferndale have a pool ordinance?

Yes, visit our online Code of Ordinances and search Ord. No. "594".  Click on Article IX.-Swimming and Wading Pools.

Does Ferndale have leash laws for dogs?

Yes. The City of Ferndale does not allow dogs to be unleashed in any park or playground in the city. Dogs being walked in the City's right of way shall also be under reasonable control. If you wish to report a loose dog in a public area, contact Ferndale Police Department non-emergency at 248-541-3650.

How can I get involved with the community?

Visit our Community Resources page for information on community projects, community and partner organizations, and boards and commissions.  

For more information, please contact:  

Jordan Twardy, CED Director



How deep does the swimming pool need to be to require permitting and a site plan?

A Swimming Pool is defined as any contained body of water with a depth of 18 inches or more.  

A Wading Pool would be defined as a body of water between 12-18 inches in depth, and a Kiddie Pool would be less than 12 inches in depth.

How do I clean and disinfect after a rat infestation?

The following clean-up procedures will reduce your risk of exposure:

  • Never dry sweep or vacuum a rodent infested area. Always use wet cleaning methods.
  • Always wear rubber gloves, long sleeves, protective eyewear, and a dust mask when cleaning. This will help protect you from contamination, and from coming in contact with potentially harmful chemicals.
  • A 10 parts water to 1 part chlorine bleach solution or a household disinfectant can be used to clean up contaminated areas.
  • Dispose of dead rodents by disinfecting first. Use gloves to pick up the rodent, place it in a bag, and seal it. Place the bag within another bag and seal it. Put the bag in a covered outdoor trash can that is regularly emptied.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and dry with paper towels when you are done cleaning. Launder your clothes normally.

Note that these are recommendations provided by the CDC. Remember that bleach can stain surfaces and that cleaning chemicals can be harmful if misused. Always follow label instructions.

How do I find a qualified builder?

An online license search is available through the State of Michigan website. Or, call the State of Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Commercial Services Licensing Division at 517-373-8376 to verify the licensing status of a builder or contractor. 

Ask to see certificates of insurance of liability and worker’s compensation. Are they current? Are they issued in the correct company name?

Remember to get everything in writing. Any quotes or contracts should include the builder’s name, business address and phone, and a detailed description of the work being done, materials being used, start and completion dates, method of payment, and payment schedule. Warranty periods should be clearly stated.

There must be a permit for work done in the City and the accompanying green board must be posted and visible from the street. Make sure your builder obtains a permit before work starts.

How do I frame the deck?

Framing a Deck

  • All material in contact with the ground shall be rated for ground contact use.
  • Beams must sit on top of the posts or be attached to the posts with approved hardware (bolts alone are not approved).
  • Joists must sit on top of the beams or be attached with approved hardware.
  • Make sure  that all nails, brackets and fasteners used are hot dipped, zinc coated, galvanized, or stainless steel.

How do I obtain a dog license?

All dogs over four months of age are required to have a valid license. Licenses expire annually on December 31. To purchase your license, you must present a rabies vaccination certificate from a USDA-accredited veterinarian and proof that the animal has been spayed or neutered. Licenses are issued as a metal tag that dogs are required to wear at all times.

Effective January 1, 2018:

  • Spayed/Neutered: $10.50 (3 year license $28.50)
  • Senior Citizen Price*: $9.75 (3 year license $26.25)
  • Male/Female: $18.00 (3 year license $51.00)
  • Senior Citizen Price*: $16.50 (3 year license $46.50)
  • Delinquent after June 1st: $33.00

Purchase your license at City Hall during regular business hours or through Oakland County Animal Control

How do I prevent rodents?

Take away their food

Rodents will eat anything—to remove rats, you must remove their food source. Common food sources include:

  • Garbage
  • Bird food/feeders
  • Pet food/chicken feed
  • Pet waste
  • Fallen fruit from trees or unharvested produce from gardens

Keep them out of your house

Rats can fit through a space the size of a quarter or smaller. Small openings in homes, buildings, and sheds must be sealed to prevent rodents from entering. Check for openings where pipes or wires enter the building, under eaves, around foundations and crawl space entrances, and near doors and windows. Use cement, 1/4-inch steel hardware cloth (wire mesh), or steel wool and spray foam to seal openings.

Keep them out of your yard

Don’t let your yard be a nesting zone for rodents. Rats will nest in:

  • Outdoor piles of garbage and junk.
  • Under wood piles or lumber—stack wood piles 18 inches off the ground.
  • Under blackberry bushes, shrubs, vines, and tall grasses that are not trimmed or cut back.
  • Holes under buildings that haven’t been filled

You may need to hire a professional if you have a bad infestation.  The State of Michigan recommends working with pest management companies who use an "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM).  IPM focuses on long-term solutions to pest problems with minimum impact on human health and environment.

How does the soil type determine the size and number of post supports needed for the deck?

Decks need to be designed to support 50 pounds per square foot on the walking surface.Sandy soils will support 2000 pounds per square foot. An 8-inch diameter concrete base (12 inches thick) under the post will support 14 square feet of deck surface.

Silt or clay soils will support 1500 pounds per square foot.  An 8-inch diameter concrete base (12 inches thick) under the post will support 10.5 square feet of deck surface.

How far away do overhead wires need to be from the pool?

All overhead wires must be 10 feet horizontally away from the pool edge, platforms, diving structure and observation stands.

How far away must my accessory building be located from my house?

Detached garages, sheds, or other accessory buildings must be located at least 10 feet from the principal building (your house), located on the same lot or parcel.

How long does it take the Building Department to review my plans?

The Community and Economic Development Department reviews plans in the order in which they are received. Timely review depends on the accuracy and detail of the plans submitted. Generally speaking, the review process takes 2–4 weeks from the time plans are received.

How many copies of building plans must I submit?

For residential construction: You must submit three copies of your plans to the Community and Economic Development Department. 

For commercial construction: You must submit four copies of your plans to the Community and Economic Development Department. 

How much are permit fees?

Our City Fee Schedule provides a breakdown of all city fees and associated prices.  

For more information, please contact:  

Kathy McClintic, Permit Technician



How much of my property must be permeable (unpaved)?

At least 40% of your single or 2-family residential property must be permeable open space.  This space shall be landscaped with live plant materials and property maintained to contribute in storm water management.

I filed a complaint awhile back about a problem property and nothing's happened. Why hasn't Code Enforcement responded yet?

Typically, we give the property owner one or two weeks to solve the problem.  We may allow more time on extensive projects. If the property owner does not take care of the problem, we will issue a ticket that may motivate them to respond.  If an owner chooses not to maintain their properties, our last resort is to take the owners to court and let the judge determine if an order will be issued to correct the problem.

I have a wood pile in my yard that is stacked and organized. Nothing wrong with that is there?

It depends.  All wood piles and storage need to be stored off of the ground by at least 18”. This helps to reduce opportunities for rodents and other vermin from taking up residence in your wood pile.

I just saw a rat, what do I do?

The rodent population in Ferndale is something that we take very seriously and must address as a community. The rodents need three things to flourish: a place to live, food, and water. This is why code enforcement is so important. If we eliminate these three things, we will make significant progress in our fight against rodents.

Where do rodents live?

  • Near food, water and shelter
  • Under wood or lumber piles
  • In bushes, vines, and tall grass
  • Under rocks or landscaping features
  • In unused lawn furniture
  • Around trash and garbage
  • In or under sheds and garages

What food bring rats to my yard?

  • Improperly stored garbage
  • Storing unclean recyclables
  • Animal food
  • Bird feeders
  • Dog and cat food bowls outside
  • Fruit and vegetables on the ground
  • Improperly managed compost piles
  • Dog droppings
  • Ponds, fountains, and water hoses

What will make my yard less attractive to rats?

  • Stack firewood 18” off the ground
  • Stop feeding birds
  • Keep bushes trimmed
  • Remove dog droppings daily
  • Get rid of clutter in the yard
  • Do not leave pet food outside
  • Do not compost meat or dairy products
  • Store garbage in cans with lids
  • Clean recyclables before storing
  • Remove water sources
  • Install sweeps on garage doors

The City isn't responsible for exterminating rats from your property, but we will be happy to visit you and help develop a plan for keeping rodents out of your yard. Rodent control is a community issue, so we encourage you to share the information with as many of your neighbors as possible.

I think I've got rodents—what should I do?

If you think you may have an infestation of rats or rodents, contact City of Ferndale Inspector Emily Loomis at 248-336-4365 or eloomis@ferndalemi.gov. A specialist will be happy to come and inspect your home and property and advise about how best to proceed. 

Trapping is the preferred method for eliminating rodents, both indoors and outdoors. Snap traps are inexpensive and effective. Peanut butter usually works as bait. Set the trap in the area with the most rodent activity. Rodents tend to run along walls, so place traps next to a wall, fenceline, or foundation. Make sure children and pets do not have access to the traps.

Poisoning is not an ideal way to eliminate rodents, but is sometimes necessary when populations become too large. Poison is not recommended for indoor use, as rodents can die inside walls and produce odor. Rodent poisons (rodenticides) are also harmful to animals and pets, so use carefully. Always use a secured bait station to keep poisons away from children and pets. When dealing with poisons, it's best to work with a certified and referenced extermination professional. 

I think my neighbor might have rodents—what should I do?

You may want to consider first addressing your neighbor or property owner with a friendly conversation about the issue. If that's not possible, or if you need to report the issue, contact our Code Enforcement department at 248-336-4365 or eloomis@ferndalemi.gov.

If I cannot fix a problem within the time aloted on the notice, will Code Enforcement work with me?

Our Code Enforcement Officers will work with anyone who contacts us to set up a reasonable time frame to take care of the violations.  Our goal is compliance, not punishment.  Please do not ignore the notice, simply contact us at the number listed on the notice and talk to the person listed at the bottom.  We are here to help keep Ferndale a great place to live.

If I need help with starting a business or development project, who can I call?

For more information regarding a business or development project, you can contact:  

Jordan Twardy, CED Director  



Is my project/plan allowed under zoning ordinance?

To navigate between codes, individual ordinances and documents (related documents such as minutes and agendas), visit our Ordinance Codes page.  

Our city also has an Interactive Zoning Map, where you can view different zoning ordinances across the city.  

For more information, please contact:  

Justin Lyons, Planning Manager



Is there a limit to how far eaves or overhangs can extend from the structure?

Eaves and overhangs shall not extend more than 6 inches into the required side setback.

Is there a limit to the amount of cats allowed per domicile?

City Code states that residents shall keep no more than three cats upon their premises. No licensing is required.

Is there a limit to the amount of dogs allowed per address?

City Code states that residents shall keep no more than three dogs upon their premises.

My neighbor's grass is a foot long. Don't they have to mow it!?

The lawn grass cannot be longer than 7".  As a courtesy, we will send a notice once per season to the homeowner letting them know they have 7 days to cut their grass.  If the grass does not get cut, the City’s contractor mow it for them.  This service will cost the property owner $275.00.  Given the alternatives, the property owner normally realizes that it is much less expensive to maintain their lawn themselves or hire someone than having the City do it.

The guy behind me has a car that’s been sitting up on blocks for months, is that cool?

Any vehicle stored on a property must be operable, have a current license and be parked on a paved surface.

What activities increase my risk of exposure to diseases carried by rodents?

Entering or cleaning buildings that have been closed for a long period of time, such as garages, storage sheds, or anywhere with rodent droppings. You can get sick by breathing in dust that is contaminated with urine or droppings, by direct contact with an infected rodent, or by eating or drinking products contaminated with urine or feces. 

What are the acceptable dimensions of Treads and Risers?

Per 2009 Michigan Residential Code, the maximum riser height shall be 8-1/4 inches and the minimum tread depth shall be 9 inches.

Treads greater than 9 inches and less than 11 inches shall have a ¾ inch to 1-¼ inch nosing.

The greatest tread depth within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 of an inch. The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 of an inch.

What are the construction requirements for accessory buildings?

Wood in contact with concrete must be treated against decay. Bottom plates shall be securely bolted to the slab or foundation.

Frame garages with walls over 10 feet tall shall be built with 2x4 studs placed 16 inches on center.

Wind bracing or corner bracing shall be provided on all walls. Sheets of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing can be used as diagonal bracing when the nails are 3 inches on center at the perimeter and 6 inches on center into the intermediate studs.

Walls with large openings shall have at least one four-foot wide wind brace panel or have lesser panels that meet the engineering requirements of the Michigan Residential Code, Section R 602.10, or specify products designed to meet the requirements. The 2006 Michigan Residential Code is available at the City of Ferndale Library or the Building Department.

Headers over garage doors shall be of the following minimum sizes:

Headers spanning up to 8' must be doubled 2x10 lumber where rafters or trusses span up to 20 feet perpendicular to the header. Headers spanning over 8' must be 2x12 or engineered lumber.

Garage roof framing can be conventional framing rafters or engineered trusses:

Conventional Rafters shall be placed 16 inches on center. 2x4 rafters may be used on garages up to and including 18 feet in width. Garages over 18 feet wide must have 2x6 rafters. All ridge and hip rafters shall be 2x8 minimum. Ceiling joists and rafters form structural triangles. The ceiling joists must be 4 feet on center or less, securely nailed to the rafters and the top plate of the wall. Collar tie bracing (minimum 1 x6) at 32" on center.

Approved trusses may be used. Manufacturer's shop drawings must be submitted to the Building Department before a permit will be issued. Trusses spaced 24 inches on center require plywood or oriented strand board (OS B) at least 1/2 inch thick.

What are the maximum span between joist supports?

Joists are used to support the deck floor.

What are the requirements for foundations and rat walls?

Unattached frame garages and sheds 600 square feet or less shall be built on a concrete slab not less than 4 inches thick with a 24-inch rat wall, 4 inches wide. Anchor bolts (minimum 1/2 inch diameter) shall be set 2 inches above and 7" below concrete, 6 feet on center and within 1’ of corners with 2 anchors minimum (per wall section).

Masonry garages and masonry fronts on frame garages and all structures over 600 square feet must be built on a foundation or footing at least 12 inches wide that extends at least 42 inches below finished grade to undisturbed soil. On all construction attached to and made structurally a part of the residence, a 42-inch foundation or footing is required.

Concrete shall be designed to have a minimum compressive strength of 3,500 pounds per square inch (psi) at 28 days. If air entrained concrete is used, the ultimate compressive strength may be reduced to 3,000 psi at 28 days.

What are the requirements for the foundation?

Posts need to be set on 12 inches of poured concrete, a minimum of 42 inches below grade and bearing on undisturbed soil.

What are the rules for handrail construction?

Stairways that have four risers or more must have a handrail between 34 and 38 inches measured vertically from the nosing of the treads.  (The tread is the part of the stair that you walk on, the nose is the edge of the tread).

All required handrails shall be continuous and run the full length of the stairs. Ends shall be returned or terminate into a wall.

The handgrip portion of the handrails shall not be more than 2-1/4 inches in cross-sectional dimension or the shape shall provide an equivalent gripping surface. The handgrip portion of handrails shall have a smooth surface with no sharp corners.

Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 1-1/2 inches between the wall and the handrail.

What are the setback requirements for a detached accessory building?

Detached accessory buildings such as garages or sheds must be located a minimum of 5 feet from any adjoining lot line or up to, but not on, the easement.  

On corner lots and alleys, they shall be located at least 10 feet from the lot line adjacent to the side street or alley.

What dimensions should be used for the Deck Floor?

Decking (Deck Floor) is generally 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 nominal size material that spans 16 inches to 24 inches.

(5/4 material spans 16 inches or less).

What do the letter markings (A,B,C...) on the sidewalks mean?

The inspector will mark defective sidewalk flags with a letter (A, B, C, ...) indicating at least one reason why they require replacement.  The following indicates the defect associated with the letter:

A – Stubber


B – Cracked


C- Sunken

D- Holes or Pitted

E – Scaling


H – Slope

O – Other (Mortar adhered to sidewalk causing a trip hazard, foot or bike prints in the sidewalk, asphalt    patch in sidewalk, etc.)

What does a Deck Site Plan look like?

Sample of a Deck Site Plan

What does a typical garage plan look like?

Typical Garage Siteplan

What is the current development activity happening in Ferndale?

While not every project you’ve heard about is happening all at once, the City wants to make sure you’re aware of what’s being discussed, what projects have been approved, and what projects are under construction. Use our interactive map to take a look at the various projects under consideration and under construction.

For more information, please contact:  

Justin Lyons, Planning Manager



What is the planning approval process/timeline?

Visit the City of Ferndale’s permit guide.  

For more information, please contact:  

Justin Lyons, Planning Manager



What steps do I need to take to obtain a residential work permit?

  • Step 1: File a completed Building Permit Application 
  • Step 2: Submit three copies of your building plans (including a survey), a signed Homeowner’s Affidavit, and the appropriate fees. A preliminary plan review fee will be charged at the time of application.
  • Step 3: Plans are reviewed by the Plan Examiner/Building Inspector in the order they are received. The Plan Examiner/Building Inspector will contact you concerning any incorrect or missing information. 

Step 4: Once your submission is complete and your plans have been approved, you will be contacted. Your permit(s) will be issued upon payment of all fees.

What type of development does the city want?

The Master Plan consists of recommendations and action items organized around a series of key categories that comprise the major supporting elements of the city, with sustainability practices woven into each.  

For more information, please contact:  

Jordan Twardy, CED Director



What type of work requires a building permit?

  • Roofing (house and/or garage)
  • Siding
  • Remodeling
  • Steps
  • Sheds
  • Additions
  • Decks and porches

When can I schedule building inspections with the City?

Building inspections are performed Monday–Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Electrical, mechanical, and plumbing inspections are conducted Monday through Thursdays between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m.

To schedule an inspection, contact Community and Economic Development at 248-336-4117.

When do I need to build a guard rail?

Guardrails for porches, decks, or balconies or that are located more than 30 inches above grade shall have guardrails at least 36 inches in height.

Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below shall have guardrails not less than 36 inches in height measured vertically from the nosing of the treads.

Required guardrails on open sides of stairways, decks, balconies and porches shall have intermediate rails or ornamental closures which will not allow passage of an object 4 inches in diameter.

Horizontal spacing between the vertical members in required guardrails shall be less than 4 inches at the farthest point between the members.

Triangular openings formed by the riser, tread and bottom rail of a guard at the open side of a stairway may not allow passage of an object 6 inches in diameter.

Where on my property can I build my garage or shed?

All accessory buildings such as garages or sheds must be built in the rear or side yard.  

If the garage is structurally attached to the property's principal building (your house), it is subject to the principal building's setback regulations and buildings codes.

Who do I contact to remove a dead animal from the road?

The Department of Public Works can assist with removing animals from the road. Contact them at 248-546-2514 during regular business hours (Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.).

Who should I contact for a grass/weeds complaint?

For grass and weed complaints please use our online system, See Click Fix. For any questions regarding grass and weeds you may contact us at (248) 546-2525 ext. 3.

Who should I contact for help or information?

If you have a Code Enforcement concern, you may submit your request online using the form below, or contact City of Ferndale Inspector at 248-546-2525 ext. 131.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) rodent information site

What is native natural landscaping?

Natural landscaping is the planned planting of native prairie, woodland, and wetland plants as an alternative to turf grass. It incorporates plant life native to our area, plants and flowers that existed here before turf grass lawns were introduced, that thrive with less traditional upkeep than is required of traditional lawns.  

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits to planned natural landscaping. Once established, native plants require little watering and upkeep and tend to resist insects. Homeowners can expect to save on costs associated with traditional lawns—watering, fertilizing, mowing, etc.

Natural landscaping helps control soil erosion, which in turn reduces the cost of stormwater management. Lush native plant life also reduces air, noise, and water pollution, and provides a distinctive and beautiful appearance.

It’s also important to note that native plants benefit and support local birds and wildlife. Natural landscaping creates ideal conditions for hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies—all of which are extremely beneficial to our ecosystem and are currently in decline nationwide.  

Does this mean my neighbors can let their lawns fill up with weeds?

No. A weed is any type of plant in the wrong place, such as grass in a flower bed. Dandelions, crabgrass, and other common garden and lawn weeds are actually invasive plants. As has always been the case, the City will not permit random, untended yards or weed overgrowth. Residents who choose to incorporate planned natural landscaping to their yards are required to register with the City. There is no cost, and doing so will allow staff to educate people concerned about ordinance violations.

I'm interested in incorporating native landscaping into my yard—how do I get started?

If you decide that planned natural landscaping is right for you and your yard, start by registering your property with the City. There is no cost, and doing so helps staff to educate people concerned about ordinance violations.

It’s important to do your research and consult a nursery or native landscaping expert before planting. You’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right plants for your yard and conditions. The Michigan Native Plant Producers organization has a database of area landscapers and nurseries who can help you locate native plants. 

What are some plants native to our area?

Won’t this type of landscaping attract rats?

No. Rats require a food and water source, neither of which native grasses or flowers offer. They tend to be drawn to man-made structures, like sheds, woodpiles, and open-air compost. Keep all pet feed, scraps, compost, and garbage in tightly closed containers.

Read All FAQs


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form