City's Proposal

The complete Vegetable Garden Landscape Proposal is a 4 page document that is very complex and restrictive.  Here is the Summary.

This draft contains the following modifications to the draft Landscaping Code, which reflect regulations for vegetable gardening in residential districts.
Amend draft landscaping code to address vegetable gardens in residential properties (one and two family).
  • Allow side and rear yard vegetable gardens with a 3-foot setback from property lines. 
  • All accessory structures (compost bins, sheds, etc.) must be in rear yard. 
  • Allow maximum 25% vegetable garden of the front yard area. 
  • Maximum 4-ft height of plantings or related structures (tomato cages, growing trellises) in front yard. 
  • Front Yard plantings, boxes and trellises set back 5-feet from neighboring properties. 
  • In front yard, one of the following techniques shall be required:
1. Screening with mature shrubs or fence (chain link prohibited).
2. A 10-ft. setback for the garden planted with conventional landscaping.
3. Planter boxes up to 2-feet in height, set back 3-feet from rights-of-way. 
  • No vegetable gardens, trellises or swales are allowed in the rights-of-way. 
  • Require trees on the property to meet minimum requirements. 
  • If a front or street side yard vegetable garden is not actively cultivating food for a period of over three consecutive months, the garden shall be planted with plants selected from the LDC’s approved plant list. 
  • All gardens shall be well maintained, neat and orderly. Fallow portions shall be neatly covered with mulch to prevent erosion and weeds.

We will not be able to have our Patriot Garden in the Red or Orange areas.  Only in the Pink area and it is in the shadows during the winter.

The regulations for vegetable gardens in single family and two family development are designed to allow vegetable gardening without special permits from the City of Orlando. However, they are designed to provide minimum acceptable standards for maintenance, setbacks from neighbors and relative heights.

Rear and Side Yard Gardens. A minimum setback of 3-feet is recommended for gardens in the rear and side yards. 3-feet allows the garden to be serviced without disturbing neighboring properties, and in the case of side yards, allows for emergency access to the rear yard.
Within the side yard itself, a maximum height of 5-feet for any structure, such as trellises, storage bins, tomato cages and the like will limit heights in these narrow areas, where such structures may conflict with the principal structure (e.g.. accessory structures are typically required to be placed 5-feet from the principal structure, and in the typical single family lot in Orlando, the typical side yard setback is 5-feet). This provides for a maximum height that prevents overgrowth and other hazards occurring in sideyards.
Maximum heights for trellises, cages and the like in rear yards will be regulated the same as other accessory structures. Generally, items from 5 to 12 feet in height require a 5-foot setback, and those items 12-feet and over require a 15-foot setback.

Front and Street Side Yard Gardens. It is recommended that the front and street side yard areas (if present) be limited to 25% of the area between the principal fa├žade of the principal structure and the right of way. This includes the entire front yard area, inclusive of driveway and all the area between neighboring properties. For a typical residential lot in Orlando, this allows approximately half of the front yard to be dedicated to vegetable gardens.
The remainder of the front yard will need to be planted with permanent plants, shrubs, trees and ground covers selected from the Landscaping Code’s approved plant list, which guides property owners to not plant invasive plants and those plants that can survive in the heat of Central Florida’s subtropical climate.

Front and Street Side Yard Setbacks/Heights for Gardens. In order to create a finished appearance and not disturb neighboring properties, it is proposed a setback of 5-feet be required from neighboring properties. Plant materials and trellises shall be less than 4-feet in height.
Treatment of Front Yard and Street Side Yard Gardens. In order to provide a finished appearance from the street with permanent landscaping treatments, one of the following treatments is required:
  •  Provide a fence or mature hedge (3-4 feet in height) along the right of way property line to screen the garden and provide permanent landscaping (chain link prohibited). Provide a 3-foot setback from the right of way for plantings, with the intervening area containing a landscaped swale or similar treatment to prevent erosion off the property.
  • Raised planter boxes constructed out of durable materials of up to two feet in height, setback a minimum of 3-feet from rights-of-ways.
  • If there is no screening or planter boxes, setback the vegetable garden a minimum of 10-feet from the right of way, with the intervening area landscaped.

Additional Requirements for All Gardens: Vegetable gardens are prohibited in rights-of-ways. The minimum shade coverage (typically one canopy and one understory tree, plus a street tree) is required for all sites installing front or street side yard gardens. This requires sites have a level of shade coverage, which impacts the City’s heat island effect and provides an aesthetic for our residential neighborhoods where trees are valued above low plantings. If a garden in the front or street sides is not actively cultivating food for a period of 3 months, permanent landscaping should be installed; this essentially requires that a spring and fall crop is planted, so front yard gardens are not fallow for extended periods of time.

Maintenance Requirements: Gardens shall be well maintained, neat and orderly. Fallow portions of the garden shall be neatly covered with mulch to prevent erosion and weeds. After germination, ex-posed soil in planting areas should be covered with mulch, pine needles or other similar material to prevent erosion.


  1. "Maximum 4-ft height of plantings or related structures (tomato cages, growing trellises) in front yard. "

    What about a hedge row?
    Can that be more than 4-ft height?
    Where most of your tomatoes are would be about the area where lots of people would have a large hedge row, for looks and privacy from next door neighbors.
    Your tomatoe hedge looks just as good as any hedge!

  2. This is an outrage! An attack on the less fortunate and the hungry. An attack on frugality and clean eating. An attack on sustainability and productivity. An attack on Independence and Ingenuity. This is an attack on the American Way of Life! What has happened to our Liberties?

    I can very well eat a Pansy flower, but a tomato is going to provide more nourishment.

    I am appalled by and ashamed of the City of Orlando!

    Milinda Neusaenger