Problems with Parking (Park) Strips

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 22, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Maintenance issues are the biggest problems with parking strips. Municipalities have the right-of-way in park strips, however, homeowners are responsible for maintaining them. 

Very narrow parking strips with lack of effective irrigation can also create maintenance problems.





Roots heaving a sidewalk. Source: Forestry Images CC BY-NC 3.0

Problems with Parking Strips


  • Difficult to irrigate due to their long narrow shape, overspray onto sidewalks and streets is common
  • Odd shapes may need drip systems for effective irrigation to the plant root zones
  • Parking strips in older neighborhoods may not have had pressurized sprinkler systems installed
  • Oops, I forgot about watering the parking strip


  • Mowing turf in parking strips can be difficult, especially in odd shapes spaces


  • Plows may damage plants
  • Heavy snow may damage plants

Road salt

  • Damages turf in particular - patches of bare dirt attract weedy plants


  • Plants under trees may be damaged unless leaves are carefully removed


  • Stressed plants in small narrow areas may be more susceptible to a variety of pests


  • Neglected, poorly irrigated park strips result in patchy plantings, allowing weed encroachment

Tree roots

  • Inappropriate tree species and planting method can cause heaving of sidewalks adjacent to park strips

Design for access

  • Pedestrians may need access across the parking strip
  • People with a variety of abilities may need access through the park strip necessitating designs that are inclusive

Soils and drainage

  • Poorly drained clay soils can cause water-logging and stress plants, particularly those that are water-wise

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.