Our History 


SCSL came together as a grassroots group of Sacramento citizens dedicated to educating our city as to the benefits of diversified landscapes in front yards that not only beautify neighborhoods and are earth friendly; but can feed families as well.

Sacramento City's archaic front yard landscape ordinance was first brought to the attention of Sacramento residents when a local gardener was fined for growing a diverse landscape of annuals and perennials which included vegetables in her front yard. Due to Sacramento's wonderful tree canopy, there was not enough sun to grow sunloving plants in the backyard.

An article in the Sacramento Bee on April 24, 2004 brought the local gardener's situation to the attention of other city residents. Close to 100 concerned citizens contacted the gardener and city officials about this unjust fine and ordinance. Many citizens realized that Sacramento's 1941 Front Yard Landscape Code Ordinance 17.68.010 needed to be amended. This code restricted the landscaped setback area of front yards to "primarily low growing ground cover or turf."

As the consequences of this ordinance were brought forth to the public, it was realized that this ordinance needed to be updated for a mulititude of reasons that are imperitive to Sacramento's ability to be sustainable now and in the future.




Sacramento Citizens for Sustainable Landscapes logo

At this time, Sacramento Citizens for Sustainable Landscapes came together. SCSL worked with city officials in amending the front yard garden code ordinance and was instrumental in moving it forward.

SCSL supported Code Enforcement's proposed language for the Front Yard Landscape Ordinance 17.68.010, with one modification. SCSL asked that Subsection (A)(1)(c) of 17.68.010 be eliminated as it arbitrarily restricted vegetables and fruits in diversified landscapes.

On January 11, 2007, the City of Sacramento Planning Commission unanimously voted to support the proposed ordinance language as brought forth by SCSL and recommend that the City Council adopt this version of the amended ordinance.

On April 3, 2007, SCSL presented a written document and a powerpoint presentation to the Sacramento City Council. The City Council voted 8 to 1 to adopt the modified version of Code Enforcement's proposed language, as recommended by the Planning Commission and SCSL.

This is a real victory for Sacramento's urban gardens. Councilmember Rob Fong said, "This is not a little step, but a very big step for sustainability in our city."