Dumping Preventer

Colorful, hardy plants form a clean and urban edge while creating a barrier to limit lot access.

SunPart ShadeShade










Sun, Part Shade, Shade

Are you fond of a lot that is also prone to illegal dumping? Do you enjoy colorful bands of bright colors in the fall? Do you long for a tidy, clean-edged street? This might be the lot design for you!

The Dumping Preventer is designed to reduce the risk of illegal dumping on your lot. A planted barrier prevents vehicles and people carrying debris from accessing the lot from the street and through the alley.

The planted hedge is spiny, thick, and is two to four feet in height, making it difficult to enter the lot. Two multi-stemmed trees are planted within the hedge. Although the lot design does not show a pathway, it is possible to create pedestrian access to the lot by removing one shrub in each row. If the hedge becomes too dense, simply trim it back to improve visibility.

The colorful, hardy plants in this lot design create a clean urban edge without having to plant the entire lot.

Tip: If you are very concerned, you may consider doubling the number of planted bands on your lot. Be aware that this will double your project costs.

Ideal Location: Single or multiple lots in full sun to shade.


The Dumping Preventer is a moderately priced lot design based on the cost of planting 1.5-inch diameter trees and utilizing volunteer labor. The most expensive items are the trees and the hedges—the price derives from the cost of the plants included in this lot design. The larger the tree, the more expensive it is. To save money you can plant smaller tree sizes, however, this will create less of an initial visual impact. Although it is possible to hire someone to plant your trees at any size, installing the Dumping Preventer makes for a great weekend group or family event.

Green Infrastructure

Trees provide multiple benefits to every neighborhood, including their ability to soak up water during storm events. With time, the benefits of planting a tree only increase.

Vegetation and Visibility

The planted hedge will create some degree of privacy as plants mature. The plantings are dense, but the maintenance intention is to limit hedge height to four feet.

Falling Hazard

The Urban Edge recommends a tree planting, however, if you follow the design specifications, the tree and shrubs are located to ensure that basement root intrusion, and potential falling hazards do not occur, and that the City’s plan review requirements are followed. Unmaintained trees create a hazard to neighboring structures; we recommend working with a certified arborist as your trees mature. Please note the trees on the plan are shown at a mature spread.


Ten hands or less! With the help of friends, family or neighbors, this project could be completed in a weekend. The Field Guide assumes the lot is ‘construction ready,’ and all equipment and materials required for the lot design have been acquired and are ready to use.

Build Difficulty

Number of People Needed

Neighbor Labor

Time Taken to Build

Build Season

Transportation Intensity

Permit Requirements


The Dumping Preventer is a low maintenance lot design. Maintenance includes watering newly planted trees and shrubs, particularly during times of drought and excess heat. Plants must be watered regularly during the first year. Plan to water weekly or as needed.

Plan ahead and remember to think about where and how you will access water for the next month!

Once your hedge is established, it will shade out the majority of the weeds. Your hedge can be trimmed at any time to keep it at the ideal height.

The Field Guide recommends connecting with an arborist or taking a workshop on tree health and maintenance. The Greening of Detroit offers a great Citizen Forester program to interested residents.

Seasonal Upkeep Levels

  • Spring: Low
  • Summer: Low
  • Fall: Low
  • Winter: Low

Upkeep Frequency

Upkeep Skill Levels

Professional Assistance

Special Tools

Other Upkeep Considerations