Urban Edge

The clean, hardy, and colorful living perimeter of this lot design is easy to build and works well on multiple lots.

SunPart Shade










Sun, Part Shade

The Urban Edge lot design uses perennials, shrubs and trees to create a clean and beautiful perimeter on residential blocks. This design may be installed on a single lot, but will have more impact if used on multiple and contiguous lots.

The planted border introduces seasonal interest and color through plants that are hardy and salt-tolerant. The Urban Edge can also help prevent illegal dumping on your lot by creating a planted visual barrier between the road and the lot.

This easy-to-build lot design will introduce a clean, intentional edge to your lot and to your block—great for neighborhoods and corridors alike!

Vegetation and Visibility

The tree trunk spacing of this lot design creates clear visibility from the street to the alley. Due to the shrub height, it is possible to see most of the way through this design.

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.


Installing the Urban Edge will make for a fun and rewarding weekend with your friends, family or neighbors. The installation of this lot should not require professional assistance if you, with the help and support of others, would like to build this design. Please refer to the Step-By-Step section for guidance. The installation process does not require any special, mechanized equipment. The most strenuous physical tasks are transporting your trees and digging the holes to plant them. The Field Guide recommends having access to a car or vehicle for hauling your plants to your lot. Always hire a professional if you are not up for the challenge, but remember, this will increase your costs. The Urban Edge works well on multiple lots—all the more reason to include your friends and neighbors in this project. Your group may also decide to build the Urban Edge over a series of weekends or seasons, completing one lot at a time through a phased or incremental approach.

Build Time Estimate

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

Other Build Considerations


The Urban Edge is a low maintenance lot design. Upkeep 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