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Lawn and garden

Kanata North Nuisance Mosquito Control Program

The Kanata North Nuisance Mosquito Control Program targets mosquito larva found in wetlands to prevent hatching. The small, localized, program is approved for four years from 2016 to 2019.

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Community gardens

There are over 80 community gardens in the City of Ottawa which are managed by Just Food's Community Gardening Network.

The Community Gardening Network is an information- and resource-sharing network that supports sustainable development of community gardens within the city. The network works with private and public landowners to increase access to land for community gardens in the city.

For more information and a complete list of existing community gardens in Ottawa:

Frequently asked questions about lot grading

The grade of your property is designed to direct water away from your home towards ideal areas for drainage. Keep these frequently asked grading questions in mind before starting any landscaping projects.

Why is lot grading important?

Proper lot grading keeps surface water away from your home. Your lot should be sloped away from the home to allow all surface water to soak into the ground or flow to the property line. Changes to the grade of your lot can significantly impact how water flows across your property. This can damage your foundation, causing erosion or flooding basements and streets.

Lot Grading For Proper Drainage Ottawa

What am I responsible for as a property owner?

Property owners are responsible for maintaining the lot grade elevations established by the original grading plan. When hiring private contractors for landscaping or yard alteration, ensure that they respect the intended drainage design when carrying out work. This will reduce additional costs and stress that stems from improper lot grading.

Where can I obtain the grading plan for my property?

If a grading plan exists, residents can review the original plan by submitting an Access to Building Permit Records request. If there is no grading plan on record, please call 3-1-1 for additional grading inquires.

What is a violation of the drainage by-law?

Any action that negatively impacts the intended drainage of a lot violates the drainage by-law.  Swales are not to be filled, piped, or obstructed by any landscaping feature such as sheds or gardens. Consult the Site-Alteration By-law before altering your lot.

I’m planning minor landscaping, how do I know if I am violating the drainage by-law?

Small gardens are permitted just as long they do not interfere with the intended drainage of your property.  Do not fill in sloped swales or depressions. Never cover a catch basin, they are designed to help remove excess water from your lawn.

Why do I have a catch basin in my backyard?

Catch basins assist both you and properties abutting your lot in removing excess water. Never block a catch basin as that may increase the chances of local flooding. Never pour anything down a catch basin as this leads directly to a nearby waterway. To find out how to dispose of household hazardous waste, please consult the Waste Explorer.

Where should water be redirected?

Water from a downspout should flow onto your property and soak into the ground. Never direct water onto a neighbour's property, a sidewalk, right of way or easement. If space is limited, redirect water to the intended drainage point. Your downspout should be directed away from your home to a permeable surface such as grass. Extend your downspout at least four feet away from your foundation while respecting your neighbour’s property.

Water is pooling on my lawn, is this normal?

Your lot is designed to allow water to infiltrate back into the ground while draining excess water away from the property. This recharges ground water aquifers and reduces the strain on the municipal storm sewer system. If water has not disappeared after 48 hours, please call 3-1-1.

What should I do if my neighbour’s downspout drains on to my property?

Speaking with your neighbour is the first step. Inform them on how their drainage may negatively impact your property. If this does not work, call 3-1-1.

If you still have grading inquiries that have not been answered, please call 3-1-1 for more information.


Provincial ban on pesticides

Pesticides can pose risks to human health and the environment. Once applied to a lawn or garden, a pesticide may migrate into the air, soil and water. Studies in Ontario have detected some of our lawn and garden pesticides in both surface water and wells.

Ontario’s province-wide pesticide regulation bans the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides and came into effect on April 22, 2009.

The provincial pesticide ban only allows the use of certain lower-risk pesticides for controlling weeds and pests in lawns and gardens, and prohibits the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes (including many herbicides, fungicides and insecticides) on lawns, gardens, parks and schoolyards. However, it provides exceptions for public health or safety reasons, such as the prevention of West Nile Virus and the control of stinging insects, as well as the destruction, prevention or control of plants that are poisonous to humans by touch.

Proper disposal of pesticides

If you have pesticides stored in your garage or garden shed that are now banned, take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Depot for proper disposal. Left over pesticides should never be disposed in a way that would harm public health or the environment (like being poured down the drain, for example).

Weed killer alternatives

  • Remove weeds by hand.

Insecticide alternatives

  • Plant garlic cloves at 1-foot intervals in garden.
  • Use traps or spray soaps.
  • Blend 6 cloves crushed garlic, 1 minced onion, 1 tablespoon (14 ml) dried hot pepper, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure soap in 1 gallon (4.5 L) hot water. Let sit 1-2 days; strain; spray on plants.


  • Replace chemical fertilizers with peat moss, manure, fishmeal or organic compost.
  • Lawn fertilizer is unnecessary if lawn is watered properly and you practice grass cycling.
  • Grass Cycling: leave grass clippings on lawn; nutrients are reabsorbed into soil. Do not cut grass too short. Thoroughly water lawn (when necessary) in early morning (no more than a couple of hours).
  • Aerate lawn every few years.
For more information:

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Canadian Cancer Society – Pesticides

Pesticide use on City fields

In August 2004, the City of Ottawa adopted a Corporate Pesticide Use Policy, which prohibits the cosmetic use of pesticides on City-owned and City-leased lands. The policy permits the use of pesticides on City sports fields in very limited circumstances when all other methods of control have failed or are not feasible. Sports fields are eligible to use pesticides in three circumstances: sports fields that are being newly constructed, or that have been taken out of use for reconstruction purposes are eligible to use herbicides, and all sports fields may be treated for white grub infestations. Eligibility of a sports field for treatment with pesticides is determined with the concurrence of the Medical Officer of Health.

Catch Basin Locator Map

The City of Ottawa has over 100,000 catch basins to provide drainage to our roadways and greenspaces.

Ottawa catch basins with a fish shape as part of the grate
As a critical component of the city storm collection system, keeping catch basins clear of debris (leaves, ice, snow, etc.) is important. Find the location of your nearest catch basin using the interactive map and help keep our system operating effectively. 


The catch basins depicted in this interactive map are derived from existing and collected engineering drawings for the City of Ottawa's Geographic Information System and are protected by copyright. The locations of this infrastructure information are approximate, and should not be used for construction purposes.