Zoning Administration Division

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. Check the DPD Operating Status webpage for more information.

703-324-1314
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, VA 22035

Leslie Johnson,
Zoning Administrator

Front Yard Gardens - FAQs

Click on a question below to expand.

Gardening is defined by the Zoning Ordinance as: “An area of cultivated ground or a structure such as a planter box, pot, or raised bed, devoted in whole or in part to the growing of herbs, fruits, or vegetables for consumption.”

Landscaping is defined by the Zoning Ordinance as: “The improvement of a lot with grass, shrubs, trees, other vegetation, and ornamental features. Landscaping may include pedestrian walks, flowerbeds, ornamental objects such as fountains, statues, trellises, and other similar natural and artificial features.”

Pursuant to subsection 4102.7.A of the Zoning Ordinance, gardens located in a front yard, may not exceed a maximum area of 100 square feet and be located no closer than 15 feet to any front lot line or street line. Please see Figure 4102.4 of the Zoning Ordinance, for an illustrative example of these regulations.

Gardens that exceed 100 square feet are prohibited in any portion of the front yard on lots containing less than 36,000 square feet. On lots larger than 36,000 square feet, gardens that exceed 100 square feet may be located outside the required front yard setback

On lots with multiple front yards, 100 square feet of garden area is allowed in each front yard setback. However, there may be no more than 100 square feet of garden area in any one front yard setback, and the gardens must meet the 15- foot setback requirement. See Figure 4102.4 of the Zoning Ordinance

Structures related to gardening such as raised planter boxes, raised beds, and pots, which are no taller than four feet are permitted in the front yard, but must meet the 15-foot setback requirement from a front lot line. All other structures in the front yard or front yard setback must meet the provisions of subsection 4102.7.A of the Zoning Ordinance

Gardens located in a side or rear yard (as defined by the Zoning Ordinance) of any residentially zoned single-family lot, are permitted without size or location restriction. Please note that structures related to gardening, in the side or rear yard, may be subject to applicable setback regulations.

Composting is not permitted in any front yard, pursuant to subsection 4102.7.A of the Zoning Ordinance.

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