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Front Yard Makeovers Showcase Next Level of Sustainability

Sep 25, 2012


For Immediate Distribution

(TORONTO, September 25, 2012) As part of Toronto and Region Conservation's (TRCA) Lake Wilcox Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP), two Oak Ridges homes were selected to receive free Front Yard Makeovers that were unveiled at a community barbecue on Saturday, September 22.  The Front Yard Makeovers showcase two beautiful front yards with environmentally sustainable landscape designs and practices that help to reduce the homeowners' outdoor water use and protect Lake Wilcox.

 "The Front Yard Makeovers are about encouraging residents to transform their property through eco-landscaping as part of a plan for their neighbourhood that is aimed at building resiliency to climate change, helping the health of Lake Wilcox and also has social, economic and health benefits," said Deb Martin-Downs, Director, Ecology, Toronto and Region Conservation.  "The response we've gotten back about the Lake Wilcox Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan, SNAP, from residents is very positive.  The results from this and other SNAPs will be applied to future neighborhood greening projects as TRCA continues to protect, manage and enhance the green infrastructure of the GTA."

The Front Yard Makeovers at 20 Wheatsheaf Street and 95 Wheelwright Drive in Richmond Hill, combine rain gardens, soak aways, high-capacity rain barrels, permeable interlocking paving, and native and water-efficient plants and trees. These gardens transform rain into a resource, which reduces the need for watering and also reduces the potential for pollutants, like fertilizers, to reach Lake Wilcox.

"York Region has committed to a Long Term Water Conservation Strategy and this pilot project is one of the many initiatives we'd like to see our residents adopt," said York Region Chairman and CEO, Bill Fisch. "The Front Yard Makeovers clearly demonstrate that water conservation efforts and beautiful gardens are a sustainable combination."

TRCA will be monitoring reductions in water use in the demonstration gardens for a period of three years. The results will be used to show why all residents should invest in similar landscaping.  A series of short videos will capture the experience of designing, growing and maintaining an eco-landscaped garden and will be available at  

To encourage residents to start eco-landscaping projects this fall, SNAP is partnering with LEAF to help Lake Wilcox-area residents in the Town of Richmond Hill, plant a tree on their property. For $150-$250 per tree (a 50 per cent discount), residents will receive a five-to-eight- foot tall native tree, a 30-minute consultation with an arborist from LEAF, expert advice on tree care and full planting services including delivery, utility locates, mulch and a tree care guide. For more information on this offer, download the flyer at

The Front Yard Makeovers were led by TRCA in partnership with The Regional Municipality of York  Water for Tomorrow program, the Town of Richmond Hill Healthy Yards program andLEAF (Local Enhancements & Appreciation of Forests). The project was funded by York Region's Long Term Water Conservation Strategy, and supported by private sector sponsors. The gardens were designed and installed by Cypress Hill Design & Build.

Toronto and Region Conservation

With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at




Photos of the Front Yard Makeover are available upon request.  

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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