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Healthy Yards

Healthy Yards symbolThe Healthy Yards Program provides information to the public about creating healthy lawns and gardens using native plants, as well as alternatives to using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Native plant is a term used to describe plants that occur naturally and have existed for many years in a given area.

Why grow native plants?

  • They are adapted to local climate and soil conditions and therefore require less water and maintenance.
  • They improve local biodiversity by providing habitat and food for birds, mammals and insects.

    Native Plant Kit & Rain Barrel Sale on Now!
    Richmond Hill residents! Pre-order your native plant kits and rain barrels at a subsidized cost (while quantities last). Deadline extended to Sunday, May 8!

    Native Plant Kits - Wildflowers, Trees and Shrubs
    The plant guide below outlines the native wildflowers, trees and shrubs available this year.

    2016 Healthy Yards Plant Guide [PDF]

    Native wildflower kits consist of a tray of 17 sun-tolerant or shade-tolerant wildflowers and a recommended garden design. Click on the images below to enlarge recommended sun kit or shade kit garden designs. You can find links to sample layouts below each image. Pick a design that best suits your property and order the corresponding wildflower kit.

    Shade Kit Garden Design

    Shade Kit Garden Design Layout [PDF]
    Sun Kit Garden Design

    Sun Kit Garden Design Layout [PDF]


    Small Kit (2 trees/shrubs) - $10 + HST
    Large Kit (5 trees/shrubs) - $25 + HST
    Sun Kit (Tray of 17 Sun-tolerant wildflowers) – $22 + HST
    Shade Kit (Tray of 17 Shade-tolerant wildflowers) – $22 + HST

    How to Order

    1. Download the 2016 Healthy Yards Plant Kit Application Form [PDF] by clicking on the link.
    2. Complete the form by filling in the fields.
    3. Click the "SAVE" button at the bottom of the form to save it to your computer.
    4. Submit the form as an attachment in an email to by Sunday, May 8.

    If you are having technical difficulties, you can email your contact information and what you would like to order, to

    Rain Barrels
    Each rain barrel includes a leaf/mosquito filter, spigot, overflow hose and a dispensing hose.


    240 Litre/60 Gallon Rain Barrel - $45 including HST

    How to Order

    Complete the Rain Barrel Application Online.

    Order Pickup Information
    Pre-ordered native plant kits, rain barrels and composters* will be available for pickup at the:

    Healthy Yards Event at the National Public Works Week Open House
    Saturday, May 14
    Richmond Hill Operations Centre
    1200 Elgin Mills Road East
    10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

    *For native plant kits and rain barrels go to the Healthy Yards booth. For composters, go to the York Region booth.

    All residents are welcome to attend the Healthy Yards Event where they can:
  • Receive FREE wood chips
  • Receive FREE expert advice on backyard naturalization and organic lawn care
  • WIN gardening prizes
  • Receive a FREE tree or composter (while quantities last, one per household, with proof that you live in Richmond Hill)

    For more information about the Healthy Yards Program, please email or call 905-771-8800.

    Native Plant Selection Guides
    Backyard naturalization helps to increase urban forest areas, improve environmental health, decrease landscape maintenance costs, decrease the spread of invasive species and is naturally resistant to pests. Please refer to the Town's Native Species Selection Guides for information on which native plants are suitable for your property and aesthetic taste.

    Click here to download the Native Trees Brochure in PDF format

    Native Trees
    Brochure [PDF]
    Click here to download the Native Wildflowers Brochure in PDF format

    Native Wildflowers
    Brochure [PDF]
    Click here to download the Native Shrubs Brochure in PDF format

    Native Shrubs
    Brochure [PDF]

    For more information or to receive a free information kit on backyard naturalization, contact
    Backyard Tree Planting Program
    The Backyard Tree Planting Program is a partnership involving the Town of Richmond Hill, York Region and LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests) which provides trees (ranging from 5 to 8 feet) to residents at a subsidized price. Costs range from $150 to $220 and includes a site consultation with a qualified arborist, one tree and full planting service. Shrubs, native garden kits, and edible garden kits are also available. Since 1996, LEAF has planted over 17,000 native trees and shrubs in residential backyards.

    For more information, please visit LEAF's website or call (416) 413-9244. 

    Get Certified! 
    The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat Certification Program recognizes the amazing efforts Canadians are taking to meet the habitat needs of wildlife, and allows individuals to have their property certified by officially designating their gardens as wildlife friendly. Whether you have a small patio or acres of land, your property may receive certification once specific criteria and established best practices are met.

    Visit the Canadian Wildlife Federation website for more information. There are also some helpful resources at the links below:

    Wild About Gardening
    Native Plant Encyclopedia

    Additional Resources
    Learn how to plant and care for a tree and/or shrub.

    How to Plant a Tree or Shrub [PDF]

    External Links

    The Lake Simcoe South Master Gardeners are members of Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc., a registered non-profit organization. Master Gardeners are volunteers that are trained and certified in horticulture to provide sustainable gardening advice to the general public. 

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