The Law of Your Land

Sheds are fine if they’re temporary (meaning not set in concrete). Anything flammable—wood, plastic—has to be more than three feet from the property line. You’ll need a permit to build a shed if it’s larger than 121 square feet.

Deck railings must be 42 inches high, with uprights no more than five inches apart. Fences can’t exceed ten feet high. In certain places like corner lots, six feet is the limit.

The trashmen won’t remove trees or fallen branches in your yard; you’re required to schedule a day for the Parks Department to come with a chipper. If there’s tree debris visible from the street, fines start at $100 and can reach $25,000.

Keeping hens is legal (and trendy!), and you can have as many as you’d like. (You can even sell their eggs, but only from home.) But if the smell or noise becomes a nuisance, your neighbors can sic city inspectors on you.

Barbecues are allowed, but must be at least ten feet from furniture, decks, and buildings (if the siding’s combustible). Propane tanks have to be smaller than the standard twenty-pound size. You’re also required to have a hose or fire extinguisher nearby.

But no cozy bonfires, per the fire code. And forget fire pits, too—portable or otherwise.

Lawn mowers and leaf blowers are operable only between 8 a.m. and sunset on weekdays, or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

Source: Department of Buildings and 311

The Law of Your Land