Dear PoPville – Getting a Treebox Fence

“Dear PoP,

Last summer the flowers and other plants in my treebox didn’t fare so well (mostly from sidewalk traffic and the like). I’d like to get a nice low fence for the treebox like others that I’ve seen in the city, but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone provide recommendations of companies that do this type of work? What should I expect as far as
cost? (It’d be about 12ft by 3ft.) Do I need to get permission from the city?”

Anyone know how this works? Do you have to get permission from the city or can you just put one in?

18 Comment

  • There is some D.C. regulation on the height of the tree box fence – it might need to be 18″ high – but I’m not sure of the cite. These tend to be installed at the cost of neighboring condo/home owners although I’ve seen the city install them on main streets like 17th.

    • ah

      Check DCMR 24-109.

      – No permit needed
      – 4″ to 12″ high fencing
      – Not on curb side.

      Full requirements here:

      • I found this too:


        109.1 The regulations contained in this section shall apply to the unpaved area of public space that lies between the street curb and the sidewalk, which is commonly reserved by the District government for planting trees.

        109.2 The beautification of tree spaces shall be governed by the provisions of this section.

        109.3 The beautification of tree spaces shall not require a permit.

  • You can use Jose Alas Welding:

    No email but he returns calls: 202.367.8620 or 202.421.2207

    He did all of the tree box iron work on Q St. NW between 14th and 15th and they look great. He’ll give you an estimate when he comes out to look at it.

  • anyone have any idea how much these things cost?

  • Emmaleigh504

    Restoration Hardware used to sell these. You would buy as many foot long sections as you needed. They may still sell them.

    If I recall correctly they were about $25 a section back in 2000, but I have a crappy memory, so I may be way off.

  • I think you can’t have anything on the street side because it keeps people from opening their doors. I seem to recall something about a height limit of four inches, but again, my memory is not always what I want it to be.

  • Check Fragers. I think most of the time it’s a DIY project. A contractor would have some liability for building on public space without a permit.

    There’s no enforced regulation on putting them up, but don’t expect anyone official to care if someone stomps all over over it and breaks it. It’s still public domain.

  • @Anonymous: Would you mind sharing the individual or company name where you got your quote?

  • You do have to get a public space permit from DDOT for the fence and I like Nelson’s Welding, he’s familar with the required standards 202-889-3761. Make sure it’s a few inches (forget how much) behind the curb or else car doors will destroy the fencing.

    • Good point! Be careful if you are improving a tree-box that has parallel street parking right along side it. Give the car passengers enough clearance to open the car door and step in and out. I’ve seen so many homeowners forget about this. I hate getting out of a car and hitting the fence with my door and/or having nowhere to step without stomping on someone’s lovingly-tended flowers.

  • Trout design studio in dupont does them through an artist in west va. They’re are rebates I think through dupont circle citizens assoc too.

  • Talk to your ANC and get a city grant if possible. That way you can get an entire block done.

  • Ah got it right in the second post. You don’t need a permit, but you have to do it according to the rules. Ah posted the relevant municipal regulation. Read it, learn it, love it.

  • I called around to various ironwork places (found through Google searches, so don’t have them at my fingertips, and YMMV), but for a similiar size I was quoted anywhere between $900 – $1300 for the style I wanted. There was an alternate style that I think is pretty ugly (but is pretty common around where I live) that was around $600. I didn’t want the one I thought was ugly and the others were more than I was willing to pay, so I ended up not doing it.

    Oh, and I tried to reach out to my ANC person to find out the regulations, but never got a call back. I think the regulations quoted above are the only ones that really apply, and also don’t think anyone will really care if you put one in.

    • Oh, and now that I look at the picture posted above, that was the style that I wanted, and so that was the one that I got a quote of $900 – $1300. If anyone knows of a less expensive place, then please post!

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