Set trees and shrubs back from sidewalks.
Few things are more annoying to people who walk than overgrown shrubs that force them to walk in the street. If people you know are about to plant trees or shrubs near a sidewalk, ask them to consider how big they’ll be decades later.
The best trees for road frontage areas include crape myrtles, dogwoods, maples, redbuds and service berries.
Trees to avoid: fruit and nut trees, mulberries and oaks. Setting trees back from the sidewalks helps prevent bulging roots and uplifted pavement. Learn more at Athens-Clark County’s Technical Guide to Tree Conservation.
Routine pruning is essential.
If you encounter overgrown shrubs, especially prickly ones, ask neighbors to trim them. Likewise for tree limbs that intrude into the sidewalk area.
The Americans with Disability Act — and common courtesy –call for at least 7 feet of vertical clear space above sidewalks. Anything below that puts people at risk of whacking their head.
If needed, do it yourself. Anything intruding into sidewalk space is considered public property. If you can’t get your neighbors to prune overgrown trees or shrubs, have at it.