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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Landscaping FAQ

What is the purpose of Landscape Regulations?

Landscaping regulations have several important purposes, including the following:

  • to minimize the erosion of slopes and disturbed lands through re-vegetation
  • to conserve energy by the provision of shade trees over streets, sidewalks, parking areas and other paving
  • to conserve water through low-water-using planting and irrigation design
  • to reduce the risk of fire through site design and the management of flammable vegetation
  • and, to improve the appearance of the built environment by increasing the quality and quantity of landscaping visible from public rights-of-way, private streets, and adjacent properties, with the emphasis on landscaping as viewed from public rights-of-way.

Do I need to hire a Landscape Architect to prepare my landscape plans?

It is strongly recommended that a professional help you with your plans. Landscape Architects are licensed by the State of California to prepare plans for site work, landscape, and irrigation. Since they are highly trained, the review process is often shorter, which may save you money. A Landscape Architect is specifically required to prepare plans where the City Engineer has authorized steeper slopes than minimum code regulations allow (see LDC Section 142.0133[a-d]).

When do I need to provide the Landscape Plan?

Landscape plans are required for all projects except for a single family home on a single family zoned lot without erosion control or brush management concerns. Refer to LDC Table 142-04A for Landscape Applicability.

What do I need to show on my landscape plans?

The Submittal Requirements documents contain detailed information about the initial information required on your landscape plans.

Also see the Municipal Code, Landscape Section and Land Development Manual: Landscape Standards for additional information.

Will I need a landscape inspection?

All projects that are required to submit plans will require a landscape inspection before occupancy.

How do I schedule a landscape inspection?

Call (619) 980-7208.

Can I change my design after it has been approved?

Changes are allowed through a Substantial Conformance Review (SCR) process for Discretionary projects (Plan Change for Ministerial projects).

What is a street tree and what kind should I plant?

Street trees are trees that are planted between the curb and abutting property line. One 24-inch box size tree should be planted for every 30 feet of street frontage. (Refer to section 142.0409 of the Municipal Code). Refer to your Community Plan for specific tree species requirements and to the City Street Tree Selection Guide (PDF) for more information.

What is the purpose of "shade over pavement?"

Creating shade over pavement helps to reduce the Heat Island Effect. For more information about the Heat Island Effect, visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website at: http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/

What is the purpose of screening?

One of the goals of screening is to improve the appearance of the built environment by increasing the quality and quantity of landscaping visible from the public rights-of-way. This can include buffering and filtering views of the development to soften the impact on adjacent properties and the public right-of-way.

What is brush management?

Brush management is required for all projects adjacent to or near native and naturalized vegetation. Brush management creates a buffer around a development in order to have a defensible space around a structure in the event of a brush fire. For more information, see the latest amendments on Building and Brush Management to the Land Development Code (LDC) and Local Costal Program (LCP).

When is erosion control required?

Erosion control is required for all projects that are disturbing soil. Additional measures are required for projects that have a gradient of 4:1 or greater. Refer to Municipal Code, Section 142.0411 and see Section 142.0411 for more specific information.