Chapter 9.28


9.28.010    Purpose of chapter.

9.28.020    Applicability.

9.28.030    Landscape concept plan.

9.28.040    Detailed construction landscape and irrigation plans.

9.28.050    Landscape documentation package.

9.28.060    Landscape area requirements.

9.28.070    Landscape standards.

9.28.080    Certification of substantial compliance.

9.28.090    Maintenance of private landscaping.

9.28.100    Maintenance of public landscaping prior to City acceptance of private landscaping.

9.28.010 Purpose of chapter.

The purpose of this chapter is to achieve the following:

A.    Enhance the appearance of all development by providing standards relating to the quality, quantity, and functional aspects of landscaping and landscape screening;

B.    Protect public health, safety, and welfare by minimizing the impact of all forms of physical and visual pollution, controlling soil erosion, screening incompatible land uses, preserving the integrity of existing residential neighborhoods, and enhancing pedestrian and vehicular traffic and safety;

C.    Decrease the use of water for landscaping purposes by requiring the efficient use of irrigation, appropriate plant materials, and regular maintenance of landscaped areas; and

D.    To achieve water conservation by raising the public awareness of the need to conserve water through education and motivation to embrace an effective water management program.

E.    To encourage landscaping which enhances the sequestering of greenhouse gases. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.020 Applicability.

A.    Landscaping required. All projects shall provide and maintain landscaping in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.

B.    Landscaping plans subject to Department review. Landscape plans, and plans for the ornamental use of water, including fountains and ponds, shall be submitted to the Department for review for compliance with the requirements of this chapter. Landscaping shall not be installed until the applicant receives approval of the final landscape plan. Changes to the approved landscape plans that affect the character or quantity of the plant material or irrigation system design are required to be resubmitted for review and approval before installation. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.030 Landscape concept plan.

A.    Concept plan required. A landscape concept plan shall be submitted as part of an application for a site plan review or subdivision map.

B.    Intent of concept plan. The concept plan shall meet the intent of this section by exhibiting a design layout that demonstrates the desired landscaping program in terms of function, location, size/scale, theme, and similar attributes. The concept plan shall provide the applicable review authority with a clear understanding of the landscaping program before the preparation of detailed construction landscape and irrigation plans. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.040 Detailed construction landscape and irrigation plans.

Detailed landscape and irrigation plans (construction documents) for on-site landscaping shall be prepared following approval of the land use entitlement application by the applicable review authority. This section, and those that follow, provide standards for preparation of the detailed landscape and irrigation plans, in compliance with Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Title 6 (Water Efficient Landscape Requirements).

A.    Registered landscape architect required. Landscape and irrigation plans shall be prepared by a State registered landscape architect, or other landscape professional determined to be competent by the Parks Division.

B.    Landscape plan contents. The landscape plan shall be drawn on project base sheets, be fully dimensioned, and include the information specified in Section 9.28.050(C) (Landscape design plan).

C.    Irrigation plan contents. A fully dimensioned irrigation plan shall be drawn on project base sheets separate from the landscape design plan. The scale and format shall be the same as the landscape design plan. The irrigation design plan shall provide information specified in Section 9.28.050(D) (Irrigation design plan). (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.050 Landscape documentation package.

A.    Applicability.

1.    Package required. A landscape documentation package conforming to the requirements of this subsection shall be submitted for review and approval by the applicable review authority for all projects in which the total landscaped area, including parking lot landscaping, is greater than two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet.

2.    Less than two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet. Projects with less than two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet of landscaped area shall follow submittal requirements specified by the Director.

B.    Contents of the landscape documentation package. Each landscape documentation package shall be prepared in compliance with, and shall include all of the elements specified in, the City’s Water Efficiency Ordinance.

C.    Landscape design plan. A landscape design plan meeting the following requirements shall be submitted as part of the landscape documentation package.

1.    Plant selection and grouping.

a.    Any plants may be used in the landscape, providing for an attractive and sustainable environment.

b.    Plants shall be selected based upon their adaptability to the climatic, geologic, and topographical conditions of the site. Existing trees shall be preserved and incorporated whenever possible.

2.    Water features. Only recirculating water shall be used for decorative water features.

D.    Irrigation design plan. An irrigation design plan meeting the following requirements shall be submitted as part of the landscape documentation package.

1.    Irrigation design criteria.

a.    Runoff and overspray. Soil types and infiltration rates shall be considered when designing irrigation systems. All irrigation systems shall be designed to avoid runoff, low head drainage, overspray or other similar conditions where water flows onto adjacent property, nonirrigated areas, walks, roadways, or structures. Proper irrigation equipment and schedules shall be used to closely match application rates to infiltration rates in order to minimize runoff.

b.    Special attention required. Special attention shall be given to avoid runoff on slopes and to avoid overspray in planting areas with a width less than ten feet (10').

c.    Irrigation efficiency. For the purpose of determining the maximum water allowance, irrigation efficiency is assumed to be 0.625. Irrigation systems shall be designed, maintained, and managed to meet or exceed 0.625 efficiency, and in compliance with Section 6.5.503 (Landscape documentation package submittal requirements).

2.    Recycled water. The installation of recycled water irrigation systems (dual distribution systems) shall be consistent with the City’s policy for recycled water.

E.    Soil analysis and preparation.

1.    A certified soil analysis satisfying the following conditions shall be submitted as part of the landscape documentation package, in compliance with Section 6.5.503 (Landscape documentation package submittal requirements).

a.    Determination of soil texture, indicating the percentage of organic matter;

b.    An approximate soil infiltration rate (either measured or derived from soil texture/infiltration rate tables). A range of infiltration rates should be noted where appropriate; and

c.    Measure of pH and total soluble salts.

2.    An agronomic soils test from a certified laboratory as to required fertilizers for amending and backfill.

3.    A mulch of at least two inches (2") in depth shall be applied to all planting areas except turf.

4.    Before the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, the landscape architect or authorized landscape professional shall provide the City with a written/certified verification of completion and compliance with all of the applicable the requirements of this chapter. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.060 Landscape area requirements.

Landscaping shall be provided in the locations specified in this section.

A.    Setbacks. All setback and open space areas required by this Development Code shall be landscaped, except where a required setback is occupied by a sidewalk or driveway, or where a required setback is screened from public view and it is determined by the Director that landscaping is not necessary to fulfill the purposes of this section.

B.    Unused areas. All areas of a project site not intended for a specific use, including pad sites held for future development, shall be landscaped unless it is determined by the Director that landscaping is not necessary to fulfill the purposes of this subsection. The Director shall determine the level or intensity of landscaping to be provided for vacant pad sites based on an approved phasing plan. Landscaping within vacant pad sites shall not be counted towards meeting the landscape area requirements of this chapter.

C.    Parking areas. Parking areas shall be landscaped in compliance with Chapter 32 of this title. (Parking and Loading Standards). (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.070 Landscape standards.

Landscape areas and materials shall be designed, installed, and properly maintained in compliance with the following:

A.    General design standards. The following features shall be incorporated into the design of the proposed landscape and shown on the required landscape plans.

1.    Public/private separation. Publicly maintained areas shall be separated from privately maintained areas with, at a minimum, a concrete mow strip.

2.    Integral part of project design. Landscaping shall be planned as an integral part of the overall project design and not simply located in excess space after parking areas and structures have been planned.

3.    Consideration for access. Pedestrian access to sidewalks and structures shall be considered in the design of all landscaped areas.

4.    Minimum dimensions. Landscaped areas shall not be less than five feet (5') in any dimension in order to be counted as meeting the minimum requirements of this chapter.

5.    Concrete curb. Landscape adjacent to driveways and parking areas shall be protected from vehicle damage through the provision of a minimum six-inch (6") high and six-inch (6") wide concrete curb or other suitable type of barrier, as approved by the Director.

6.    Concrete mow strips. Concrete mow strips, when necessary, shall be a minimum of four inches (4") in width.

B.    Plant materials. Plant materials shall be selected and installed to comply with the following requirements:

1.    Mix of materials. A mix of plant materials shall be provided in compliance with the following table (Table 3-9). Calculations documenting the required mix shall be shown on the landscape plan.


Plant Material

Minimum Required Percentage


24-inch box


15 gallon



5 gallon


1 gallon (herbaceous only) with City approval



Coverage within 2 years



*    A greater percentage of specimen trees may be utilized with a corresponding reduction in the number of fifteen (15) gallon trees subject to the review and approval of the Director.

2.    Drought-tolerant. Plant materials shall emphasize drought-tolerant and/or climate appropriate species.

3.    Spacing of trees.

a.    When trees are spaced in rows, the total dimension shall be verified and the trees equally spaced within the designated area.

b.    Where trees are shown in an informal pattern, the landscape contractor shall space the material as shown maintaining an unequal spacing as illustrated on the plans, and as determined by the Director.

4.    Mature trees. Mature specimen trees (e.g., twenty-four-inch (24"), thirty-six-inch (36"), and forty-eight-inch (48") box) shall be provided to ensure variety and emphasis at main focal areas.

5.    Trees to be staked. All trees shall be staked or guyed (on a case-by-case basis) subject to the review and approval of the Director.

6.    Clear of service lines. Trees and shrubs shall be planted so that at maturity they do not interfere with utility lines and traffic safety sight areas.

7.    Protection of property rights. Trees and shrubs shall be planted and maintained in a manner that protects the basic rights of adjacent property owners, particularly the right to solar access.

8.    Prevent damage. Trees planted near public curbs or sidewalks shall be of a species and installed in a manner that prevents physical damage to the curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and other public improvements.

9.    Groundcover. Groundcover of live plant material is strongly recommended. Limited quantities of bark, colored rock, gravel, and similar materials may be used in combination with a living groundcover. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.080 Certification of substantial compliance.

Upon completion of the installation of the landscaping and the irrigation system, an irrigation audit shall be conducted by a certified landscape irrigation auditor before the final field observation, in compliance with Section 6.5.503 (Landscape documentation package submittal requirements). (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.090 Maintenance of private landscaping.

A.    Maintenance defined. Maintenance of approved landscaping shall consist of regular watering, mowing, pruning, fertilizing, clearing of debris and weeds, monitoring for pests and disease, the removal and timely replacement of dead plants, and the repair and timely replacement of irrigation systems and integrated architectural features consistent with the approved site plan.

B.    Maintenance agreement required. Before the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the landowner shall file, with the Department, a perpetual maintenance covenant subject to the review and approval of the City Engineer. The covenant shall ensure that if the landowner or subsequent owner fails to properly maintain the installed landscaping, the City will be able to file an appropriate lien(s) against the property in order to accomplish the required maintenance. A copy of the final landscape plan shall be recorded with the maintenance agreement.

C.    General landscape maintenance in nonresidential, multifamily and planned developments.

1.    Planting areas shall be pruned and maintained to ensure a healthy and thriving condition.

2.    Trees and landscaping material shall not be pruned inconsistent with industry standards. Tree-trimming must meet and maintain the International Society of Arboriculture and American National Standards Institute standards as interpreted by a City representative.

3.    Dead, dying and diseased vegetation shall be replaced.

4.    Planted areas shall be maintained in a relatively weed-free condition and clear of undergrowth which may cause undue fire hazards.

5.    Invasive species shall be eradicated.

6.    Landscape shall be maintained to avoid obstructing motorists’ views.

7.    Mulch shall be replenished as needed. Supplemental soil amendments shall be added when necessary to support and maintain healthy plant growth.

8.    Plants shall be fertilized and watered at such intervals as are necessary to promote optimum growth.

9.    Integrated pest management principles and practices shall be included in the maintenance program.

D.    General irrigation maintenance in nonresidential, multifamily and planned developments.

1.    Landscape irrigation shall be applied at a rate not exceeding the infiltration rate of the soil (minimizing erosion and water waste) but sufficiently to allow for healthy plant growth.

2.    Routine inspections shall be performed to guard against runoff and erosion and to detect plant or irrigation system failure.

3.    The irrigation system and its components shall be repaired and replaced as necessary.

E.    Compliance with City’s nuisance and vacant buildings ordinance. The provisions of the City’s nuisance ordinance pertaining to property related nuisances (Article 1 of Chapter 27 of Title 5) and vacant buildings (Article 3 of Chapter 27 of Title 5) shall apply to the maintenance of private landscaping. Violations of this section are subject to the abatement procedures in Chapter 28 of Title 5. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)

9.28.100 Maintenance of public landscaping prior to City acceptance of private landscaping.

The following special maintenance requirements are for all landscape and irrigation installations that will ultimately be accepted by the City for perpetual maintenance.

A.    Maintenance period required. A minimum ninety (90) day maintenance period shall be required for all irrigation systems, and shall run concurrent with the landscape planting maintenance period. The maintenance period shall begin after all landscape construction activities have been completed, and upon receiving written approval by the City Engineer.

B.    Responsibility during the maintenance period.

1.    The landscape contractor shall continuously maintain all areas included in the project during the progress of the project, through all establishment periods, and until acceptance of the work by the City Engineer, for maintenance.

2.    After all irrigation/landscape work indicated on the drawings or specified within this chapter has been completed, inspected, and approved by the City Engineer, the City shall issue a written approval to the landscape contractor to commence the ninety (90) day maintenance period.

3.    The maintenance period work shall include, at a minimum on a weekly basis, all litter pickup and removal, cultivating, edging, mowing, mulching, pest and disease control, plant replacement, trimming, watering, and weeding necessary to bring the planted areas to a healthy growing condition and any additional work needed to keep the areas neat and attractive. During the maintenance period, the landscape contractor shall be charged prevailing rates for all water used.

4.    Before the final inspection, the landscape contractor shall apply a pre-emergent herbicide at the recommended rate.

5.    The maintenance period shall cease and begin anew any time the landscape contractor fails to adequately control weeds, replace unsuitable plants, water, or perform other work necessary for the proper establishment of all new landscaping.

6.    During the maintenance period, any plant indicating weakness or probability of dying shall be replaced at the landscape contractor’s expense. Constant diligence shall be maintained to prevent disease, insects, and/or rodent infestations and proper prevention or control measures shall be taken. All areas included in the work shall be substantially clean and free of debris and weeds. All plant materials shall be live, healthy, and free of infestations.

7.    Any erosion or slipping of soil caused by watering shall be repaired at the landscape contractor’s expense.

8.    All walks, curbs, and gutters shall be kept clear of debris, dust, mud, and standing water by sweeping, mopping, or hosing down as required for complete cleanliness.

C.    Landscape guarantee required.

1.    All plant and lawn areas shall be guaranteed as to growth and health for a period of twelve (12) months after acceptance of the work for maintenance (e.g., at the end of the maintaining period).

2.    Any areas that are not healthy and growing shall be replaced under this section at no additional cost to the City.

3.    The landscape contractor, within seven (7) days of written notification by the inspector, shall remove and replace all guaranteed plant material that for any reason fails to meet the requirements of the guarantee.

4.    Replacement shall be made with plant material as indicated or specified for the first planting, and all replacement material shall be guaranteed as specified for the original guaranteed material. (§ 2, Ord. 14-13, eff. October 8, 2014)