Planning & Development

Landscape Plan Guidelines

Landscape Plan Guide

The main objectives of requiring a landscape plan are to fulfill the vision of greener neighborhoods and enhanced property values. Historically, properties were often clear cut removing large mature trees that could have been saved. In addition, the Board of Aldermen wanted to ensure as development continued that the larger structures on smaller lots did not reduce the amount of green space of the city. Caliper-per-caliper tree replacement has been a policy of the city for several years. More recently, Clayton has had tree preservation provisions enacted within the Architectural Review Board Guidelines since July 1999. Since then, several projects have benefited from the planting of many new trees and more importantly the preservation of existing mature trees. The people of Clayton (residents, business owners and visitors alike) benefit from a more beautiful city filled with trees, shrubs and flowers.

This guide has been created to assist developers and design professionals in the preparation of the landscape component of their project and to facilitate a complete review of the plans.

When a Landscape Plan Is Required
Projects which require Site Plan Review must also contain a landscape plan prepared by a Missouri licensed landscape architect or certified arborist. Typically, these projects consist of:

  • New residential buildings
  • New commercial and mixed use buildings
  • Large additions
  • Large accessory structures
  • Other projects at the discretion of the Department

Clayton's Tree Removal and Replacement Policy
In order to meet the goals stated above, the preservation of existing trees on the site is required. When preservation is not possible, the City of Clayton requires all trees that are at least 1 caliper inch to be replaced on-site with similar species. Minimum replacement size is 2 caliper inches. Evergreen trees are not counted toward caliper-inch replacement but are required to be replaced on a one-to-one basis from the Desired Species List. Minimum replacement size for evergreen trees is 6 feet in height. Trees which are determined to be in poor condition (50% or more dead and no longer viable) may not require replacement based on the recommendation of a certified arborist or licensed landscape architect and agreed to by the City. Any trees that have been removed prior to construction will be counted toward replacement.

In cases where the amount of caliper inches to be removed cannot be replaced on site, the developer is required to pay an in-lieu fee of $120.00 per caliper inch. The fees are paid into the City's Reforestry Fund and are due upon application for a Building Permit.

City Approval Process
Because the landscape plan is a requirement of Site Plan Review, it must be submitted with the other necessary materials (site plan, building elevations, etc.). There is an application fee for Site Plan Review of $250.00 and a $450.00 landscape review deposit. These fees must be paid when the project is submitted to the Planning and Development Services Department for Site Plan Review. The landscape review deposit is applied for the cost of the City's contracted landscape architect to review the project and provide recommendations to City staff. Site Plan Review is conducted by City staff on a weekly basis. After staff determines that the plans are complete and satisfactory, the project is scheduled for final approval by the Plan Commission.

For further information on the city approval process, including number of plan sets and deadlines, please refer to the Site Plan Review application on the City's Website.

Components of a Landscape Plan
A landscape plan is a component of every project that requires Site Plan Review. The landscape plan is an integral part of the review serving as the governing document for all landscape issues associated with a development and are to be drawn on a separate sheet from the site plan. The main components of a landscape plan are:

  • Site information based off the site plan (buildings, property lines, impervious areas, utilities, etc.)
  • Tree inventory showing existing trees to remain and those to be removed 
  • Tree schedule including existing trees to be removed, trees to remain and new plants to be installed - all listed by species and size (caliper inch) 
  • Tree protection measures

Site Information
The landscape plan should be reflective of the site plan. Information contained in the site plan and transferred to the landscape plan includes:

  • Lot lines 
  • Building lines 
  • Utilities (sewers, electric, water, gas) 
  • Impervious areas (retaining walls, driveways, sidewalks, trash and HVAC enclosures) Contour/grading lines 

Tree Inventory
All existing trees 1 caliper inch and greater should be identified on the landscape plan. Proper labeling should be used to differentiate between different species and types of trees (evergreen, deciduous, etc.). The caliper inch size of each tree needs to be provided; for needled evergreens, the height of the tree is to be used. Existing trees are measured at a Diameter Breast Height (DBH) of 4.5 feet above grade.

Tree Schedule
A tree schedule must be included on the landscape plan. The tree schedule is typically in the form of a table showing the following information:

  • Existing trees to remain by caliper and species and existing trees to be protected
  • Existing trees to be removed by caliper and species
  • New trees to be planted by caliper and species

All trees that are to be removed must be sized by caliper inch. The City of Clayton requires that all caliper inches of trees removed be replaced with similar species which total the amount removed. In addition, all evergreen trees are to be replaced on a one-to-one basis. All existing trees listed on the tree schedule should be reflective of the tree inventory. The tree schedule must list the species (common name and botanical name), size (caliper inch or height for needled evergreens). New trees are to be sized and measured 6 inches above grade. When selecting new trees for the site, considerations that will be reviewed by the City include adequate location for sun and moisture, growth habit and appearance. A list of preferred trees can be found in the Desired Species List.

Tree Protection
The City has adopted tree protection standards geared toward limiting the amount of disturbance to the tree. Depending on the potential impact to the tree, preservation measures typically required include fencing around the tree, root pruning measures and aeration systems.

Developers are required to follow the City's Tree Protection Standards for those trees which are to remain on the property and which may be impacted by construction activity. The City of Clayton Tree Protection Notes and Tree Protection Details need to be shown on the landscape plan.