2019 Landscape Guidelines Update Process

The City of Alexandria’s 2019 Landscape Guidelines Update revises the City’s approved landscape standards to include current industry standards, best practices, and terminology. The Landscape Guidelines are primarily intended for use by property owners, developers, and applicants seeking approvals such as Grading Plans, Development Site Plans, Development Special Use Permits, and/or Special Use Permits within the City of Alexandria.

Page updated on Jun 20, 2019 at 5:36 PM


Landscape Guidelines CoverAbout

The City of Alexandria’s 2019 Landscape Guidelines Update revises the City’s approved landscape standards to include current industry standards, best practices, and terminology. The update also aligns the standards with City policies and plans approved since 2007 when the Landscape Guidelines were last revised.  

This document is a guide to the City of Alexandria’s landscape standards. The Landscape Guidelines are primarily intended for use by property owners, developers, and applicants seeking approvals such as Grading Plans, Development Site Plans, Development Special Use Permits, and/or Special Use Permits within the City of Alexandria, Virginia. The document provides information regarding the expectations and procedures associated with these approval processes. The best practices and references in this document are resources for all Alexandria residents.

The Landscape Guidelines set minimum standards for landscape plans, installation of landscape improvements and maintenance. The present update builds upon the initial version in 1997 and first update in 2007 and aligns the City’s standards with current industry best practices, recent changes to City policies and procedures, and includes new sections detailing the approval processes.

Information in the Landscape Guidelines is not intended to replace, but instead to supplement applicable codes, ordinances, and development procedures. In any given application the City may require additional improvements and plantings beyond the established minimums.

Approvals & Recommendations

2019 Landscape Guidelines

Major Changes

  • Document Organization
  • Communication Sections for Development Process
    • New sections describing what is required for all approval processes
    • New sections describing what is required at different stages in the approval processes
  • Plant Material Requirements
    • New requirement to source plant material from within 300 miles of Alexandria
  • Invasive Species Management
    • New requirement for invasive species removal and management if certain project criteria are met

  • Canopy Coverage
    • New requirement to meet canopy coverage requirements on site or contribute to the Urban Forestry Fund
    • Amendments to planting above structure requirements to encourage additional trees on each site
    • Amendments to street tree requirements to encourage additional trees in the right-of-way
  • Native Plants
    • New requirement for native plants on landscape plans
    • Required percentage would increase over time, to coordinate with industry availability •
  • Plant Diversity
    • New requirement to increase diversity of plant species proposed on landscape plans
  • Soils
    • New requirements for soil composition
    • Amended requirements for soil volume
  • Planting and Tree Protection Details
    • Amended details for planting standards
    • New details added to standardize installation of plants and tree protection measures
    • Linked to the website for improved updating
  • References and Appendices
    • Updated references to required notes, canopy coverage allowances,   and industry standards for native plants and invasive species
    • Linked to the website for improved updating

Outreach Process

  • Listening Sessions with Industry Professionals and Designers – Summer 2018 
  • Park and Recreation Commission Draft Presentation – October 18, 2018
  • Invitation to provide Input from residents and the business community - October 19, 2018
  • Online Public Comment Period – Ends November 16, 2018
  • Environmental Policy Commission – November 5, 2018
  • Beautification Commission – November 8, 2018
  • Park and Recreation Commission Public Hearing – November 15, 2018
  • Outreach to NAIOP and Federation of Civic Associations - November 2018
  • Planning Commission – February 7, 2019
  • City Council – February 23, 2019

Additional Information

For additional information, contact Bethany Znidersic, Principal Planner, at bethany.znidersic@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.5492.

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