Landscape and planting schemes

Last Updated: 21 February 2023

Careful and early consideration of design issues, and the provision of adequate landscape information can help to avoid costly delays at a later stage. In assessing the landscape implications of planning applications, the site context, proposed layout, future uses and maintenance all need to be taken into account.

There is a diverse landscape character and settlement pattern within the district with rural landscapes of particularly high quality, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and historic towns and villages. The proposed landscaping schemes should contribute positively to the streetscape and local character of the area and to help to create pleasant, safe and attractive environments.

When required

Landscaping and planting schemes will usually be needed for Major planning applications for housing developments (more than 10 dwellings) or business/industrial schemes (more than 1000 square metres or more than one hectare) where extensive hard or soft landscaping is proposed or where screening is required.

Content of landscape and planting scheme

Hard landscape

This includes all hard surfaces to be retained or formed within the site including paved areas, car park surfaces, steps, walls, fences, roads, paths, seating, lighting and other features.  As a general rule, simple design using a limited range of good quality and robust materials looks better and works better. Re-use or retention of existing original materials is encouraged, such as railings and stone which contribute to local landscape character.

Hard landscape design should always take the needs of the disabled into account, as well as security and safety for all users.

Soft landscape

This refers to all vegetation which is to be retained or planted within the site, including areas of grass, as well as to watercourses,ponds and wetlands.

Certain plants will be more suited to the physical conditions of the site and to the local landscape character than others. As a general rule, locally native species are preferable for countryside boundaries and for large scale planting. It is also recommended that large tree species which will make a long-term contribution to the rural or urban landscape are included in landscape schemes, where space permits.

Outline application

The factors listed below should be considered by the developer at any early stage and will be helpful in assessing whether or not the proposal is acceptable in principle.

  • existing boundaries
  • position of existing trees and whether they are to be retained or removed
  • intended uses and treatment of the external spaces
  • location of screening factors e.g. buildings, trees etc. within or outside the site
  • location of other structures
  • any intended changes in landform/levels
  • position and general type of planting

Some types of development would benefit from a Design Statement, while a detailed landscape and visual assessment may be needed for particularly prominent development proposals. Major development may be subject to formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures. We can advise on when these are needed, and at what stage.

Full or applications for reserved matters

Information provided should include where appropriate:

  • topographical site survey plan drawn to a recognised metric scale, showing spot levels, contours, existing structures, walls, fences etc.
  • details of proposed boundary treatments, including materials, height, location
  • information on any surplus materials to be taken off site, or fill material to be imported
  • existing trees and other soft landscape features to be retained, and methods of protection during construction
  • details of all existing and proposed hard landscape materials, and their location
  • species, numbers (or planting density), distribution and sizes of proposed new planting and mixes for grass and wild flora seeding
  • the location of any existing or proposed underground or overhead services which could affect existing or proposed planting
  • any areas which are required for adoption by the Council

All plans included in the landscape and planting scheme should be drawn to an identified and recognised metric scale.