04 - Parkway Landscaping

Revised on 10-04-2023

Sidewalk LandscapingOn June 28, 2023, the Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA) published a new policy for Parkway Landscaping Guidelines.

The term “parkway” is defined as the area of the street between the back of curb and the sidewalk that is typically planted or landscaped.  The term “landscape improvements” includes groundcovers, shrubs and other non-vegetative landscape materials but does not include street trees.

Permits that could be required for parkway landscaping include:

  1. A Permit - Required and used when the proposed improvements are smaller in overall scope, straightforward, do not require extensive plan reviews or field inspections, and typically covers the installation of both standard and nonstandard parkway improvements. A-Permit fees vary and the applicant should use the most current BOE Standard Fee List.

    An A-Permit is NOT required to install or modify parkway landscaping in front of residential properties (RE, R-1, R-2, and R-3).  This includes installation of the non-standard plant materials so long as they meet the criteria listed in Section V.A of the Parkway Landscaping Guidelines.
  2. B Permit - Required for parkway landscape improvements depending on the complexity, type, and size of the proposed construction, modification, or installation. Projects that are required to obtain B-Permits typically involve: several design disciplines; submittal of professionally prepared plans; extensive plan reviews; multiple inspections during construction; and a final inspection for acceptance. B-Permit fees are based upon actual plan review and inspection costs. Costs vary and are substantially higher than A-Permits.
  3. R Permit - Many nonstandard parkway landscape improvements, such as decorative paving, non-vegetative groundcover, continuously pressurized irrigation lines/systems, or active stormwater capture systems, will require a Revocable Permit (R-Permit) in addition to either an A- or B-Permit (these are required for the installation or construction of the R Permit approved installations). Additional requirements of the R-Permit include a waiver of damages (recorded with the County of Los Angeles), proof of liability insurance (provided annually to the City Administrative Officer), and approval of all colors and materials proposed to be installed. The cost of an R-Permit can range and will depend upon how much investigation is required (see the City’s Standard Fee List. Many or most nonstandard parkway landscape improvements fall into the Tier 2 Revocable Permit category and require additional investigation.  Additional fees may be required depending on the complexity of the design and size of the proposed installation.

No A-Permit is Required:  Per LAMC Section 62.162(b),  “No permit is required by the owner of property fronting the parkway portion of the street in an area zoned for residential use in order for the owner to remove existing shrubs and plants, but not trees, and replace the shrubs and plants with landscaping, including edible plant materials, provided the owner complies with the Residential Parkway Landscaping Guidelines adopted by the Board.”

The permit exemption granted within Section 62.169 (b) only applies to both of the following:

  1. Properties that are zoned RE, R-1, R-2, or R-3  (refer to the Department of City Planning’s ZIMAS web page  to determine a property’s zoning designation), and
  2. The installation of plant materials on the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials list.

An A-Permit is Required:  Landscaping not on the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials list shall only be allowed if the owner first obtains permission from StreetsLA.

  1. Trees and other non-vegetative materials are not included in the permit exemption above.
  2. “A” (installation) and “R” (for the non-compliant materials) Permits are required to plant, prune, or remove any tree in any street within parkways in the City, including the installation of any other non-vegetative material (hardscaping), such as:
    1. Pavement
    2. Decomposed granite
    3. Raised planter beds
    4. Planter pots
    5. Street furniture

Residential Turf Replacement Program (LADWP Rebate Program)

This is a rebate program offered by LADWP.  Some of the materials LADWP may allow under this rebate program may not be consistent with the materials listed on the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials list, and therefore would require both an “A” and “R” Permit.  There may also be materials on the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials list that DO NOT qualify for the rebate program.

As it relates to “A” Permits, the Residential Turf Replacement Program, as part of LADWP’s Turf Replacement Program, may require a permit if the materials are not on the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials list that was part of the June 19, 2015 Board Report.  Per LAMC Section 62.162(b), the applicant would only get a permit if the materials being used are NOT included in the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials list.

Applicant should be informed that a rebates are available (as of 10/2017) and they should go to www.SoCalWater$mart.com and obtain rebate pre-approval before starting the project.

Synthetic Artificial Turf for Use in the Parkway

Per Special Order No. 07-0515 - Synthetic Artificial Turf for Use in the Parkway signed on August 12, 2015, the order establishes minimum requirements for the acceptance of synthetic turf within the City right-of-way, within the area commonly referred to as a "parkway".

Preferred Parkway Planting Materials

A listing of Preferred Parkway Planting Materials can be found on the Bureau of Street Services website at https://streetsla.lacity.org/.

Vetting Process

The following is the BOE vetting process that will take place once a completed application is received.  Instructions on how to complete the on-line A-Permit application can be found in this manual under Construction "A" Permits,  Technical Procedures, 01 - Permit Processing Procedures for Construction A-Permits.

  1. Applicant to provide BOE the following:
    1. Photograph of the area where the Applicant wishes to place the landscaping
    2. Approval from StreetsLA allowing landscaping not on the Preferred Parkway Planting Materials
  2. Check NavigateLA to confirm the following:
    1. Address verification
    2. MapNotes that may prevent the A-Permit from being issued
    3. Work will not be completed in a City Planning Specific Area (or other special plan area)
  3. Confirm no obstructions exist such as meters, poles, fire hydrants, street trees, street lights, traffic signals, etc.
  4. Provide comments or request additional information from the applicant via the on-line application system under the Permit Approval Tab in the “Bureau of Engineering Comments to be Shown and Emailed to Customer” Comment box (no comments/information may be required).