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Landscape Requirements For Development​


Landscape Checklist


1. Purpose of the checklist

2. Landscape context of Lane Cove

3. General aims and objectives

4. Objectives for landscaping of new development

5. When is a landscape plan required?

6. Properties that are affected by DCP Part H - Bushland Protection

7.Tree Protection

8. How much landscaped area is required?

9. Who can prepare landscape plans?

10. Who can construct the landscape works?

11. Other Relevant Information


1. Purpose of checklist

The purpose of this check list is to provide information to applicants on the required standards for landscaping of new development and how to prepare Compulsory Landscape Requirements and Landscape Plans to accompany development and construction certificate applications

2. Landscape context of Lane Cove

The Lane Cove area has a rich diversity of natural, cultural and scenic landscapes. Of particular importance to the local community is the natural heritage that includes remnant indigenous trees and the corridors of bushland along the valleys and escarpments of the Lane Cove River and tributary creeks. The conservation of the significant areas of bushland and the general leafy landscape character of the suburbs of Lane Cove is a major priority for the local community and is reflected in Council’s plans and policies

3. General aims and objectives

The general aim of Lane Cove Local Environmental Plan, 2009 , is to ‘ preserve and, where appropriate, improve the existing character, amenity and environmental quality of the land to which this Plan applies in accordance with the indicated expectations of the community'. Further to this aim, the broad objective of Council’s Tree Preservation and Landscape Policy is ‘The preservation, re-establishment and reinforcement of the part of the environmental character of the Lane Cove which is related to the large number and significant areas of indigenous trees and other flora still existing and deserving of conservation'. Appropriate and sensitive landscaping of new development is essential if these goals are to be achieved.

An important and long established Council policy for landscaping of land on medium/high density residential, commercial and industrial development is that ‘the part of the landscaping scheme which will be visible to the public and all substantial plants shall comprise indigenous species’. Properties adjacent to bushland are required to plant local indigenous plant species within the property adjacent to the bushland reserve. For single dwelling houses in other areas, residents are encouraged but not required to plant indigenous plants in their gardens. In other words, Council requires that plants native to the Lane Cove area are to be used in many circumstances, particularly in areas visible to the public.

Information available:

More detailed plant species lists are available on request from Council’s Open Space Branch.

4. Objectives for landscaping of new development

Landscape Plans, submitted with the Development/ Construction Certificate Applications, should achieve the following objectives. Proposed development and landscaping that does not comply with the following objectives may be refused or delayed.

  • New plantings at all medium/high density residential, commercial and industrial developments must comprise indigenous species in all areas visible to the public (‘indigenous’ means those trees, shrubs, and plants occurring naturally in the Lane Cove area). Properties adjacent to bushland are required to plant local indigenous plant species within the property adjacent to the bushland reserve.
  • The proposed landscape treatment should assist in ensuring that the development is not visually intrusive by providing visual softening of buildings, driveways and carparking areas.
  • The development should retain existing trees where reasonably possible and should not require unnecessary tree removal. Indigenous canopy trees should be provided where space permits in particular where tree removal is required compensatory planting is favoured. (Street trees are a community asset and are not readily removed because of a development application.)
  • Mass planted areas, comprising indigenous trees, shrubs and groundcovers should be included in the landscaping scheme in preference to unnecessarily large areas of lawn.
  • The proposed landscape treatment should be compatible with the existing environmental character of the area and be planned so as not to affect adjoining properties. The use of native trees and shrubs to provide privacy screening is desirable.
  • Existing natural features such as rock outcrops, cliffs and natural bushland should be conserved where reasonably possible.
  • Where existing trees are proposed to be conserved, the method of protecting the trees during construction should be specified in a report submitted by a suitably qualified arboriculturist.
  • Hard paved areas should be minimised thereby providing the maximum landscaped area possible. The utilisation of permeable paving materials in hard-scapes is encouraged.
  • The establishment and ongoing maintenance of new plantings should be considered. Plants with low watering requirements are preferred. The use of plants with high watering requirements should be minimised. Where these are used, details of the proposed irrigation system should be specified. Irrigation should be supplied to plantings over slabs and in planter boxes but not areas that are adjacent to bushland.
  • In foreshore areas the landscape scheme should ‘establish and maintain an aesthetic form as close as possible to the natural character which would best compliment the pleasing waterway of the Lane Cove River...’

Foreshore areas are determined under the Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005. It should be noted that this includes a large portion of properties that are not adjacent to foreshores and waterways

5. When is a landscape plan required?

The followings types of developments require a separate landscape plan to be submitted with the Development / Construction Certificate Application:

6. Properties that are affected by DCP Part H - Bushland Protection

All properties adjacent to public bushland areas must include a Landscape Plan. Development should endeavour to maximise the retention and long-term protection of the local indigenous plants.

As mentioned in our Developing Next to Bushland Information Sheet, under DCP Part H, properties are split up into three areas – building area, buffer area and bushland area. The extent of each area will be established by Council at the time of assessment, but as a general rule the following applies to delineating the three areas.

Bushland Area – Adjoining the public bushland area, it will contain characteristics of native bushland vegetation and other natural topographic features. This area which can be either public or private may be degraded, but forms a continuous link with the public bushland and neighbouring properties.

Buffer Area – The purpose of this area is to reduce the impact of the development between the building area and bushland. The greater the width of the buffer area, the less impact the building will have upon the bushland – in particular stormwater, weed invasion and aesthetics. The setback may vary, but a minimum 10 metres should be taken as a guide. The width of the area is measured from the edge of the bushland / natural topographical features and not the back property boundary

Building Area – This is the area where buildings, including swimming pools, are permitted.

Stormwater is a major problem for any bushland area where properties in Lane Cove have a stormwater pipe outlet located at the property boundary. Stormwater released into the public bushland creates erosion problems and changes in soil moisture allowing for weeds to become established.

'Depending on the size of the proposed development Council may ask for applicants to install a Stormwater Dispersal Trench. Trenches operate in such a way that stormwater is spread over a sizable area. To ensure that additional increases in stormwater are managed correctly, the area down slope of the trench must be located as close to the building area as possible and suitably landscaped to minimise the impact upon any remnant native vegetation'.

'For properties affected by DCP Part H, applicants should obtain a copy of the DCP and adhere to the aims and objectives'.


7. Tree Protection

Tree protection measures are important when undertaking development. These measures ensure that all trees, within and neighbouring the site, are dually protected. In years to come, you will appreciate the actions taken during this short period of construction. Expect Council include a number of tree protection conditions if/when approval has been granted.

When preparing a Landscape Plan there are two aspects which must be considered:-

1). Short-term protection of trees during construction – Throughout this period tree damage due to construction can be significant enough to result in the death of the tree, which can either occur suddenly, or over a longer period’.

2). Long-term protection of trees post-construction – Development design needs to take into consideration the essential elements that a tree requires. By modifying the growing environment, over time that tree can slowly be ‘choked’ and eventually die. In some cases death to the tree happens over such a long period, the connection made to poor architectural design is often overlooked.

Tree protection measures should also consider such facets as location within the property, its significance within the wider landscape, and the type of short and long term activities conducted within and around the critical and primary root zones'.

8. How much landscaped area is required?

For most types of development in Lane Cove, a percentage of the total site area is required to be vegetated; including a proportion of ‘landscaped area' and/or 'planting on structures'. The ‘landscaped area’ includes private open space, but does not include paved areas such as driveways. Swimming pools are excluded from the landscaped area and are included within the building area when assessing the percentage of hard surface. Additional requirements are set out in the relevant Development Control Plans.



Minimum % of site to be

‘Landscaped Area’

Single Dwellings & Dual Occupancies:
Attached dwellings*, townhouses & villas:
Residential Flat Buildings:


* For attached dwellings, landscaped area is to be calculated per lot, not on the overall development as these dwellings will be subdivided into individual Torrens title allotments.


9. Who can prepare landscape plans?

Landscape Plans must be prepared by a suitably qualified consultant. Landscape design consultants who are members of accredited organisations should be engaged to ensure professional standards are achieved. Accredited organisations include:

10. Who can construct the landscape works?

Landscape construction should be carried out by a qualified landscape contractor to ensure that adequate standards of workmanship are achieved. Landscape contractors who are members of the Landscape Contractors Association of NSW should be engaged.

11. Other Relevant Information

Information to assist in appropriate plant selection for your site:

Landscape Architects / designers, and others involved in preparing landscape plans should familiarise themselves with the following documents produced by Lane Cove Council: