Preserving Nature and Improving City Life

Urban Landscape Planning

Urban landscape planning involves preserving the natural ecosystem while improving city life. It includes creating walking paths and green spaces for residents to enjoy.

Studies show that spending time in nature can lower stress levels, increase energy and improve heart health. It can also help reduce a city’s carbon footprint.

Formal Planning

Urban landscape planning involves defining and creating landscaping spaces, which can include the overall layout of trees, shrubs and soil. This can also include the layout of retaining walls, fences and walkways. It is important to consider zoning restrictions and the ability of a project site to accommodate tools, labor and materials.

Conducting a site survey is the first step in urban landscape planning. This involves visiting the designated location and assessing important information, such as topography, zoning restrictions and regulations at local, county and state levels.

Today, urban landscapes combine various elements and techniques to create outdoor spaces that are aesthetically pleasing. These spaces are designed to help individuals spend more time in nature, which decreases stress and promotes a healthier lifestyle. In addition, they preserve the value of natural resources and ecological systems.

Site Surveys

Site surveys are vital to urban landscape planning. They assess important data for the project location, preventing mishaps and ensuring that resources are used efficiently. A surveyor visits the designated landscaping area and collects information about the land, including zoning restrictions and requirements at the local, county, and state levels.

A topographic land survey shows contour information and physical details, allowing for detailed landscape designs and engineering design. This advanced form of survey also includes staking services, which involves placing survey monuments at property corners and lines to determine the exact boundaries and dimensions of the land.

A topographical survey can also provide useful data about the existing environmental conditions, such as the type of soil and climate. This allows designers to choose plants that will thrive in those conditions.

Design Blueprints

Urban landscape design goes beyond aesthetics to improve the city’s operation. This includes addressing the natural ecosystem, existing infrastructure and living preferences of its inhabitants. Plants, trees and other landscaping elements boost morale, increase the ability to absorb rainwater and reduce soil erosion. Strategically placed shade structures and plants provide much-needed relief from the sun at bus stops, playgrounds and park benches.

A basic plan helps designers discover any problems, while concept plans help visualize placement and topography [source: UM]. These blueprints also note utility locations and architectural layouts of structures on-site.

Cities with easy access to schools, hospitals and government buildings are more attractive and easier for residents to navigate. These locations also promote a strong sense of community that can lower crime rates and lead to better health outcomes.

Legal Approval

Urban landscape planning takes a space that may be large or small and improves it for humans, our animal counterparts, and its environment. The process involves bringing together the talents of architects, surveyors, landscape designers and horticulturists to create an area that not only adds beauty but also solves a problem or improves functionality.

Any development or redevelopment project that disturbs 5,000 square feet or more of site area and requires SPRC and/or building permit approval must submit a complete landscape plan. The City of Galt Landscape Design Guidelines provide a framework for all landscape plans. For projects that cannot satisfy the requirements of the Landscape Manual, a fee-in-lieu can be provided as alternative compliance. The City will review the fee-in-lieu request as part of the landscape plan submission and review process.


In addition to aesthetically improving urban areas, landscapers can use plants to cut pollution and make the city more appealing. Research shows that trees can cut particulate pollution by 7 to 24 percent. This helps reduce the negative effects of climate change.

Besides preserving natural ecosystems, urban landscapers also consider the daily lives of city dwellers. For example, libraries often have plant beds and post offices may feature outdoor benches.

Before a project begins, it’s important to review the zoning laws, element restrictions and other details that can impact the urban landscape design. These limitations may determine what types of flowers, grasses or shrubbery can be added to rooftop gardens and even whether or not a water feature is suitable for the space. They also dictate what type of trees and shade structures can be planted near buses, playgrounds or parks.

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