Landscape Requirements for New Construction

​You might need to install landscaping if you are building on your property.

​Step 1: Determine if you need to install landscaping

Generally, you must install landscaping if you are constructing a new building, a building addition, or a parking lot in a commercial or industrial zone.

Once you find the zoning of your property, you can determine the minimum amount of your development site that must be landscaped:

  • Commercial Office (CO), Retail Commercial (CR), General Commercial (CG), Industrial Commercial (IC), and Industrial Park (IP): 15 percent
  • Industrial Business Campus (IBC): 20 percent

Step 2: Determine what type of landscaping to install

In most cases, you must install at least one plant unit per 20 square feet of landscaped area. The table below shows the different types of plants you can install and their corresponding plant unit values.

At least 40 percent of your required plant units must be a combination of mature trees, shade trees, evergreen/conifer trees, or ornamental trees. Plants must also cover at least 75 percent of your required landscaped area within five years.

Plants and Minimum Plant Unit Values

Type of Plant (Plant Material) Plant Unit (PU) Value Size of Planting
1 Mature Tree 15 PU  
1 Shade Tree 10 PU 1.5 to 2 inch caliper*
1 Evergreen/Conifer Tree 5 PU 6 to 8 feet height
1 Ornamental Tree 2 PU 1 to 1.5 inch caliper*
1 Large Deciduous or Evergreen Shrub (at maturity: over 4 feet wide, 4 feet high) 2 PU Minimum 5 gallon or balled and burlapped
1 Small to Medium Shrub (at maturity: maximum 4 feet wide, 4 feet high) 1 PU Minimum 1 gallon
Lawn or Other Ground Cover 1 PU per 50 square feet  

 *The caliper of a tree is the diameter of its tree trunk measured one foot above ground level. If the tree is of a multi-trunk variety, the caliper of the tree is the average caliper of all of its trunks.

Step 3: Submit plans

If landscaping is required, you must submit a landscaping plan and irrigation plan when you apply for your building permit. Your landscaping plan must show the type and size of plants and how much of your site they are expected to cover in five years. You can find the full list of requirements in Salem Revised Code Chapter 807.

Planning staff will review your landscaping and irrigation plans to determine if all requirements have been met.

Step 4: Maintain your landscaping

Once your landscaping is installed, you should maintain the trees and shrubs on your property. If you cut down trees or shrubs, you must replace them with plants of a similar type and size.

​All proposed multifamily developments-three or more dwelling units–in Salem must go through an approval process called design review, and they must meet a variety of design standards and guidelines. These standards and guidelines include landscaping requirements, such as providing landscaping in parking lots and around the property’s perimeter. The full list of design standards and guidelines can be found in Salem Revised Code Chapter 702. If you are constructing a multifamily development, you can call the Planning Division with questions about the design review process and requirements.

If you want to build a new single-family home on a vacant lot, your property must have a minimum number of trees based on its size at the time of final completion, as shown in the table below. If there are not enough trees on your property, you must plant more trees. The additional trees must be a minimum 1.5 inch caliper. The caliper of a tree is the diameter of a tree trunk measured 6 inches above the ground for trunks up to and including 4 inch caliper in size and 1 foot above the ground for larger trunks.

Tree planting requirements:

Lot or Parcel SizeMinimum Trees Required
6,000 square feet or less2
6,001 to 7,000 square feet3
7,001 to 8,000 square feet4
8,001 to 9,000 square feet5
More than 9,000 square feet6

 

There are no additional landscaping requirements for the construction of single-family homes. If you want to cut down a tree on your property, contact the Planning staff to find out if you need a permit or other approval.

Contact us

Planning DivisionCommunity Development Department
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 
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