A.   Purpose: Landscaping promotes immediate and long-term public health, safety, economic stability and general welfare of the city. Landscaping improves the livability of residential neighborhoods, enhances the appearance and customer attraction of commercial areas, increases property values, improves the compatibility of adjacent uses, screens undesirable views, and reduces air and noise pollution. Uniform standards of development and maintenance of landscaping are established to promote a reasonable balance between the right of individuals to develop and maintain their property in a manner they prefer, while creating pleasant and attractive surroundings for residents to live, work, shop and recreate.
   B.   Objectives: Required landscaped areas serve the following objectives:
      1.   Protect against soil erosion.
      2.   Reduce hazards of flooding.
      3.   Absorb carbon dioxide and supply oxygen.
      4.   Reduce the effects of noise, glare, dust and other objectionable activities.
      5.   Safeguard and enhance property values.
      6.   Promote the pleasant appearance and character of neighborhoods and cities.
      7.   Shade of plants promotes cooling effects.
      8.   Facilitate the safe movement of traffic.
      9.   Promote quality development.
      10.   Promote orderly growth.
      11.   Provide buffering and screening between different intensities of land use.
      12.   Aid in water conservation and water quality protection by requiring the use of plant material native to this climate in landscaping and retention of existing natural vegetation thereby reducing the need for irrigation, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
   C.   General Landscape Requirements:
      1.   Minimum Landscape Requirements:
         a.   The following areas of a site are required to be kept as landscaped areas:
            (1)   Required Yards: All required yards and setback areas shall be landscaped with clustered landscaped materials.
            (2)   Parking Lot Perimeters: The area within fifteen feet (15') of a parking lot perimeter that lies outside of a required yard or setback area shall be landscaped with clustered landscaped materials.
            (3)   Parking Lot Interiors: Parking lots with more than twenty five (25) parking stalls (seven thousand five hundred (7,500) square feet) shall contain interior landscaped islands or other landscaped traffic control or natural stormwater management features making up at least eight percent (8%) of the parking lot area in size, meeting the following specifications:
               (A)   Islands adjacent to single vehicle perpendicular parking rows must be a minimum of five feet (5') wide and sixteen feet (16') in length; islands adjacent to double vehicle perpendicular parking rows must be a minimum of five feet (5') wide and thirty two feet (32') in length.
               (B)   Islands adjacent to single vehicle diagonal parking rows must be a minimum of eighty (80) square feet; islands adjacent to double vehicle diagonal parking rows must be a minimum of one hundred sixty (160) square feet.
               (C)   Islands must be defined by concrete curbing.
               (D)   In lieu of multiple small freestanding landscaped islands, internal landscape area requirements may be met by the placement of large linear landscaped areas that define traffic lanes and break up large hard surface expanses.
            (4)   Building Perimeters:
               (A)   The region parallel with and adjacent to the sides of a building that face a public street or parking lot shall be landscaped for a length equal to one half (1/2) of that building dimension, with the landscaped region having an average depth of four feet (4').
               (B)   Legal nonconforming sites that are required to submit a landscape plan, and have difficulty providing building perimeter landscape areas because of existing site conditions, may substitute alternative landscape area designs to satisfy the requirements of this section.
            (5)   Boulevards And Right-Of-Way Easements:
               (A)   All boulevard areas shall be sodded from the curb to the property line at the time of the completion of the site landscaping.
               (B)   Plantings and locations of materials that are to be placed in boulevard areas shall have the approval of the Public Works Director prior to installation. All maintenance or replacement of landscape materials placed in the boulevards is the sole responsibility of the property owner.
               (C)   Boulevards or other areas abutting a site that are in a dedicated public right-of- way or right-of-way easement are not included in the calculations of the total minimum required landscaping or open space of a site.
            (6)   Storage, Loading And Mechanical Areas Of A Building:
               (A)   Landscaping must be provided around exterior storage, exterior loading, service and mechanical areas to screen the uses from view by adjacent property or streets.
               (B)   Screening may consist of fences, walls, earth berms and landscape plantings. Fencing must be a city approved fence design.
               (C)   Walls must be compatible with the architectural treatment of the principal structure and meet standards in section 11-3-5: Fences and Walls.
         b.   All landscaping in required landscaped areas shall be proportionately balanced with other features on the site and shall consist of a combination of three (3) or more of the following:
            (1)   Sod;
            (2)   Organic ground cover;
            (3)   Shrubs;
            (4)   Coniferous trees;
            (5)   Ornamental trees;
            (6)   Overstory trees;
            (7)   Decorative rock;
            (8)   Decorative site amenities;
            (9)   Any other decorative landscape treatment;
            (10)   Berms.
         c.   All designated yard areas on a commercial or residential site shall be sodded in all developed areas; properties within rural residential or agricultural zoning districts may be seeded.
      Required landscaping materials of an industrial site may be concentrated in the front yard and other areas of public view if the side or rear yards abut a railroad right-of-way or a similar industrial use.
         d.   Rear and side yard areas of large industrial sites that are not visible from public view and are not disturbed or graded as a part of the site development are exempt from the landscaping material placement requirements.
         e.   Native prairie grasses and wildflowers may be placed only in a rear or side yard that is not adjacent to a public roadway. On sites of five (5) acres or more, the Community Development Director may approve plantings of native prairie grasses and wildflowers in front yards, or side and rear yards adjacent to a public roadway. A long-term maintenance strategy shall be provided for review and approval prior by the Community Development Director.
         f.   Clustering of vegetation and landscaping materials is encouraged.
         g.   Vegetation that is planted on the site shall be designed to provide a variety of colors and screening during all seasons.
         h.   The use of hardy vegetation native to this climate shall be preferred.
      2.   Landscaping Vegetation: The following table lists the minimum size requirements for landscaping vegetation:
Ornamental tree
1.5 inch
Overstory tree
2.5 inch
Coniferous tree
6 feet
18 inches
Street Tree
1.75 inch
         a.   Caliper Measurements: Caliper measurements shall be taken six inches (6") above grade for trees under four inches (4") in diameter and twelve inches (12") above grade for trees larger than four inches (4").
         b.   Tree Species: The tree species chosen for parking lot interior plantings shall require little maintenance and shall be able to tolerate harsh growing conditions such as sun, wind, glare, reflected heat, drought, salt and other chemicals as defined by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
   D.   Residential Developments: The minimum required tree and shrub requirements for all residential developments are as follows:
Vegetation Type
Minimum Size
Single-Family Dwellings
Townhouse Developments
Multiple-Family Dwellings
Coniferous trees
6 feet
May be substituted for any of the overstory deciduous trees (maximum of two)
1 per unit, but may be substituted on a 1 for 1 basis for the overstory deciduous trees
Minimum of 30 percent of required overstory trees must be coniferous
Ornamental deciduous trees
1.5 inch (caliper)
2 may be substituted for 1 overstory tree (maximum substitution equals 25 percent of required overstory trees)
2 may be substituted for 1 overstory (maximum substitution equals 25 percent of required overstory trees)
2 may be substituted for 1 overstory (maximum substitution equals 50 percent of required overstory trees)
Overstory deciduous trees
1.5 inch (caliper)
4 per lot, no less than two different species
1 per 40 linear feet of site perimeter
1 per 40 linear feet of site perimeter
18-inch height
10 per unit
5 per unit
1 per 5 linear feet of site perimeter
Street tree
1.75 inch (caliper)
1 per adjacent street
1 per unit
Not required
      1.   Street Trees:
         a.   One tree must be planted in the front yard right-of-way of every subdivided lot in a manner determined by the City Forester. Street trees may be planted in the street boulevard or in the front yard of the lot as determined by the City. On corner or double fronted lots, one street tree must be planted on each side of the lot adjacent to a street.
         b.   Each street tree shall be planted according to accepted standards of the American Association of Nurserymen. Tree pits shall be round, at least six inches (6") wider than the diameter of the root spread, have vertical sides, and be at the same depth as it had been grown in the nursery.
         c.   The location, size and type or species of trees planted shall be of mixed varieties and shall be approved by the City Forester, and shall include those with root structures unlikely to interfere with utility lines or sidewalks or otherwise cause nuisance or damage, in conformance with title 7, chapter 4 of this code.
         d.   The minimum size of trees to be planted as street trees or right-of-way replacement trees shall be one and three fourths inch (1-3/4") caliper, as measured by the American Association of Nurserymen.
         e.   The City Forester shall review and approve proposed street tree locations per the approved landscape plan.
         f.   On streets having sidewalks, street trees will generally be planted between the curb and the sidewalk.
      2.   Residential Landscape Requirements:
         a.   All properties adjacent to principal arterials, minor arterials, and major collectors as defined in the comprehensive plan, must include a buffer strip averaging seventy five feet (75') wide lying outside and parallel to the road right-of-way. These buffer strips must provide for trees to line the property frontage along the principal arterial, minor arterial, and/or major collector at the rate of at least one tree per forty feet (40') of linear frontage. The combination of trees and shrubs shall create a minimum of fifty percent (50%) year-round opacity at maturity. Fences are prohibited within the buffer strips. These trees count toward the total number of trees required per the landscaping table of this subsection D.
         b.   All portions of a site that are not covered by a building, hard surface coverage or water on a permanent basis must be planted with ground cover and landscaping materials.
      3.   Ground Cover: All site areas and areas that have been disturbed during construction must be covered with sod to property lines and/or adjacent rights-of-way. Rock and mulch may be substituted for sod landscaping planting beds and along the perimeter of buildings. Native plant communities may be re-established on the site.
      4.   Quantity Credits: Existing qualifying trees of species not identified by the Minnesota DNR as invasive may be credited toward the required trees detailed in this section at a rate of one preserved qualifying tree to one required tree.
   E.   Commercial/Industrial Developments:
      1.   Minimum Vegetation Requirements for Open Space: Each development must have at least the minimum percentage open space shown in the following table:
All Nonresidential Uses In AG And R Districts, N-B, Mixed Use, And B-1 Districts
B-2 And P-B Districts
B-3 And I-1 Districts
I-2, I-3, I-4 And I-5 District s
Total gross development site
30 percent
25 percent
20 percent
15 percent
The open space areas must not be covered by a building or other impervious surface, and must be planted with trees, shrubs, flowers, native plant species or similar plantings and covered with sod, landscape rock or mulch. Areas used for demonstrated parking cannot be used to fulfill the open space requirement.
      2.   Tree And Shrub Requirements:
         a.   The amount of trees required is based upon seventy percent (70%) of the required green space/open space. The calculation takes into account the ground area occupied by the trees when fully grown, and requires that approximately twenty percent (20%) of the green space area be planted with coniferous trees (using an average of three hundred (300) square feet of ground area per tree), approximately fifty percent (50%) of the green space area should be planted with overstory deciduous trees (using an average of seven hundred (700) square feet of ground area per tree), and approximately five percent (5%) of the required open space shall be filled with shrubs, half large and the other half smaller shrubs. Large shrubs shall be calculated to occupy twenty five (25) square feet and smaller shrubs, ten (10) square feet.
         b.   The number of trees and shrubs required shall be calculated by multiplying the site area by the coefficients in the following table for each landscape material:
Zoning District
Overstory Deciduous
All nonresidential uses in all AG and R districts, B-1, Mixed Use, and N-B (site area minus stormwater basins)
B-2 (site area minus stormwater basins)
B-3 and P-B (site area minus stormwater basins)
I (site area minus stormwater basins)
   F.   Landscaping And Installation Standards:
      1.   Plant Materials: All plant material shall conform to and be installed in accordance with the most current edition of the American Standard For Nursery Stock as published by the American Association of Nurserymen, and professional horticultural standards as established by the most current edition of the Landscape Construction Reference Manual as published by the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. All new trees shall be balled and burlapped for installation.
      2.   Species: No required overstory trees shall include the species of the genus Ulmus (elm), the species of the genus Populous (poplar), box elder or ginkgo (female only).
      3.   Berms: The slope of berms in sodded lawn areas shall not exceed thirty three percent (33%) (3:1). Berms planted with ground covers and shrubs may be no steeper than a four to one (4:1) ratio. Berms shall be graded to appear as smooth, rounded, naturalistic forms. Berms shall be entirely vegetated with lawn grass or ground cover.
      4.   Walls And Fences:
         a.   Walls or fences shall be constructed entirely on the project property and may not exceed the height limitations of section 11-3-5 of this title.
         b.   Retaining wall materials shall be of industry accepted quality and standards so as to prevent unstable retaining walls.
         c.   Construction techniques shall be properly followed in order to prevent unstable retaining walls.
         d.   Retaining walls over four feet (4') in height must be designed by a registered architect or engineer and be reviewed and approved by the City Engineer.
         e.   Retaining walls over thirty inches (30") in height that are located in pedestrian traffic areas or within thirty six inches (36") of a public way walk shall be completely fenced along the top edge with a permanent fencing material.
   G.   Building Permits And Certificates Of Occupancy:
      1.   Financial Guarantees: No building permit shall be issued until the required landscaping plan has been submitted to and approved by the Planning Division, and a cash escrow, or irrevocable letter of credit from a banking institution, has been posted and approved by the city. The required financial guarantee shall be one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the cost of the landscaping project. Once the approved and required landscape has been installed, the city shall inspect to verify completion and reduce the financial guarantee by fifty percent (50%). The remaining financial guarantee shall be in effect for one year from the date of verified installation to ensure the installation, survival and replacement of the landscaping improvements. The landscaping improvements must survive one year from the date of the installation, and any plantings that do not survive shall be replaced.
      2.   Installation Of Landscaping: After an escrow or irrevocable letter of credit has been posted, the landscaping material required in the approved landscaping plan shall be installed within six (6) months after the date of posting the bond or irrevocable letter of credit. A one month extension of the planting period may be granted by the Community Development Director upon a demonstration by the property owner or developer that such an extension is warranted because of adverse weather conditions or unavailability of required plant materials. No more than three (3) such one month extensions may be granted. The city may draw upon any posted financial guarantee if the required landscaping improvements have not been installed by the specified completion time or any plantings that have not survived a period of one year have not been replaced.
      3.   Inspections: The completed landscaping shall be reviewed for acceptance by an on-site inspection by the Planning Division prior to the release of any financial guarantees.
   H.   Maintenance Of Landscaped Areas:
      1.   General Maintenance Requirements: The landscaping shall be kept free of refuse, debris and all plants not included on the approved landscape plan.
      The owner and the owner's respective agents shall jointly and severally be responsible for the regular weeding, mowing of grass, irrigation, fertilizing, pruning, and other maintenance of all plantings as needed. Required landscaping must be maintained in a healthy, growing condition at all times.
      2.   Irrigation: Irrigation shall be provided for all sodded and landscaped areas. Said irrigation shall consist of an underground sprinkling system that is designed by a professional irrigation installer to meet the water requirements of the site's specific vegetation. The system shall be detailed on the landscape plan. Systems are permitted in the public right-of-way. The maintenance and repair of all private irrigation systems placed in public rights-of-way shall be the responsibility of the system owner. Irrigation systems that will interfere with any improvement projects in the public right-of-way shall upon notification be moved by the system owner prior to the project commencement. Any costs incurred as a result of irrigation systems that are not removed after notification shall be the responsibility of the system owner. Irrigation systems shall be so designed and installed that they do not spray across public streets or sidewalks.
      3.   Inspections: City officials are authorized to periodically inspect all landscape approved by the Planning Division or to investigate complaints made by any official or private citizen.
      4.   Replacement: Plant materials which exhibit evidence of insects, pests, diseases or damage shall be treated when appropriate, and all dead plant material shall be removed and replaced with another living plant that complies with approved landscape plan.
      5.   Public Landscaping Care: The city shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within any public right-of-way or public grounds as may be necessary to ensure the proper health of the vegetation or surrounding vegetation, the general public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public ground.
   I.   Required Screening/Buffers: Transitional buffers are required along common property lines of different land uses (residential to business; business to industrial; or residential to industrial). The buffers shall be constructed in order to mitigate impacts that the higher intensity land use may have upon the adjoining lower intensity land use.
   J.   Landscape Plan Submittal Requirements:
      1.   Plan Required: A detailed landscape plan prepared by a professional landscape company, an accredited landscape technician or a landscape architect registered by the state shall be submitted for review and approval by the planning division with any application for a building permit for a new structure, a site plan approval, or a subdivision approval. Each landscape plan shall reflect the purpose statement of this section and shall be prepared to meet the objectives and requirements.
      2.   Exemptions: Individual single-family and two-family residential lots that are not combined in a multi-lot development shall be exempt from the general landscaping criteria unless it is otherwise required by the code.
      3.   Design Emphasis: Design emphasis shall be placed on the following:
         a.   Screening parking areas from view from public roadways and adjoining properties.
         b.   Enhancing driveway entrance areas.
         c.   Promoting the maintenance of vital sightlines of the principal use on the site.
         d.   Mitigating the visual impacts of large areas of impervious surfaces.
         e.   Maintaining efficient traffic and parking control.
         f.   Reducing the amount of uninterrupted blank walls.
         g.   Reducing the amount of contiguous hard surface areas at building entrances, along sidewalks and around other highly visible areas.
      4.   Plan Drawings: At the time of application, all of the following information shall be indicated graphically and labeled clearly on a one dimension scaled drawing at a sheet size of twenty four inches by thirty six inches (24" x 36"), eleven inches by seventeen inches (11" x 17") reduction, and an electronic copy for all exhibits in the plan:
         a.   Property lines, easements, and other pertinent boundary information.
         b.   Adjacent and intersecting street rights-of-way, widths, and street names.
         c.   Existing and proposed structures, buildings, walks, drives, landscaping and parking areas (with number of spaces noted), and any other structures. Existing items shall be differentiated from proposed.
         d.   Existing and proposed utilities and utility easements.
         e.   Existing and proposed two foot (2') contour lines.
         f.   Corner visibility triangle areas required under subsection 11-3-5E of this title.
         g.   Tree inventory and preservation plan meeting the requirements of section 11-6-19 of this code.
         h.   Proposed plantings by location, scientific name, common name, quantity, caliper and planting method.
         i.   Total square footage of parcel, buildings, parking lot interior, driveways, sidewalks, and required landscaped areas.
         j.   Location, height and material of proposed screening, fencing and berms.
         k.   Title block containing the following: date, name of project, name, address and phone numbers of owner, and the identity of the party who prepared the plan.
         l.   Legal description.
         m.   North arrow.
         n.   Graphic scale of one inch equals forty feet (1" = 40') or larger.
         o.   Adjacent land uses.
         p.   Fringe information within a distance of one hundred fifty feet (150') from the project.
         q.   Vegetation management plan for areas planted with native prairie grasses and wildflowers.
         r.   Property identification number. (Ord. 1035, 11-18-2020)