Guideline No. 28 – Landscaping

An Exterior Alteration Application for landscaping is required for, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Planting of trees as a barrier.
  2. Hedges more than 2 feet in height.
  3. Flower beds (other than foundation plantings); planting “islands” or clusters.
  4. Landscaping that involves a change of slope and/or installation of a retaining wall or other structure.
  5. Changes in drainage.
  6. Removal of any tree whose trunk is over 20 inches in circumference (approximately 7 inches in diameter) when measured at a point 2 feet above the ground, whether the tree is alive or presumed dead.
  7. Plantings with four or more plants in a row used as a hedge or windbreak or for screening purposes See GUIDELINE No.17- FENCING and GUIDELINE No. 47- SCREENING.
  8. Major changes to existing approved landscaping and edging materials not used as a part of foundation plantings. See GUIDELINE No. 29 – LAWN ORNAMENTATION.

Application Requirements

The application must include:

  • A site (plot) plan showing the location of alteration.

Note: Applications without a diagramed plot plan will not be accepted.

  • A complete description of plant material.
  • A master landscaping plan.
  • The size of plants at maturity.
  • The size and shape of flower/shrubbery beds.
  • Identification of the type of ground cover.
  • Identification of any existing landscaping.

Approval

Your application will most likely be approved if the following criteria are met:

  1. The plan provides visual breaks.
  2. A variety of plant materials are used.
  3. The atmosphere of a larger natural open area is preserved.
  4. Plant materials are clustered or staggered.
  5. The scale and location of landscaping is considered.
  6. The scale and location of landscaping is considered.
  7. Opaque plantings of trees or shrubbery are not used along property lines as delineation or otherwise planted in a row.

No Approval Required

An Exterior Alteration Application is not required for planting the following:

  1. Individual shrubs (unless used as a hedge).
  2. Plants around the foundation.
  3. Low growing annual or perennial plantings.
  4. Ground covers.
  5. Any single specimen tree that, at maturity, will be in scale with the size of the house.
  6. Stepping stones flush with the ground and of a color that blends with the surroundings.

NOTE: A homeowner’s desire for privacy combined with small lot sizes presents a challenge to the open concept of Columbia. Residents are encouraged to arrange a variety of plantings in groupings which are strategically placed to provide privacy, yet leave visual breaks and diversity which preserves the atmosphere of a larger natural open area. Visual screening can often be created very effectively by staggered clusters of plantings. Residents may wish to consider plantings which screen the immediate area around the house, deck, or patio furniture, rather than the entire backyard. The growth characteristics and root structure of all proposed plantings and trees need to be considered. The use of a variety of species, such as hollies, arborvitae, privet, euonymus, and forsythia should be considered. Homeowners should take into consideration the scale and location of the landscaping in relation to not only their lot, but also the adjacent lots as well. The delineation of property lines with opaque plantings of trees and shrubbery should be avoided.