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Water Efficient Landscaping

The City of Beverly Hills recognizes that we must act today to ensure adequate water resources in the future. State and local authorities have authorized the following requirements to promote water efficient landscaping.

The Landscape Documentation Package

Any project that includes new or altered landscaped areas will not receive a building permit without submitting a landscape documentation package for review and approval by the Community Development Department. The only exceptions to this requirement are public gardens and arboretums, and properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

The plan review and permit requirements are as follows:

Landscape Design Plan
  1. Include description of plant material.
  2. Address fire safety and prevention if landscape is located in a Very High Fire Hazard Security Zone.
  3. Invasive species are prohibited near parks, buffers, greenbelts, and open spaces.
  4. Architectural guidelines of common interest developments can't prohibit use of low water-use plants.
  5. Turf not allowed on slopes greater than 25% where the toe of the slope is adjacent to an impermeable hardscape (25% slope is equal to 1 ft. of vertical elevation change for every 4 ft. of horizontal length).
  6. Recirculating water systems must be used as a source for water features.
  7. Surface area of a water feature must be included in the high water use hydrozone area of the water budget calculation.
  8. Pool and spa covers are highly recommended.
  9. Minimum of 2 inches of mulch must be applied on all exposed soil surfaces of planting areas except in turf areas, creeping or rooting groundcovers, or direct seeding applications where mulch is not advisable.
  10. Stabilizing mulch products must be used on slopes.
  11. Mulching portion of the seed/mulch slurry in hydro-seeded applications must meet the mulching requirement of soil report specifications or 3 inch minimum, whichever is greater.
  12. Soil amendments must be incorporated according to recommendations of the soil report, if any, and what is appropriate for the plants selected.
Irrigation Design Plan
  1. Smart irrigation controllers or other approved self-adjusting devices are required for all irrigation systems.
  2. Irrigation systems must be designed to avoid excessive pressure.
  3. Water pressure regulators are required.
  4. If water pressure does not meet the required pressure of the irrigation system, pressure regulators, booster pumps, or other devices must be installed to meet the required water pressure.
  5. A sensor (rain, freeze, wind, etc.) that suspends irrigation operation during bad weather conditions is required on all irrigation systems.
  6. High-flow check valves or other similar technology are required.
  7. Irrigation system must be designed to prevent runoff, low head drainage, overspray, etc.
  8. Soil management plan must be utilized when designing irrigation systems.
  9. Design of irrigation system must conform to the hydrozones of the landscape design plan.
Grading Design Plan
  1. Must be designed to minimize soil erosion, runoff, and water waste
  2. Indicate finished configurations and elevations of the landscape area including:
    • Height of graded slopes
    • Drainage patterns
    • Pad elevations
    • Finish grade
    • Storm water retention improvements
  3. All irrigation and normal rainfall should remain within the property line so as not to drain onto non-permeable hardscapes
  4. A comprehensive grading plan prepared by a civil engineer for a project which includes landscaped areas or altered landscaped areas can satisfy this requirement.
  5. Compaction of landscape area shall be avoided.

Soil Management Report

Must submit a Soil Management Plan that meets the criteria of the Landscape Regulations

Water Efficient Landscaping Requirement

A Water Efficient Landscaping Permit is required for any project with a landscape area of equal or greater than 500 SF within the scope of the ordinance. Click on the link below for the tabulated summary.

Water Efficient Landscaping and Metering Requirements

A new Landscape Water Meter may be required per Section 4.304.2 of BHMC Amendments to CA Green Building Standards Code Article 11 of Chapter 1 of Title 9.  in connection with the water efficient landscaping permit as noted in the referenced Table.

Any project requiring a new water meter or meter upsize will be subject to City's municipal code requirement related to water capacity, water supply and/or wastewater demand. As a condition of the project approval, the applicant will be required to contact the Public Works Department to assure there is sufficient water supply to fulfill the water demands of the project, pay the applicable fees and/or submit an affidavit acknowledging applicable fees and guarantee the payment before the project final.

The request for new meter, meter upsize or new water service should be directed to the Public Works Department, Water Division at the following:

Vince Damasse
Water Resources Manager
City of Beverly Hills
345 N Foothill Road
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 285-2491

Note: An applicant with a valid Building permit issued prior to the effective date of the irrigation meter ordinance (01/01/2017) is exempt from installing an irrigation meter and the associated Capacity, Supply and Connection fees.

Water Efficient Landscaping Permit

Per Section 9-4-405 of BHMC, prior to issuance of a building permit for any project that involves landscaped areas or altered landscaped areas subject to this article, the project applicant must submit a landscape documentation package for review and approval by the Community Development Department. Please make an appointment to submit landscape plans and documentation for review and approval.

Two sets of landscape design plans; water budget worksheet and water budget calculations shall be submitted for water efficient landscaping plan review and permit.

The following is a link to the Worksheet and Water Budget Calculator provided by the California Department of Water Resources, which should be used to prepare the required submittal documents.

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  • City of Beverly Hills
  • 455 North Rexford Dr
    Beverly Hills, CA 90210
  • (310) 285-1000
  • Monday-Thursday 7:30AM-5:30PM
  • Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM

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