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Construction & Land Use Single Family Residences Water Efficient Landscaping
Water Efficient Landscaping

Water Efficient Landscaping


Beginning December 1, 2015 all Landscapes are required to comply with California's Executive Order No. B-29-15 and the Beverly Hills Municipal Code. These requirements are commonly referred to as the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

History of Ordinance

  • On April 1, 2015 California's Governor Issued Executive Order No. B-29-15 amending the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance and became effective on December 1, 2016.
  • On November 17, 2009 the Beverly Hills City Council adopted the Water Conservation Plumbing Fixture Standards Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance. The ordinance became effective beginning January 1, 2010. All projects applying for a Building Permit after January 1, 2010 or remodeling landscape projects beginning January 1, 2010 will be required to comply with the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.


  • New development projects with aggregate landscape of more than 500 sq.ft.
  • Altered Landscaped Areas of 2,500 sq. ft. or more.
  • Applicable to all existing landscapes that were installed before December 1, 2015 and are over one acre in size.
  • New landscape irrigation systems installations.
  • Stand-alone projects or projects that do not otherwise require a building permit, formal planning, or other commission approval for review.
  • City projects.


  • Landscaping that is part of a property listed on an applicable local, state or national register of historic places.
  • Plant collections as part of gardens and arboretums open to the public.

Landscape Design Plan

  1. Include description of plant material.
  2. Address fire safety and prevention if landscape is located in 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

  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