Landscape Guidelines and Review

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Plan Review

Certain discretionary projects require proposed landscaping to be reviewed by the City’s Landscape Consultant. Make sure you fulfill all of the landscape plan submittal requirements prior to submittal to the Planning Division. If the Planning Division determines your project requires review by the City's Landscape Consultant, please submit a completed landscape transmittal sheet and appropriate fee based per sheet quantity and size.

Model Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO)

All projects meeting the applicability requirements of MWELO must comply with Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations, Chapter 2.7, Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. Please review the City of San Clemente's MWELO Submittal Package Application and prepare all necessary documents when submitting landscape plans. The following types of landscape projects are subject to the ordinance and must comply with MWELO standards: Residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional projects that require a permit, plan check, or design review, when proposing the following square footage thresholds for landscaping:

  • New development projects that include landscape areas of 500 sq. ft. or more;
  • Rehabilitated landscape projects that include landscape areas of 2,500 sq. ft. or more;
  • New and rehabilitated cemeteries (limited to MWELO Chapter 2.7 §493, 493.1, 493.2); and
  • Pools, spas, and other water features equal or greater than 500 sq. ft.

Any project with an aggregate landscape area of 2,500 sq. ft. or less is eligible for Prescriptive Compliance (see Section D in the Submittal Package for regulations for compliance);

Registered local, state, or federal historical sites are exempt from MWELO compliance.


Implementing the approved landscape plan will be one of the last stages of the construction project. Please check with the Planning Division to verify which of the two types of inspections is required for finalizing landscape plans. Prior to scheduling a final project landscape inspection, the Project Landscape Architect of record shall provide to the Planning Division a completed Landscape Inspection Checklist.

Landscape projects subject to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance are required to provide the Building Inspector with the Landscape Installation Certification of Completion during final inspection. 

Master Landscape Plan for Scenic Corridors

The purpose of the Master Landscape Plan for Scenic Corridors is to establish a unified landscape program for the scenic highways in San Clemente that link the existing City with the four inland ranch areas. The plan determines specific plant materials along specific scenic corridors. It is the intent of the plan to provide objective design and evaluation criteria to utilize when landscaping land adjacent to or affecting scenic highways.


Related Links

City Landscape Consultant