Long Beach Landscaping Requirements

September 6, 2023 ● Lawn Care

If you’re a landscaper or property owner interested in the dos and don’ts of landscaping in Long Beach, you’ve landed in the right spot. This article will break down everything you need to know — from water management and landscape regulations to fire codes and waste reduction. 

Let’s dive in to keep your landscape compliant and environmentally friendly!

Key Takeaways

  • In Long Beach, the landscape regulations promote the use of drought-tolerant plants and prohibit the introduction of invasive species.
  • It’s important to group plants based on their specific water needs to reduce water usage. Also, configure irrigation systems to use the minimum amount of water required.
  • The Site Plan Review Committee can grant exceptions to the standard landscape regulations. These exceptions allow for more innovative and efficient designs as long as they align with the city’s sustainability goals.
  • Long Beach landscaping focuses on fire codes, waste reduction, and responsible waste management. The city aims to minimize landfill use and promote landscape health through permits for recreational fires and the reduction, reuse, and recycling of landscape waste.


Knowing Long Beach’s landscaping requirements can greatly impact your landscape planning and maintenance. These municipal codes ensure environmental sustainability and preserve the city’s aesthetic appeal. 

Landscape Water Management

When planning your Long Beach landscape, water management is crucial. The city has regulations to promote efficient water use and protect this valuable resource, especially during drought conditions:

  • To ensure responsible water usage, you should ensure irrigation systems are water-efficient and equipped with automated timers and sensors. These systems must adhere to the water use regulations set by the Long Beach Water Department. 
  • Decorative water features, such as ornamental fountains or cascading waterfalls, should utilize recirculating water systems. Recycling water (e.g., gray water) is preferred as the water source whenever possible. 


The city has specific landscape regulations and encourages environmentally conscious choices. These rules ensure beautiful and sustainable landscapes that contribute to Long Beach’s environment and aesthetics:

  • The spacing between trees should be a minimum of 15 ft and a maximum of 25 ft. To determine the planting distance between two trees, add the diameter of the canopies of the adjacent trees and divide the sum by 2. This distance ensures proper spacing while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.
  • In the parkway, you can have certain types of plants like live ones, ground cover (which refers to plants that grow low to the ground and spread, providing coverage) up to 8 inches tall, accent plantings or shrubs up to 32 inches tall, and street trees. The City of Long Beach encourages using plants that need less water and can tolerate drought. However, you can’t have grass or other plants that require a lot of water in parkways and street medians.


Long Beach promotes green landscapes and has restrictions to maintain ecological balance. These regulations are part of the city’s environmental conservation strategy, protecting natural resources.

Landscape Water Management

These rules promote water conservation and sustainable use, particularly during droughts. The following section will explore these regulations and their impact on landscape planning and maintenance:

  • The mixing of high and low-water-use plants is not allowed in plant groupings. Instead, plants with similar water needs should be planted together in separate hydrozones, taking into consideration their water, soil, sun, and shade requirements. Plants with differing water needs should be irrigated using separate valves.
  • It is crucial to ensure that irrigation systems are set to use only the minimum amount of water required. All irrigation systems should strongly limit water consumption to the greatest extent possible.


In Long Beach, specific restrictions promote ecological balance and sustainable resource use in landscape planning. Let’s explore these rules for an environmentally conscious and compliant landscaping journey:

  • The use of invasive plant species, like those listed by the California Invasive Plant Council, shall be prohibited in the Coastal Zone. For example, species like Arundo donax are strictly prohibited.
  • Do not allow plants, mulches, or groundcover materials to grow excessively or spill over the sidewalk or curb edge. It is the property owner’s responsibility next to the public right-of-way to plant and maintain parkway landscaping.


When planning and maintaining landscapes in Long Beach, it’s essential to consider exceptions to standard rules and regulations. These exceptions are crucial for landscaping projects, offering more flexibility for innovative approaches while respecting environmental and aesthetic goals. This exception is particularly noteworthy:

  • The Site Plan Review Committee can waive any landscape standards if it determines that such modifications will result in a more functional, water or energy-efficient, sustainable, or cohesive design. If you prove that differences to the standard rules can better meet the goal of sustainability, your proposed changes can be considered.

This rule is helpful if you want to explore innovative approaches to water conservation or plant groupings that may require different spacing. 

For example, suppose you have a project that requires trees planted very close together. If you can prove it’ll create a more attractive yet efficient layout, the committee can grant special permission to complete it.

Fire Code

Fire codes are crucial for landscaping projects in Long Beach. The city enforces these rules to minimize fire hazards and protect property and lives. Whether planning lush greenery or a minimalist landscape, you’ll want to take note of this particular code:

  • A recreational fire, such as a cozy bonfire in your backyard, can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for gatherings. However, it’s important to note that an operational permit is required to enjoy this experience for safety’s sake. Luckily, it’s free to obtain.

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction is vital in Long Beach landscaping. The city encourages reducing, reusing, and recycling landscaping waste. Prioritizing waste reduction in your landscaping projects contributes to the city’s sustainability efforts:

  • If you own or occupy a property, ensure you have enough trash bins to follow the City ordinances and the Health and Safety Code. Every property owner is responsible for providing, maintaining, and using waste receptacles that meet the requirements in Long Beach.
  • Heavy-duty double-strength plastic bags are allowed for refuse collection. However, they must be securely tied and should not contain sharp objects or refuse weighing over 25 pounds. The safety of collection personnel is a priority.

By adhering to the landscape requirements in Long Beach, you can design an eco-friendly and visually appealing space that aligns with the values of the community. 

To ensure you’re heading in the right direction, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a lawn care expert who can assist you in navigating the regulations specific to Long Beach. This will enable you to create breathtaking landscapes while complying with the necessary guidelines.