What is Deep Planting and Why do we need it?

Deep planting is a common term used by councils in their planning schemes. They are areas that are required to be allocated in the design of the development. Their purpose is the planting areas of trees and shrubs amongst the buildings. In particular, they are meant to be positioned and sized so that you can plant large shade trees.

Why do we need this?

Deep planting areas specifically plan for large trees in an urban environment. The areas are to be designed to provide the tress with the space to grow into their mature form. Trees in urban areas are partially important for biodiversity, reducing the urban heat island effect and creating a healthier and more sustainable city.

Deep Planting Requirements

There are some very specific requirements that deep planting areas need to meet. To ensure you meet councils requirements for deep planting, you need areas;

  • Free of any underground, surface, or above ground obstructions including services and other infrastructure
  • They must be landscaped with trees, shrubs, and groundcovers only
  • A minimum dimension of 4m
  • Planted with large subtropical tree species
  • 100% open to the sky
  • Located so that the tree’s canopy can grow to its ultimate form unobstructed by any built structure
  • Designed to promote the growth of a tree that is 5m wide and 5m tall within five years from the time of planting

In the early stages of development design, it is often easy to allocate the minimum area required for deep planting. Then tick that box and forget about it. However, as the design process moves on to detail design other pressures can start to encroach into the deep planting area. These can often then get to the point where the allocated area no longer meets council conditions. In the later stages of detail design and even during construction this can cause major impacts on the development.

Things to look out for

There are quite a few things that might impact the allocated space for deep planting these are;

  • Services and stormwater
  • Fire exits and access to and from
  • Fire hydrants and boosters
  • Transformers
  • Hard surfaces for access pedestrian or vehicular
  • Access requirements for maintenance may include the need for stairs or ramps.
  • Extension of overhanging verandas or pergolas
  • Stormwater infrastructure including overflow areas, detention basins, etc.
  • Footings for walls, retaining structures, and fences
  • Car parking or basement structures

The problem is that each of the items above is required for successful development. However, they can bit by bit encroach into the deep planting zone. Which ends up causing the development not to meet its minimum requirement for deep planting. It is extremely important that the team is aware upfront of where these deep planting areas are. That it is clear these are not used for other functions. This will assist in ensuring councils’ development requirements are met.

If you would like to talk to us about your development and assist you in making sure that your development meets council’s requirements for deep planting contact us today to discuss.