Visual Buffers and Landscaping

Design off-street parking to maximize visual buffers and landscaping where applicable. Landscape materials, art, visual buffers, or other aesthetics are effective tools to minimize the visual impacts of surface or structured off-street parking.


Provide internal parking islands with trees wherever possible to divide masses of pavement, provide shade, and mitigate heat island effect, as well as external landscaping to visually buffer the parking area from streets and other facilities.

Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources
An illustration of a parking lot with callouts for visual buffer (trees/bushes) and a parking island.
Parking with Trees for Shade

A photo of a parking lot with a parking island with trees.
Parking with Trees for Shade

A photo of tall shrubs between a sidewalk and a parking lot.
Visual Buffer (Source: Flickr - Sergio Ruiz)

Minimize use of tall shrubs in favor of lower shrubs and groundcovers to allow for greater visibility within a parking area for pedestrian and vehicular safety. Clear lines of sight minimize the risk of pedestrian and vehicular collisions. Mass planting of low shrubs and groundcovers provides an aesthetically pleasing design with minimal maintenance.







A photo of a bio-retention garden adjacent to a parking structure.
Native Landscaping - Berryessa BART Station

Select native, non-invasive planting that can thrive in areas with urban development and support sustainable water use.