Landscaping Scheme checklist for planning applications

To get planning permission for a development, you will need to submit a landscaping scheme with your proposals, if changes include work on land outside of buildings.

Landscaping schemes are a combination of scale drawings, technical notes, construction methodologies and an implementation programme. Your landscaping scheme should describe all the external works you're proposing and show how these works will integrate with existing retained features.

Your landscaping scheme should follow our general guidance for designing development in Cheshire East's landscape and should include 1 to 8 below for most developments, or 1 to 13 below for more complex proposals:

Landscaping scheme checklist

Download or print this version of the landscape schemes checklist (PDF, 109KB)

Be drawn to scale with their scale at A4 noted and include a scale bar.

Include a north symbol and orientate the drawing with north to top of page where practicable

Include the planning-application boundary in a continuous red line and the land owner's land-ownership boundary in a continuous blue line

Use different drawing techniques or notes with pointers to clearly distinguish between existing features and your proposed features


  • Contours, levels, gradients, retaining structures.
  • Building footprints with any sail-over canopies/roofs indicated.
  • Access drives, footpaths, patios, steps, ramps etc. and notes of materials and colours.
  • Walls, fences and gates and notes of heights, materials and colours.
  • Trees - showing realistic crown spreads and type/species (if known).
  • Hedgerows, shrubs, herbaceous beds, wildflower meadows, bogs, marsh and grassed areas.
  • Ponds, water courses and other water features.


  • Footprints of proposed new buildings with any sail-over canopies/roofs indicated.
  • Access drives, patios, paths, steps and ramps (including surfacing materials, manufacturers and colours).
  • Walls, retaining structures, fences and gates, including notes of proposed heights and materials (e.g. material type, manufacturer & colour).
  • Provide elevation drawings and sections for new structures where appropriate, for example: new entrance-gates and piers, showing their relationship to the adjacent landscape.
  • Any other proposed external structures, e.g. signage, bin-stores, pergolas, gazebos etc.
  • Any proposed external lighting including types, heights, locations and column-style, and associated electrical service cabinets.
  • Above ground drainage channels including grids, slot drains, stone/concrete channels including notes of proposed heights and materials (e.g. material type, manufacturer & colour).
  • Subterranean services (using dashed lines) e.g. mains water, electrics, telecommunications, gas, foul drains, run off water, septic tanks, hidden soakaways and tanks etc.

Detail all proposed soft landscape features including:

  • Proposed contours, levels, slopes & gradients.
  • Proposed earthworks & soils management including areas where soils will be retained in-situ, areas to be soil stripped, temporary subsoil and topsoil stockpile locations & heights, re-laying procedure and depths.
  • Locations of all proposed planting/seeding including trees, hedgerows, shrub & herbaceous beds, lawns, living walls, green roofs etc.
  • Specification for proposed planting including species, nursery-stock sizes, numbers of each species, planting/sowing densities per m2, and whether root-balled, bare-root or container-grown (state pot-size)
  • Trees, including their National Plant Specification category e.g. standard, heavy standard, etc. 
  • Hedgerows, including their species and sizes (if mixed species, specify the percentages of each species in the mix), the number of plants per linear metre, number of staggered rows, distance between plants and distance between rows.
  • Ponds and other water-features, including seasonal wetland features and sustainable drainage components (SUDs) such as rain gardens, rills, soakaways, etc.

Include preparation and planting notes:

  • Describe plant bed and tree pit preparation, tree staking or guying, plant-protection (including any temporary protective fencing) mulching type and depths etc.
  • Confirm that any dead, dying or diseased plants will be replaced annually for 5 years from the date of completion of the planting scheme in accordance with the landscaping implementation and planting establishment planning condition.
  • Provide an implementation programme - including any advanced works, such as fencing or tree-planting.

Further documentation is required for larger or more complex development proposals, and where appropriate should include:

The following checkboxes are used for accordion drop-downs. When selected, they show content that was visually hidden

Labelled photos of existing site landscape elements to be retained and existing landscape elements proposed to be removed, showing:

  • The existing land within, and neighbouring adjoining, your red line application boundary.
  • All buildings and structures on the application site and those immediately adjoining.
  • All habitats, including hedges, trees, areas of shrubbery, grassed areas, wildflower meadows, pastures, wetlands, bogs, water bodies, areas of agriculture, etc.
  • All boundary treatments.

Labelled photos of significant neighbouring landscape elements including:

  • Adjoining land, showing topography, waterbodies, significant habitats and built structures.
  • Neighbouring property elevations.
  • Relevant local landmarks and features e.g. historic buildings, standing stones, mature trees and hedges, designated areas, public areas, recreational areas, public footpaths, bridleways, adjacent highways etc.

If you are proposing excavations, submit your plans for protection and re-use of soils, including volumes to be excavated, and a map showing temporary-stockpile dimensions and locations, haulage routes, and areas and depths of re-spreading. 

For agricultural land, evidence of its grade should also be submitted.  

Provide surveys, analysis, concepts, iterative design, reasoning behind major design elements, and an explanation of how any adverse landscape or visual effects have been avoided, reduced and mitigated.

  • For major developments and minors with significant landscape or visual effect concerns - follow Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment Third Edition (GLVIA3) and current Landscape Institute Guidance for EIA developments.
  • A Landscape & Visual Appraisal - for minor applications - following GLVIA3 and other current Landscape Institute Guidance. The content should be appropriate to the scale and complexity of the project.
  • Streetscene drawings, cross sections and Accurate Visual Representation images (AVRs) following GLVIA and current Landscape Institute Guidance may be required if the significance of landscape and visual effects requires clearer illustration.
  • For tall buildings/structures, a sequential shadow study showing impacts of shadowing throughout the year may be required.

Employing a Landscape Architect

If you are thinking about developing a site in Cheshire East, we recommend you employ a qualified landscape architect as soon as you start thinking about ideas. A landscape architect can improve your design by avoiding poor effects on the landscape or users of the landscape, and they will help you create a better development.

You can find a landscape architect for landscape advice and design services to help you with your project.

Further Guidance

We also recommend using the following guidance: 

Page last reviewed: 26 February 2024