Landscaping and Outdoor Permitting Tips for St. Louis County

Your outdoor space needs a face-lift and you have visions in your head of an outdoor fire pit, a landscaped flower garden, and a tiered retaining wall.  But wait!  You may need to have permission from the architectural review board for major landscape changes. Do you need a permit for a 3’ retaining wall?  AND a dumpster permit!  All of a sudden, your enthusiasm for the project begins to dwindle away. 

Fear not, oh intrepid landowner! Though navigating the permits within the 98 municipalities of Saint Louis County can get very confusing, we are here to help you tackle this new landscaping renovation project.  Below are some of the more common permit issues when you are rebuilding your outdoor space, but we suggest that before you start a major landscaping project, you seek the advice of professionals. 

Retaining Walls and Review Boards:

First, let’s look at your retaining wall.  All municipalities require a retaining wall permit when it is over a certain height.  For some of them, it’s 2”, but for Creve Coeur, you can go up to 4” before you need a permit.  Frontenac, Kirkwood, Ladue, Webster Groves, and Clayton currently require permitting for all walls that are street facing.  In Town and Country, Frontenac, and Webster Groves, all major landscaping changes will require you to go through the architectural review board.  Below you will find links to the various Architectural Review Boards for the these specific municipalities:

Webster Groves Architectural Review Board

Town and Country Architectural Review Board

Frontenac Architectural Review Board

To find out whether your municipality requires review board changes, do a quick internet search with your municipality name and the search term “architectural review board.”  This should help you narrow down if your area requires a board to review your planned outdoor space.

Clearing and Planting:

Next, let’s look at some of the planting regulations.  To preserve the natural beauty of the area, many municipalities have put in regulations to preserve trees and various types of foliage.  For example, in Clayton, you are not allowed to remove more than 18 trees when clearcutting in any one area.  (Unless you have specific approval from the city.)  When planting, no more than 33% of the trees can come from the same genus/species.  For more information and specifics, start here

In Kirkwood, it is required that residents will remove any dead trees, limbs or shrubs that can be hazardous to the public.  This is common among most municipalities, so just be aware that you will be required to maintain all the plants and trees when you begin designing them.  Also, when removing trees in Kirkwood you must replace them with at least a 4” caliper tree of a specific species. You can learn more about these regulations here.

In the city of Frontenac, there are several regulations that are required when planting.  You can read about most of these on the planning application, but just to list a few of them here: you must provide at least one canopy tree per 100 feet of public or private street frontage.  On a private lot, you must have 1 canopy tree per 1,000 square feet of land. The canopy trees must be at least 2” in height when you plant them, and no tree should be within 15 feet in height of utility lines. 

As you can see, regulations and permits for landscaping can become time-consuming and confusing. When starting a major landscaping project, it’s always best to seek the advice and help of professionals. This is where our landscape designers come in.  They can help you avoid the tangles of permits while giving you an updated outdoor space that will thrill your family and your friends. Contact us now for more information.