Landscape ordinances can encourage trees in parking lots

Most developed areas have an abundance of parking lots. Parking lots are not only land consumptive, they’re ugly, and they’re bad for the environment. But good land development ordinances can turn eyesores into assets by requirements to plan trees.


No country is better at integrating trees into parking areas than France. Parisians, for example, would never waste any land for parking lots. Many streets have been narrowed to make room for parked cars, and so many trees are planted in the streets that even double rows of cars look like they're in a park.

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Pottstown landscaping ordinance

In 2004, the Borough of Pottstown, Pennsylvania adopted a landscaping ordinance that greatly increases the numbers of trees required for any development, including parking lots.










Illustrations in ordinance

The ordinance illustrates with both images and drawings suggested ways for the placement of trees in parking lots..









One tree per two parking spaces

The ordinance requires one tree for every two parking spaces, evenly distributed throughout the parking lot.







No need to lose parking spaces

If parking spaces are at a premium, it is possible to plant trees in the corner where cars face each other. Above, the Pottstown Hospital has placed one tree for every two spaces by placing half the trees in the lot's interior where spaces face each other, and the rest on the perimeter of the lot.


Housing Authority builds model parking lot

In 2004, the Montgomery County Housing Authority planted one tree for every two stalls in its parking lot next to its high-rise for the elderly in Pottstown. In this case, the housing authority did not feel the need to maximize parking spaces, so trees were planted in between spaces.


Ten years later...

In less than ten years, the parking lot looks and feels more like a leafy grove than a place to park cars.