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OS-3 District Landscape Design Guidelines

The following Landscape Design Principles are to be used as a guide in the preparation of plans for transitional areas consisting of berms, greenbelts, natural vegetation, walls, etc., on parcels of land located within the OS-3 District (Special Office District) as provided for in the City of Farmington Hills Zoning Ordinance.

Earth Berms

  1. Berms between residential and office sites should have gently rolling ridgelines. This ridgeline should not be flat nor should it be undulating to the point that is choppy, however, the lowest point shall be five (5) feet in height.
    Desirable berm diagram showing gently rolling ridgelines. Undesirable berm diagram showing flat ridgelines. Undesirable berm diagram showing choppy ridgelines.


  2. Berms in front yards of offices may be as described above or the ridgelines
  3. Side slope on all berms should not exceed 3:1.
  4. The ridge of all berms should have a minimum two (2) foot wide rounded top (i.e., neither flat nor meeting at a peak).


  1. The ground surface should be covered primarily with lawn. If other types of ground covers are used, they should be planted in large masses so as not to create a spotted effect.
  2. Plant material used on berms should be indigenous to high, well-drained areas. e choice of species should be based on what is naturally growing on the site or the surrounding area. The moving of trees from other portions of the site are acceptable only if trees are healthy and if approved by the Planning Commission.
  3. Plant material should be planted in groups of six or more in naturalistic patterns. Planting in rows or along the ridge is undesirable.
  4. The purpose of the berm or greenbelt between residential and office uses is to provide a natural appearing buffer which will obscure activity on the office parcel from the residential property.
  5. The purpose of the berm between the major thoroughfare and parking in front yards is not to totally obscure but soften the overall appearance. Views through the plantings will not be discouraged.
  6. The purpose of the greenbelt between minor roads and the office parcels is to be totally obscuring. The bulk of the plant material should be evergreen trees to provide year-round screening.
  7. Minimum starting size for plant material will be as follows:

    - Evergreen tree                 3-10 high
    - Deciduous tree                3 caliper measured 1 above grade
    - Low spreading shrub       18-24 spread
    - Upright shrub                  24-30 high

    All plant material shall meet current standards of the American Association of Nurserymen, for nursery stock.

  8. Planting on berms should consist of species, which naturally grow in high, well drained situations. Plants such as arborvitae, birch, cedar, hemlock, and cypress, which are indigenous to low, moist situations, should not be used. In addition, plants such as dogwood and redbud should not be used in a berm area where there is much exposure to the elements.

Supplemental Plantings

Such plantings are to provide additional screening where the natural vegetation does not obscure adequately.





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