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Great info for all Park residents

The city of San Mateo (and all of California) has adopted a Water Efficient Landscaping Ordinance (WELO):

  • Plantings should be drought tolerant.

  • Permits are required for original landscape construction or renovation for areas in excess of 2,500 square feet.

  • No new large lawns are allowed, and irrigation must be efficient, such as a drip system.

Large trees on your property are protected by the Heritage Tree provision:

  • A Heritage Tree is defined as any tree with 16” diameter or greater measured at 4 feet from natural grade or particular trees with a diameter of 10” or more at 4 feet from natural grade (any bay, buckeye, oak, cedar or redwood tree). 

  • It is your responsibility to maintain those trees on your property.

  • Permits must be obtained to remove these trees, even on your own property.


Trenching or excavating can cause major damage to roots and should be done very carefully. Trenching along property lines can destroy a tree in a neighbor’s yard.

You are responsible for the sewer lines from your house to the street. San Mateo Public Works can be called to clear a blocked sewer line if the blockage is between the clean-out and the street.  If the line is leaking, broken or continually clogged, you are responsible to repair or replace the lateral sewer line.  Cost-sharing with the city is usually available.

Sump pumps should not be directed to the sewage system (although many are). There are numerous springs and ground water release areas throughout the Park, and you should be aware of that when planning your project.

You may not violate certain building code requirements even if a permit is not required.  Whether permits are needed often takes research (check the city current guidelines)

  • Front Yard: fences or hedges up to three (3) feet are permitted. (Larger hedges are often not cited for violation in San Mateo Park)

  • Rear and Side Yard: fences may be six (6) feet high or up to eight (8) feet if your adjacent neighbor agrees and the design of the fence in the area between six (6) foot and eight (8) foot is at least 50% open, using a lattice material

  • Corner Lots: fences or hedges in the side yard adjacent to the street can be no taller than three (3) feet.  Fences or planting within a 45 foot triangle from the intersection is also limited to a three (3) foot maximum height so that it does not obstruct visibility.

Rescape California is an advocate an expert in the creation of renewable landscapes.

Learn how to garden beautifully while reducing your water use:
Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency

Statewide Master Gardener Program - 2015

Explore this presentation made by Master Gardener Julie Montanari at the SMPNA Fall 2015 Annual Meeting.

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