Vegetative Manipulation 

Another effective method of reducing the visual impact from a proposed activity or development is to retain as much of the existing vegetation as possible, and where practical, to use the existing vegetation to screen the development from public viewing areas.

Some other techniques include:

  • Designing vegetative openings to repeat natural openings in the landscape. Edges that are scalloped and irregular are more natural-looking. Straight line edges should be avoided.
  • Minimizing the impact on existing vegetation by:
    • Partial clearing of the limits of construction rather than clearing the entire area – leaving islands of vegetation results in a more natural look.
    • Using irregular clearing shapes.
    • Feathering/thinning the edges of the cleared areas. Feathering edges reduces strong lines of contrast. To create a more natural look along an edge, a good mix of tree/shrub species and sizes should be retained.
    • Disposing of all “slash.”

Following are some examples of proper vegetative manipulation.

Click on the following images to see a larger image

Vegetative clearings of an irregular shape blend well with the existing landscape.



The edges of this vegetation clearing have been thinned or “feathered” to create a natural-looking treatment.

The use of irregular shapes with “feathered” edges during vegetative clearing yields a more natural looking environment.


This feathered edge treatment creates a natural progression from grasses to mature trees
The design of this ski slope incorporates irregular shapes, but the hard, unthinned edges create a strong visual contrast.
Click on the thumbnails below to see a full-sized image.