Landscaping in an OKC Historic Preservation District
In Oklahoma City, neighborhoods known as Historic Preservation Districts showcase historic homes and architecture but come with strict rules and regulations when it comes to remodeling and landscaping. These rules are in place to preserve the areas of historical, cultural, architectural, engineering, or archaeological significance. The OKC Historic Preservation Districts include:
For many homeowners living in these areas, it is difficult to define what can be done to the property in terms of landscaping, and what needs to be administratively approved. While many landscaping projects in a Historic Preservation District are not allowed, many projects can still be completed with careful consideration and planning. The Oklahoma City Historic Preservation Design & Sustainability Standards and Guidelines map out which practices are not allowed, which need approval, and which can be done without approval.
Actions that require administrative review:
The structures in OKC Historic Preservation Districts are from a wide range of eras with historic significance. Therefore, changes to the exterior of any structure have the ability to contribute to or detract from the overall character. These changes are always subject to review.
When it comes to landscaping, the guidelines state, “Just as the site, context, and environment are critical to the character of a historic building, property, and district, the landscape is also an important character-defining feature of a historic property. Original or historic landscape elements may be important character-defining features of a historic property and should be preserved. Added landscape features are more appropriate in the back or side yards.”
One of the most important items to consider with any construction or landscaping in the preservation districts is the use of materials. If more than 50 percent of an original feature or material on a surface requires repair by replacement, it must be approved. Once it is approved, the replacement material must be appropriate material that preserves the building.
“For example, on a building with vinyl siding, if over two-thirds (66 percent) of this siding is to be removed from the front building face and replaced due to deterioration or damage, then all of this inappropriate siding on that building face shall be replaced with an appropriate material such as wood siding or the historic material (which is likely to be historic wood siding) shall be uncovered and restored,” the guidelines state.
The new material should match the historic in type, dimensions, design, configuration, texture, surface coatings, and visual appearance. Other landscape changes subject to review include:
- The introduction of new materials visible from the public right-of-way.
- New retaining walls.
- Adding a pergola or pavilion.
- Adding a new rear deck.
- Adding a swimming pool or hot tub.
- Relocating drainage features.
- Adding stone or masonry edging materials.
- Adding new outdoor lighting.
While there are specific requirements for adding these features, the Havenscapes team is happy to work with you to install these features to the desired specifications in order to achieve your dream landscape in a Historic Preservation District.
Actions that do not require review:
While many new landscape additions require reviews before installations, there are still many landscaping maintenance points that do not require reviews. Maintaining the historic landscape preserves the historic district setting, and adding new plants ensures great curb appeal, so these don’t typically need approval. Items that do not require review include:
- Adding landscape elements in backyards that are not visible from the street or the adjacent property and less than six feet in height.
- Retaining and preserving historic porch lights.
- Adding pool slides, play equipment, and tree houses.
- Preserving existing pergolas.
- Preserving original light fixtures.
- Maintaining existing drainage patterns.
- Adding unobtrusive pathway lighting.
- Maintaining plantings.
- Adding shade trees.
- Installing a drip irrigation system or irrigation system with shut-off device.
- Planting drought-resistant grass types.
Whether you desire a large project that requires approval, or a maintenance/gardening project that doesn’t, the Havenscapes team can cater to any of your landscaping needs. Contact us for a quote today.