Design Guidance

Share via:

Caltrans landscape design guidance
Design Guidance

Good design requires addressing and balancing a variety of competing goals.

Landscape Architects provide design services that help integrate a transportation facility within its setting, creating a visually pleasing travel experience for all who live, work, and travel in California. As part of the Project Development Team (PDT) Landscape Architects play a vital role in developing a multi-modal transportation network that coexists harmoniously with the natural and built environment.

Select the focus areas below provide links to the technical information necessary to develop well rounded projects.




As part of the Project Development Team, Landscape Architects typically function as design advisors - identifying practical yet aesthetically appropriate methods to add required engineering elements such as median barriers, sound walls, and bridge railings, yet maintain to the greatest extent possible the unique cultural and aesthetic features of a community.

For more detailed information on Aesthetics, click here.

Planting Guidance


Highway planting is utilized by Landscape Architects to provide aesthetic, safety, environmental mitigation, stormwater pollution prevention, and erosion control benefits. Aesthetically, planting helps integrate the highway within its natural or built environment to provide human scale, and maintain an area’s visual context.

For more detailed information on Planting Design Guidance, click here.

Irrigation Guidance


Irrigation systems are utilized by Landscape Architects to provide provide supplemental water to plant material following the plant establishment period. Caltrans is committed to water conservation as a way of life. This section also provides cost effective and appropriate strategies to maximize the benefit of California's precious water resources.

For more detailed information on Irrigation Design Guidance, click here.

Erosion Control Guidance

Erosion Control

Transportation construction activities frequently result in disturbed roadside soil surfaces, devoid of vegetation. Landscape Architects utilize a number of tools, including seed, annual and perennial plants, grasses and erosion control blankets and nets to keep the soil in place until permanent vegetative cover can be restored.

For more information on Erosion Control, click here.

Worker Safety Guidance


The Worker Safety Guidance is a decision-making tool provided to improve the safety and maintainability of transportation projects. This toolbox provides design techniques and treatments that improve traveler and worker safety, protect the highway infrastructure and improve transportation system reliability by reducing the need for recurrent maintenance activities.

For more information on the Worker Safety Guidance, click here.

Visual Impact Assessment (VIA)

Visual Impact Assessment

The VIA website helps you develop a Visual Impact Assessment by providing a questionnaire that helps you determine the necessary level of VIA documentation, and by sharing parts of a 3-day training session on developing visual impact assessments for highway projects.

Click here for more information on Visual Impact Assessments.