Submitting a Landscaping Application

Landscaping for general residential / industrial and commercial purposes

Generally, landscaping in existing established residential and industrial/commercial zoned , wholly within the private property bounds that  does not include the removal of any trees, will not require planning approval from Cairns Regional Council.

It is advisable to refer to the Cairns Regional Council’s Planning Scheme CairnsPlan2016 v1.2 and  assess your project against the Performance and Acceptable  Outcomes of the applicable zone and overlay codes that are specific for your property. Note additional Planning Scheme Development codes such as the Landscaping Code, Tropical Urbanism Code and Vegetation Management Code may be applicable. The Planning Scheme Policies referenced in the codes aim at providing information that may be required or requested within your application and or contain standards and tools to assist preparing your application. The Planning Scheme furthers Council’s intent for promoting the character of Cairns as a tropical environment and aims to successfully integrate development and society with the natural environment.

To confirm if any development restrictions apply to your site, please use the CairnsPlan 2016 Property Report Tool and refer to the criteria for self-assessable and assessable development of the applicable codes.

If your landscaping proposal is not compliant with any of the self-assessable or assessable criteria, you will be required to lodge an application for Landscaping for Council approval. Please contact Council's Planning Approvals team at for instructions on determining whether an application is required for Landscaping.

What is expected on a Landscaping Plan?

Landscaping plans must meet the requirements of the Planning Scheme Policy - Landscaping ( PDF, 1.11 MB ) and the FNQROC Regional Development Manual Landscaping Design Guidelines and Specifications in CairnsPlan2016 v1.2.

A professional landscape architect/landscape designer can help to ensure your landscape plan is acceptable to Council and applications lodged by a professional attract a lower overall application fee. If the plan is not acceptable, this may lead to delays in the assessment of your proposal as amendments may be required to meet the planning scheme performance outcomes and the standards of the FNQROC Development Manual.  These amendments may include incorporating sufficient landscaping area, specifying suitable plant species to the Cairns environment and/or to meet conditions of any related approvals.

What should I provide?

A properly made application should include:

  1. A cover letter;
  2. (Operational Works Applications for Landscaping) must include DA Form 1, obtained from Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) or (Landscaping Endorsement Applications) must include the Application for Endorsement of Landscaping Plans
  3. Plans in accordance with the Planning Scheme Policy - Landscaping ( PDF, 1.11 MB ) guideline;
  4. All supporting information required to assist with the assessment of the development application (such as arborist or environmental report and vegetation protection, restoration and remediation plan/specifications, traffic management plans/guidance schemes, visual impact assessments, details of fencing;
  5. An assessment against the planning scheme CairnsPlan2016 v1.2;
  6. Payment of relevant application fees, (please refer to Development Fees & Charges.  More than one fee may apply for applications that cover multiple application types); and
  7. Where a professional landscape architect/landscape designer has been engaged, they are also responsible for supplying a statement of compliance.

The Operational Works application should be a standalone application whereby all relevant plans and information referred to is supplied together for assessment.  The Operational Works application should not have to rely on other applications already submitted or reports yet to be obtained from other sources.

What do I do after I receive my Decision Notice/Letter of Endorsement?

It is recommended that you read all of the conditions of approval/endorsement carefully and where required provide further information to Council or source all additional items prior to undertaking the approved/endorsed works.

Where a professional landscape architect/landscape designer has been engaged, they are also responsible for:

  • undertaking a final inspection
  • submitting as-constructed landscaping plans (where required) to Council, and
  • ensuring all works have been undertaken in accordance with the approved/endorsed plans and FNQROC Development Manual requirements.

Where can I lodge my application?

Cairns Regional Council requests that applications be lodged electronically, with accompanying plans be submitted in an unlocked and flattened PDF format.

By PersonOver the counter at Council's main Customer Service Centre
119-145 Spence Street
CAIRNS   QLD  4870

This office is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm weekdays (excluding public holidays)
By MailCairns Regional Council
Attention: Manager, Strategic Planning & Approvals
PO Box 359
By EmailPlease contact Council's Planning Approvals team at for instructions on how to pay via credit card and lodge the application via email.
By OnlineDevelopment Applications Online Portal
Last updated: 20 July 2020