landscape maintenance hedge container plants

Will I Need Any Permits for My New Landscaping in Sarasota FL?

Let’s make this fun and turn landscaping permits into a quiz game. 

We’ll go straight to the speed round!

Do I need a landscaping permit for a new irrigation system? Yes! 

Do I need a landscaping permit to cut down a tree? Maybe!

Do I need a landscaping permit for a driveway apron? What the heck is a driveway apron? 

OK, maybe we better slow down. This can actually get tricky. 

Does landscaping require a permit? 
Yes. No. Maybe. 

Let’s get to it before the buzzer sounds. 

Do I Need a Permit for Landscaping? 

So, the answer depends on the project, and if you’re in the city of Sarasota or the county. There are different requirements. 

backyard patio with fire pit and outdoor lighting

Let’s run through a few common landscaping permit scenarios: 


Need to cut down a tree because it’s in the way of your new patio or it throws too much shade over your new garden bed or because you goofed up and told your kids you’d build them a luxury treehouse? 

Do you need a landscaping permit for that? 

If the tree trunk measures 4 inches in diameter or thicker, yes. Both the city and the county require a permit. 

And, surprise, in some cases they might require you to plant a new tree elsewhere on your property to take its place. 

crew with machines placing palm trees

Retaining Walls 

If you’re building a retaining wall over 3.5 feet high, yes, you need a landscaping permit for that. 

tiered yard with retaining wall on canal

Driveway Aprons

First of all, what? 

Yes, driveways have aprons. It’s that area between the sidewalk and the street, technically owned by the city.

If you’re replacing that area, either with new concrete or pavers, you’ll need a landscaping permit if you live in the city, but not the county. 

front yard of house with green grass palm trees and paver driveway apron


Installing new irrigation? Yes, you’ll need a landscaping permit. But if you’re just updating an existing sprinkler system, you don’t.

landscape irrigation in backyard

A New Well

You don’t need a landscaping permit from the city or the county. Yay!

But hold on — this is a trick question! You’ll need a permit through the health department. (We gotta keep this game interesting.) 


If your pergola is attached to your house, yes, you’ll need a landscaping permit, in both the city and county. 

But if it’s freestanding, no permit needed. (Also, freestanding pergolas tucked away at the back of your property are lovely, and excellent hiding spots when it’s your turn to unload the dishwasher.) 



Easy one — nope! No permits for landscaping needed. 

patio outdoor furniture backyard


Installing a fence? The city of Sarasota requires a landscaping permit for fences, but the county doesn’t. 

stone fence with planting beds

Need a Landscaping Permit? Don’t Sweat It 

Good news: even if you do need landscaping permits for your project, you don’t have to worry about it, if you’re working with a reputable landscaping company. They handle it. And it’s usually not a problem. 

Your landscaping company can typically get needed permits within a week or so.

But if you’re putting in a pool, that’s a different story. Pool permits go through the building department, and they can take months. 

covered pool with paver surround and palm trees

Maybe just plan for a nice inflatable one under your stand-alone pergola. 

Landscaping Permits: Kind of a Pain, But Important 

Why are permits a big deal? They help ensure quality. 

And inspectors might discover something you’ll be grateful for later, like a drainage problem behind your retaining wall that could cause it to collapse.
Need a Landscaping Permit? Maybe — Talk to Us 
Actually, don’t even worry about whether you need a landscaping permit for your next cool outdoor project. We’ll take care of it.

You just have fun planning your new patio and showing off your new knowledge about driveway aprons.

Let’s get started. We’ll help you figure it all out. 


Give us a call or fill out our form today! Our team of Sarasota designers can’t wait to design the perfect outdoor haven for your backyard or vacation rental property.

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