Planters are decorative containers, of a variety of sizes and shapes, which support small trees and understory plantings. Planters are only encouraged where in-ground trees or plantings cannot be achieved.

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168th Street, Manhattan
Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn


See Permanent Planter in the Landscape chapter

Follow DOT's Permanent Planter Design Guidelines; planters that do not adhere to these guidelines require PDC approval

  • Should be capable of providing suitable soil volume to allow trees to thrive; planters should provide a minimum 54 cubic feet of soil volume and may vary in dimension, with a 3-foot height preferred and a maximum 4-foot height
  • Construct with only one material that is durable and can withstand the elements; a thin wall profile is recommended as it provides more soil volume and is less obtrusive
  • Use waterproof and graffiti resistant surfaces; use a single color and avoid hue, brightness and saturation variations; neutral color palettes only
  • Taper planters above 3 feet in height to a narrower base and avoid tall cylinder shapes that restrict tree growth
  • Provide a lip (~2 inches) on the top of the planter
  • Ensure a reveal on the bottom of the planter
  • Planters should allow for uneven or sloped sidewalks while remaining level
  • Planters must have appropriate drainage
  • Advertising is not permitted on planters; limited sponsorship may be approved


  • Located only on sidewalks that cannot support standard street trees or in-ground planting; may be located within the furnishing zone or against the building
  • Must be a minimum of 18 inches from the curb
  • 8 feet or 50%, whichever is greater, of the sidewalk width must remain clear for 15 feet on either side of the planter
  • Smaller planters that support only understory plantings are sometimes used by DOT to delineate new pedestrian space; these planters are temporary and discouraged for permanent applications


Furniture siting guidelines diagram

Furniture Siting Guidelines diagram [PDF]

See the Furniture Siting Guidelines diagram [PDF] for information on street furniture siting.


  • Private applicants, community groups, BIDs, and other organizations may apply for permits from DOT to install planters and will be responsible for maintenance
  • Planters are generally not fixed to the surface and are moveable by forklift or similar equipment

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