Where buffer space exists on site to provide vegetative concealment of a substation, landscaping, especially as a supplement to natural vegetative screening, is a very effective aesthetic treatment. On a site with little natural screening, plantings can be used in concert with architectural features to complement and soften the visual effect.

Shrubs, hedges, and other small plantings are useful for low coverage, fill-in, and accent. These should be employed informally and with variety. Low-ground cover and grasses are effective on berms and in ditches. When planted on top of berms, the impact of the landscaping plantings can be immediate for screening purposes.

Coniferous trees give excellent coverage and color, and can be used in clusters, in hedges, or spaced apart. Size should be sufficient for the screening purpose but not so large as to endanger overhead lines. Species selection should avoid animal or bird attractant types that create a hazard to the function and safety of equipment or personnel.

All plantings should be locally available and compatible types, and should require minimum maintenance. Their location near walls and fences should not compromise either substation grounding or the security against trespass by people or animals.

Topography or land form, whether shaped by nature or by man, can be one of the most useful elements of the site to solve aesthetic and functional site development problems. The first and foremost consideration is to carefully examine the immediate environment of the substation site to discover natural land forms that can influence how the site itself is molded and landscaped.

For example, some sites may have a hillside backdrop that would absorb the skyline view or foreground slopes that influence the primary observation zone. Environmental topography design should consider the effect of screening, horizontal setback, and the background screen on the primary observation zone.

Aesthetically, the land form within the site should reflect or blend with the topography of its environment. The use of land form should be carefully evaluated in combination with plant materials. The careful and sensitive blending of these two important elements can result in a meaningful site development. Trees and shrubs can be less massive and numerous when combined with ground forms of various shapes.

The shape of topography will vary with each situation. The gentle soft forms might be entirely fitting for the wide open countryside, whereas more tailored, sculptured forms might be compatible with an urban setting.

Use of topography as a visual screen is often overlooked. Functionally, earth forms can be permanent, visual screens\ constructed from normal on-site excavating operations. When combined with plantings of grass, bushes, or evergreens and a planned setback of the substation, berms can effectively shield the substation from nearby roads and residents.

Appreciable cost savings can be realized by utilizing cut material spoil on the site for earth forms rather than removing it from the site.

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