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Verge Gardens

We encourage residents to take pride in their verges, to enhance the aesthetic value of their properties and the streetscape as a whole.

What is a vergeChild planting garden

A verge (or nature strip) is the area of land situated at the front of your property between the footpath and the roadside kerb.

Verges allow room for important public services such as water, electricity, sewer, telecommunications and gas, and provide a place for the street trees to be planted. Verges vary in size depending on the street and are typically treated with compacted rubble (either dolomite or quartzite).

Why landscape a verge

A well-designed and well maintained landscaped verge can improve your property’s kerb appeal, absorb rainwater, improve community pride and increase local biodiversity.

Collectively, the more vegetation (and less hard surfaces) in an area, the cooler that temperatures will be in hot summer weather.

Who owns the verge

The Council owns the land between the front property boundary and the road, including the verges. The Council is responsible for planting and maintaining street trees and for ensuring that verges pose no threat to public safety.

What can I plant on the verge

Householders are encouraged to ‘take ownership’ and landscape their verge, but approval is required and a number of conditions must be met to ensure that the proposed works will not: 

  • detract from the amenity of the streetscape
  • pose an undue risk to public safety
  • interfere with or compromise existing infrastructure including street trees.

For more information, read the Verge Garden Guidelines

No weed spray register

The Council regularly sprays weeds on footpaths and on compacted rubble/dolomite verges.

If you do not want your footpath or verge sprayed, add your address to the Council's No Weed Spray Register by contacting the Council’s Works Coordinator, Park & Gardens on 08 8360 9008.

Note: the Council won’t spray verges that have been landscaped by the resident. Once a verge is landscaped it is the resident’s responsibility to maintain the verge.

Verge planting approval

Individuals or groups can apply to landscape a verge.

Prior to any works commencing and before applying below, please read the Verge Garden Guidelines

An Authorisation to Landscape a verge is valid for a term of twenty one 21 years, commencing on the date the Authorisation is granted by the Council.

Note: works must be completed within 12 months of the Commencement Date, and you must notify the Council upon completion, otherwise the Authorisation will lapse.

Can I apply to landscape several verges or a different area on my street

If you are interested in landscaping several verges or a different area on your street (eg a verge at a dead end road, or an area that isn’t directly in front of your property), you can submit an application form for the Council’s consideration.

Apply now

Authorisation to Landscape a Verge – Application Form

Alternatively, you can download and complete the Authorisation to Landscape a Verge – Application Form & Conditions

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Verge garden guidelines

The Authorisation Holder acknowledges and agrees to comply with the following conditions.

1. Plant selection

To minimise the amount of time and effort you’ll need to dedicate to maintaining your verge garden, the Council encourages plants that are:

  • suitable for local site conditions considering the existing soil type, rainfall and site orientation
  • hardy and long lived species
  • non-invasive
  • drought tolerant
  • able to withstand occasional pedestrian traffic.

Take a walk around the neighbourhood to see what others are doing and what is working well.

Consider using local native species that are well adapted to the climate and provide valuable food and habitat to birds and other wildlife. For information about local native species and their maintenance requirements, download: Common Local Native Species of the Adelaide Plains Brochure

Your local nursery can also assist with species selection.

To maintain safe lines of sight along your street, select plants that don’t grow taller than 750mm. Low groundcovers are ideal as they create a dense cover which discourages weeds and allows clear sight lines.

To protect public safety, select plants that do not have prickles, spines or thorns. Similarly, do not use plants declared as pests or that are poisonous.

Please note, it is illegal to plant declared pest plants (weeds) that are regulated under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, as they pose a significant threat to agriculture, the natural environment and public health and safety.  A list of declared plants (weeds) and information is available on the Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) website.

2. Lawn

If installing lawn, it is important to prepare the soil beforehand. The Council encourages choosing water-wise turf varieties that will cope with heat and drought.

Artificial turf is not permitted.

3. Passenger access

The design needs to allow for passengers to be able to exit vehicles parked at the kerbside without stepping on plants. This can be achieved by:

  1. installing a (unpaved) path at least 1.2m wide, and/or
  2. leaving an unplanted area on the verge adjacent the kerb (extending at least 0.5m from kerb).

The unplanted area or path may comprise gravel, lawn, mulch or a similar material and must not create a trip hazard.

The path or unplanted area can also be used for your kerbside bins on collection day.

4. Installation

Prior to digging, contact Dial Before You Dig on 1100 to determine the presence and location of underground pipes and cables under the verge.

When digging, be very careful not to damage the root system of any street trees. To achieve this, excavate by hand around the base of the tree and ensure no roots greater than 50mm diameter are damaged. 

Keep tools and other items off the road and footpath to prevent obstruction and safety hazards. If you need to temporarily close off part of the footpath, you’ll need to obtain an Authorisation to Alter and Use a Public Road / Footpath from the Council before you do so.

To prevent stormwater pollution, materials such as soil or mulch must be swept up from hard surfaces such as the footpath and gutter.

The applicant is responsible for all works and costs associated with the planting of the verge, including the replacement of existing verge material with appropriate soil, and the proper disposal of any excess material.

5. Watering

When preparing the verge, ensure that soil levels are flush with the adjacent footpath or ideally, slightly lower. You are encouraged to shape the soil level into a slight depression in the middle of the verge. This will help collect water when it rains and will also assist to retain soil and mulch in place.

To help retain moisture and reduce weeds, consider applying mulch to a depth of 50-100 mm. However, ensure that mulch is not heaped around or placed against plant stems or tree trunks to avoid risk of decay and disease from excess moisture.

Drip irrigation is permitted, however, the pipework will need to go under the footpath at the Authorisation Holder’s expense and will need prior approval from the Council (please complete the Authorisation to Alter and Use a Public Road / Footpath – Application Form). Ensure the irrigation system does not pose a trip hazard. Please also note that the footpath will need to be reinstated and irrigation removed upon expiry of this Authorisation.

6. Maintenance

After planting, it will be the Authorisation Holder’s ongoing responsibility to maintain the verge garden in a manner that is safe and tidy. This includes watering, mowing, weeding, pest and disease control, pruning and replacement of material/plants.

To maintain safe sight lines for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, the Authorisation Holder must keep plantings lower than 750mm in height. Also to maintain public safety, the Authorisation Holder must ensure that verge plantings do not encroach onto the adjacent footpath or roadway.

The Council encourages removing grass from the collar of street trees by hand or by spraying; edge trimmers are not recommended as the nylon cord can damage the trunk.

By law, you are obliged to ensure that pollutants, including green waste (e.g. lawn clippings, leaves, and prunings), do not reach the stormwater system from your property or verge.  Green waste (garden waste) must not be swept, blown, hosed or left on the verge, street or gutter. Instead, rake or sweep garden waste, use it as mulch, compost it or place it in your green organics bin.

Pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers must not be used near any stormwater drains. This is particularly important around areas such as verges and driveways that may flow into the stormwater system.  Even those labelled ‘non-toxic’ must not go into the stormwater system. Use chemicals sparingly and avoid using during periods of rain or when rain is forecast in the next 24 hours. Do not spray under windy conditions; the wind may transport the spray into the stormwater system.

7. Other safety conditions

Built structures and sharp objects such as rocks, stakes, star pickets, bollards, supporting frames, raised garden beds, retaining walls and lattices cannot be placed on the verge.

All landscape work shall comply with all applicable industry standards and with health and safety standards.

8. Rights of the Council

At any time and without notice, the Council maintains the right to access and maintain street trees and underground services located within the verge. Please note that other service providers also maintain the right to access underground services located within the verge at any time and without notice.

The Council may adjust the verge as part of a road upgrade or for any other reason.

Where the verge is not maintained in accordance with these conditions, or there is a public safety risk, the Council may remove the verge garden created under this Authorisation and may reinstate the dolomite or quartzite rubble. Compensation will not be provided to the Authorisation Holder.

9. Other conditions

Authorised landscape works must be carried out by the Authorisation within 12 months of the date this Authorisation is granted, and the Council must be notified upon completion of works, otherwise this Authorisation will lapse.

Maintenance and insurance

After planting, it will be the individual or group’s ongoing responsibility to maintain the verge garden in a manner that is safe and tidy. This includes watering, mowing, weeding, pest and disease control, pruning and replacement of material/plants. It also means ensuring that there are no trip hazards for pedestrians and road users.

If a third party is injured or suffers loss or damage in connection with your verge garden, you will not be covered by the Council’s insurance. You may wish to extend your domestic insurance coverage to include the verge garden in front of your property.

For individuals or groups that apply to landscape several verges or an area of verge in another location (ie not directly in front of a resident’s property), the Council will require you to provide evidence of public liability insurance for at least the amount of $20,000,000.00 for each claim.

Where a group is established under the auspices of another incorporated association (eg a local residents’ association), the name of the group must be listed on the Insurance Certificate of Currency provided by the ‘head’ organisation.