Know the rules
Before you start, check with your local authority, which has guidelines about what you can dig up and plant. These may include:
- Plant height limits so driver and pedestrian visibility is not impaired and doors of cars parked on the kerb can be opened.
- No toxic, noxious or weedy plants.
- No trip hazards or sharp objects such as wires, raised edging, stakes, rocks, plants with prickles or thorns, etc, that can injure pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders.
- Ensuring access across strip for pedestrians.
- Ensuring space for rubbish bins.
- Not endangering the health of trees, which belong to your local authority.
- Limits on edible plants due to contamination.
- Consultation with neighbours.
Dial before you dig
While you are responsible for your nature strip, the public has the right to access it and local authorities and regional utilities have the right to dig it up. Before you start, check what pipes, cables and services are underneath and be mindful that your plants may be tossed if necessary. It’s the risk you take, but you can replant again.
How to create a native verge garden
Gather your supplies
- Plastic pavers
- Sandstone pebbles
- Edging, 45mm deep
- 7mm Tent pegs
- Chunky organic mulch
You’ll also need
- Long-handled spade;
- tape measure;
- landscape spray paint;
- circular saw;
- metal rake;
- rubber mallet;
- long-handled shovel;
- buckets or tubs.
Remove grass with spade.
Measure and mark with spray paint where footpaths and bin room will go.
Remove 10cm of soil with shovel inside markings.
Lay plastic pavers, trim to fit with circular saw and press firmly in soil.
Fill plastic pavers with sandstone pebbles and rake smooth.
Dig shallow trenches along boundaries to about 4.5-5cm with shovel.
Lay pre-cut edging along boundaries to be level with adjoining soil surface and secure with tent pegs.
Add quality compost to soil and dig in.
Arrange plants for best aesthetic look. Think lines, swirls, snakes and drifts. Uneven numbers have a greater visual impact, so plant the same species in 3s, 5s or 7s.
Dig holes for plants with spade as deep as the pot and twice as wide.
Fill holes with water and put plants in buckets or tubs of water to soak them.
When holes have drained, put plants in garden bed and tuck in with dug up soil.
Water soil then add mulch to soil surface.
Top Tips for Native Plants
Your local authority can tell you what natives thrive where you live. Then you can have plants that are drought, frost, humidity or rain tolerant, are suitable for your soil and provide nectar, food and habitat for native birds, insects and other creatures that are so important to our environment.
1. Tea tree (Leptospermum ‘Pink Cascade’) has prickly leaves that offer shelter for birds.
2. Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos ‘Bush Zest’) has been bred to tolerate humidity and heavy soils.
3. Cut-leaf daisy (Brachyscome ‘Pacific Reef’) self-seeds and adds spots of vibrant colour to your garden.
4. The native violet (Viola hereracea) is a ground cover that will thrive under the shade of other taller plants.
5. Lilly Pilly ‘Cherry Surprise’ (Acmena smithii) produces new leaves that are bright red, then mature to beautiful deep green.
For more gardening inspiration, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine in selected newsagents and supermarkets or buy online today!
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