Verge maintenance and compliance
Although the verge outside your home is considered City of Belmont land, you can treat it as an extension of your property in terms of keeping it well-maintained and attractive to reflect your home and garden.
Your verge enhancement or greening project could include a native garden, waterwise garden with low water requirement plants or edible garden, such as a bush tucker garden. All new verge upgrades need to comply with the City of Belmont Consolidated Local Law 2020
Prior to implementing a verge upgrade, the City recommends that you contact utility providers or ‘dial before you dig’ to ensure your design will not impact on existing infrastructure.
If you have questions about verge treatments please read the City's Verge Greening Guidelines
Here is some information about maintaining your verge in line with City requirements.
A verge without a footpath
If there is no footpath on your verge, you need to make sure there is at least a 1.5-metre strip following along the road’s edge which can be used by pedestrians, and not planted with plants.
People walking across this area should be able to use it to move out of the way of passing traffic if needed. This area of your verge needs to be a safe and clear space with stable material to walk on (such as mulch or low groundcover).
Using paving and other hard surface materials
Within the City, acceptable hard surface materials currently include small format clay or concrete modular pavers (no bigger than 300x300mm) and permeable or porous pavers.
You can install acceptable hard surface materials over an area of up to one-third of your verge area, without including your crossover or driveway. These criteria will also need to be met:
- Your front lot boundary (along the road) is more than 12 metres long;
- The rest of your verge area is maintained as garden or lawn;
- If you do not already have a street tree, you will need to keep an area of open space at least 1.5m in diameter where the City could install a street tree in the future;
- Hard surfaces need to be set back at least 1.5 metres from the trunk of any street tree.
You can apply to the City for permission to install an acceptable hard surface material over your entire verge area if:
- The width of your verge is less than 1 metre, not including the width of the footpath;
- There are some parts of your verge (for example an area of less than 4 square metres) where it would not be feasible to maintain natural groundcover or garden.
Plant species for your verge garden
The best plants to use in your verge garden are native low-growing shrubs and groundcovers.
Choose plants which support biodiversity and will not need a lot of water or fertiliser to thrive, by using the Waterwise plant selector on the Water Corporation website
Please keep these guidelines in mind with your verge garden:
- Garden beds should be mulched (see mulch guidelines above) to help control weeds and retain moisture;
- Select shrubs that will not damage wastewater and drainage pipes and other underground services;
- Plants should not encroach onto footpaths or roadways and (excluding grass or a similar plant) must not be planted within 1.5 metres of the road. Plants higher than 75cm must not be planted within 6 metres of an intersection;
- Plants should not interfere with vehicle or pedestrian sightlines for anybody using the roadways, footpaths or driveways along your street;
- Plants need to be maintained to a height of less than 75cm, so choosing suitable plant species will save you from regular pruning;
- If there is no footpath on your side of the street, you need to keep a 1.5 metre-wide unplanted area for pedestrian access;
- Prickly, thorny, ‘spear like’, poisonous, toxic, or plants that are hazardous in nature are not be planted on the verge, including roses with thorny stems, yuccas, cacti, succulents and agaves;
- There should be no holes, stakes (other than street tree stakes), bollards, dividers, trip hazards or other physical barriers that protrude above the level of the verge;
- Plants must not cover service pits or gullies.
The City is responsible for the selection, supply, planting, removal and maintenance of all street trees. Here are some important things to know:
- You cannot plant street tees on your verge – but you can request a street tree for your property;
- It is an offence to prune, remove or damage a street tree without the City’s approval;
- If you have one or more street trees, you can only use lawn or mulch within a 1.5m radius around the trunk of each street tree;
- Street trees, including tree roots, need to be protected and not damaged or interfered within any way without approval from the City.
Want to know more?
Learn more about the City’s street trees
Watering your verge
If you use sprinklers or other irrigation on your verge, you need to make sure:
- Water is used efficiently, so minimise any spray drift outside the verge area and keep any spray off footpaths or roads;
- Your sprinklers or pipes should not protrude above the level of the lawn or verge treatment when not in use;
- Your irrigation is not used at times which might cause an unreasonable inconvenience to pedestrians or other people;
- You comply with watering days and the Winter Switch Off as per Water Corporation requirements for scheme and bore users;
- Your irrigation does not present a hazard to anybody, in use or at any other time.
Space for your bins
The City provides a range of verge-side services including rubbish collection.
Please make sure there is room for your bins to sit on your verge on collection day. Check that anything on your verge will not get in the way of waste collection and that there is nothing which could be displaced or damaged if a bulk bin was delivered.
Verge treatments which are not permitted
These treatments are not allowed on verges
within the City:
- Loose stones, gravel, pea gravel (whole or split), aggregate, blue metal, small woodchips or sawdust, cement, concrete slab, crushed brick or rock (fines) as these are easily displaced, collecting on the road, footpath and adjoining properties, posing a hazard for motorists, cyclist and pedestrians;
- Impervious material, synthetic turf, impervious synthetic membrane or other synthetic material;
- The decision to remove synthetic turf as a permissible verge treatment from the Consolidated Local Law 2020 was based on its negative environmental impacts such as:
- The potential damage caused to street trees during installation;
- Reduced water infiltration and increased surface water runoff into drains;
- Potential to get very hot during the summer (up to 93.3 degrees), exacerbating the heat island affect;
- Large environmental footprint due to the plastics required in production and its disposal (landfill only);
- Provides no ecological value and, due to the high temperatures it can reach, beneficial soil micro-organisms do not survive resulting in desolate verges.
- The placement of any objects which could be dangerous or restrict access for pedestrians, motor vehicles or cyclist such as rocks, sleepers, stakes and rope, star pickets, bollards, bricks, fencing, retaining walls, kerbing and any other items that protrude above the natural level of the verge;
- Sporting equipment such as basketball hoops/stands, cricket wickets, play equipment, cubbies, swings attached to street trees;
- Landscape treatments which create a barrier within or across the verge, including any barriers or obstacles on the verge to stop unwanted parking;
- Garden ornaments;
- Walls or built structures.
Space for works on your verge
Vital services and public infrastructure may be located within the verge, such as power and underground utilities including water, gas, stormwater pipes, sewerage and telecommunications.
Some providers, including the City of Belmont and utility providers, have the right to dig up the verge as part of installing, upgrading or repairing new or existing services.
If these works cause damage to your verge, the authorised provider is generally only required to repair your verge to a certain standard, such as filling in holes. This means unusual or expensive finishes or plantings may not be put back in place, so please bear this in mind before adding these features to your verge – with the same applying to sprinklers, pipes or other reticulation equipment.
You are responsible for maintaining your verge
The City is responsible for the planting, removal and maintenance of all street trees. If you own a property within the City, you are responsible for maintaining the adjacent verge, including landscaping, lawns, verge gardens and other treatments.
Verges in town centres and along some major roads may be maintained by the City as part of streetscape maintenance. However, this is generally limited to mowing or mulching existing City managed garden beds.
Please remember if you install any kind of verge treatment, or buy a property which has a verge treatment installed, this verge treatment must comply with the City’s Consolidated Local Law 2020
which has been passed by Council.
If you have questions about verge treatments please email email@example.com
or phone the City’s Parks, Leisure and Environment team on 9477 7257 to discuss your plans.