Waterwise Verge Program

Adopt your Verge:

Verges, the area between the road, a property and the property next door, provide space for public utilities including, water, gas, sewer, telephone, stormwater and power. They are also important green spaces within our community, helping to:

  • Contribute toward local biodiversity
  • Enhance neighbourhood character
  • Assist with urban cooling, reducing the ‘heat island effect’ during summer
  • Connect community with nature
  • Promote safer, comfortable walking environments

Residents in urban areas are encouraged to adopt their verge in order to enhance the streetscape and amenity of their area.

Verge development works can only be undertaken after approval is received from the Shire’s Director of Infrastructure Services and must be completed in accordance with Council’s local laws.

How Do I Apply?

  1. To adopt a verge ensure you are familiar with the guidelines below and have completed the respective application
  2. Once the verge adoption has been approved undertake works

Verge Adoption Guidelines

  1. Residents must submit an application for assessment – no works are to commence until appropriate written approval has been received from the Shire of Murray
  2. All verge treatments are to be in accordance with Council’s Local Laws and works can only be undertaken after approval by the Director Infrastructure Services or his representative
  3. A permit is not required from the Shire of Murray for planting lawn on verges or for the installation of reticulation
  4. A permit is required for all other works in the verge such as garden beds, shrubs, kerbing and paving
  5. Treatments not adhering to the Shire of Murray guidelines must be altered at the applicant’s cost
  6. No part of the verge should be identified for parking purposes
  7. Trees and shrubs whether endemic or introduced must not be removed without written consent from the Director of Infrastructure Services
  8. Street trees planted on the verge make a more pleasant urban environment and add aesthetic value to the community, they are to be incorporated into the design and tree species are to be approved by the Shire
  9. In un-kerbed areas, the swale drainage is sensitive to changes in levels – no fill or crossover is to be constructed which alters the levels of the verge area. If the verge area is filled to give an even grade from the property boundary to the road, then the street has no drainage and is prone to flooding
  10. Adequate access to the letterbox for mail delivery must be made
  11. Pedestrians must at all times have a two metre clear zone adjacent to the kerb
  12. No thorny or poisonous vegetation and no higher than 750mm – other than trees
  13. Vegetation should not encroach onto footpaths or roadways
  14. Sprinklers must not cause interference to safe traffic movement or safe footpath usage
  15. Earth mounding, rocks or retaining walls or other non-breakable items/structures are not permitted, as they may cause a hazard
  16. Do not place or erect any fence, enclosure, rockery or other obstruction on/near a lawn or garden on the verge area
  17. No more than one third of the verge area is to be a hard, non-permeable material excluding any crossover
  18. Ongoing maintenance of the verge (excluding street trees) is the responsibility of the resident – plants should not protrude onto pathways, driveways or over the kerb and the landowner must keep the verge free of weeds and rubbish and trip hazards
  19. Landowners are responsible for notifying utility providers should damage occur to existing underground services and infrastructure
  20. When the Shire of Murray, or any other authority empowered to do so under any written law, disturbs a verge, the Shire of Murray or authority is not liable to compensate any person for that disturbance nor replace any verge treatment

Acceptable and Non Acceptable Materials

Acceptable:

  • Grass
  • Low prostrate ground covers or shrubs
  • Mulch
  • Brick Paving*
  • Bitumen*
  • Compacted Sawdust#
  • Shredded organic mulch#
  • Concrete*
  • Gravel#
  • Crushed Brick

*No more than 1/3 of the area (excluding crossover)

#Approved, provided they are contained within the verge areas and do not spread onto adjacent, road, pavement or paths

Non-Acceptable:

  • Blue metal, limestone rubble
  • Gravel limestone mixes
  • Any similar loose aggregate
  • Synthetic turf

Reinstatement of Verge Treatments

Utility services such as water, gas, electricity, fire and telecommunications have access rights to road reserves and may need to excavate the verge periodically.

Residents who have modified the verge area, will not be compensated for any loss of vegetation or landscaping items, as a result of such works.

Where there is no footpath, the Shire may build one in the future. Generally, the footpath would be built in the 2 metres adjacent to the carriageway. Landowners will not be compensated for any loss of vegetation because of this work, however the Shire will work with landowners to minimise impacts.

Where verge landscaping is not consistent with the Shire’s local laws, guidelines or has been identified as a safety hazard, the Shire will request the landowner to carry out remedial works. The landowner will be responsible for all associated costs.

Where the landowner is unable or unwilling to complete remedial works, the Shire will complete the works and the landowner will be responsible for all associated costs.

Waterwise Verge Rebate

Take your verge adoption one step further and transform your garden into a sustainable, waterwise garden using native Australian flora.

A Waterwise Verge Rebate is on offer for residents keen to establish a waterwise verge. The initiative is proudly co-funded by Water Corporation’s Waterwise Greening Scheme, forming part of their ambition for Murray to be a leading waterwise community.

The rebate applies to soft landscaping (plants and mulch) and matches the applicant’s contribution (up to $500), subject to an application process.

Rebates are limited to a maximum accumulative claim of $10,000 per financial year, so get in quick!

For a great waterwise verge example, check out the Telstra building verge along Murray Street, Pinjarra.

How Do I Apply?

  1. To adopt a verge ensure you are familiar with the guidelines above and have completed the respective application
  2. Review the Waterwise Verge Guidelines document
  3. Once the verge adoption has been approved undertake works
  4. Complete and submit the Waterwise Verge Rebate form

Acceptable and Non Acceptable Materials/Works

Acceptable:

  • Native and waterwise plants
  • Vegetation to a height of 750mm
  • Vegetation that does not restrict sight visibility for pedestrians or vehicles
  • Mulch
  • Verges without footpaths set back 2m from road frontage – groundcovers acceptable

Not Acceptable: 

  • Hazardous, spiky, invasive or poisonous plants
  • Artificial or synthetic grass
  • Blue metal
  • Limestone rubble
  • Introduction of pea gravel
  • Any similar loose aggregates are generally not permitted
  • Fences or walls
  • Fountains and ornaments
  • Stakes and star pickets
  • Children’s play equipment
  • Any treatment which encroaches onto the road or impedes pedestrian access
  • Clearing of existing street trees or remnant vegetation without prior Shire approval
  • Alteration to general level and grade of verge (must be kept consistent with neighbouring verge)
  • Removal or replacement of kerbing and footpaths to accommodate landscaping

Creating a Waterwise Verge

Before you commence:

  • Ensure written approval is received from the Shire
  • Existing street tree or plants must not be removed without written Shire permission
  • If there’s no street tree, one can be requested by contacting the Shire
  • Verges without footpaths must be set back 2m from road frontage (groundcovers acceptable)
  • Verges with a footpath must be accessible for pedestrians

Design and plant selection: 

Visit Water Corporation’s website for garden design, water saving and plant selection tips.

Only groundcovers or low grasses (native species) should be planted within 2m of the carriageway, no higher than 750mm.

The Shire’s Environmental Services can provide assistance with selecting suitable local native species or alternatively visit a waterwise garden centre or landscaper  for professional assistance. Keep an eye out for the Smart Approved WaterMark symbol when choosing garden products.

Site preparation:

  1. Dial Before you Dig 
  2. Dig out and remove existing lawn, grass and roots
  3. Consider soil type and soil conditioning – healthy soil improves a plant’s resistance to drought

Soil types in the Shire vary greatly. Sandy soil has low water and nutrient holding capacity and can benefit greatly from adding compost and soil amendments (clay) – best done at planting by thoroughly mixing into the top 30cm of soil.

South West soil characteristics:

Soil TypeBecomes Non-wettableWater Holding CapacityNutrient Holding CapacityBenefits from Organic MatterBenefits from Soil Amendments
SandVery commonlyPoorPoorGreatlyGreatly
Sandy loamOccasionallyMediumMediumGreatlySome
ClayVery rarelyGoodMediumGreatlyA little
Rocky or stony soilsOccasionallyMediumMediumGreatlyA little
Potting mixVery commonlyGoodGoodN/AA little

 

  • The finished soil level must consider the existing drainage and utility assets within the verge
  • The complete surface levels must integrate with the adjoining property and road surface levels

Planting: 

The ideal time to plant is autumn through to spring as the weather is cooler and wetter, giving plants a chance to establish prior to the hot summer months.

Mulch and Watering: 

Following planting, spread a coarse layer of mulch approximately 5-10cm thick to help reduce plant stress, suppress weed growth and reduce evaporation.

Ideally once established, waterwise verges will not require permanent irrigation system.

If irrigation is required, sub surface drip irrigation is recommended. Remember to check watering days and to apply for a temporary watering exemption if additional water use is required.

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