Nature Strips - the basics

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the role of nature strips and a well-maintained garden.

A nature strip is a piece of public land by the road. It's the area between the road (or the edge of the pavement) and the property line, not counting sidewalks or private driveways.

Nature strips usually have grass and a tree, providing small green spaces in urban areas.

Nature strips do important things like house underground services, they provide a space to collect garbage bins and ensure roads and sidewalks are safe and easy to use.

Nature strips can contribute to the look and feel of a house and even a whole street. Nature strips:

  • offer safe space between motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians
  • provide easy access to essential infrastructure like telecommunications and utilities
  • promote social connections, pride and a sense of place in communities
  • contribute to the visual appeal of a street
  • provide opportunities for growing food
  • help reduce climate change impacts by absorbing rainwater, reducing stormwater runoff and cooling the environment.

Keeping nature strips well-maintained in our City involves effort from different groups.

Residents need to take care of the nature strip in front or next to their property, and Council is in charge of planting and looking after street trees.

Planting your nature strip has several advantages including:

  • contributing to better biodiversity by providing habitat and food for fauna
  • enhancing urban greening
  • cooling the environment
  • reducing runoff from stormwater (helping prevent flooding)
  • mitigating air pollution
  • attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies
  • providing space to grow food
  • encouraging people to choose active transport options like bike riding and walking
  • improving the look of our neighbourhoods (when they are maintained).

Also, because nature strips help to reduce the urban heat island effect, they support Council’s response to the Climate Emergency.

If you would like more information on planting your nature strip and gardening in general, you can visit:

Did you know...?

Alternatives to grass

Some of the considerations when planting on a nature strip include safety and choosing appropriate plant varieties. The current guidelines provide a good overview of species that are recommended.

Kidney Weed (Dichondra repens): A creeping native groundcover named for its kidney-shaped leaves. It grows up to 10cm in height but can spread up to 2m, forming a mat of emerald green. Suitable for all climates, but prefers dappled or part shade.

Common Billy Button (Craspedia variablis): A perennial Australian native flower forming low clumps of silvery coloured grass-like foliage. It produces tall (up to 60 cm), golden yellow globe shaped flowers on sturdy stems. They are great as a cut flower and excellent for attracting bees to the garden.

Running Postman (Kennedia Protrate): this is a scrambling perennial groundcover with grey-green leaves and bright red pea-like flowers with yellow centres in Spring and Summer.

Other gardening options

The Heart Gardening Project is a community initiative that supports and encourages people to create street gardens. Using sensitively chosen plants, the aim of the project is to increase biodiversity in our urban environments. Part of the initiative is the Melbourne Pollinator Corridor (MPC) – a wildlife corridor that aims to connect Westgate Park with the Royal Botanic Gardens. This project fully explores the role that nature strips can play in our urban environments.

Image used with kind permission by Emma Cutting of
The Heart Gardening Project

Consider joining a local community garden! These are spaces that are generally managed by volunteers within our community and offer great opportunities for people to grow fruit, flowers and vegetables together in a shared space. My Smart Garden has a comprehensive list of all the community gardens in Maribyrnong that people can join.

Aerial view of Yarraville Community Garden

Click on the icons in the map below to find out more about community gardens in Maribyrnong, where they are and what facilities they include.