Nature strips are the piece of land situated between the edge of a road and a property boundary.
This land is managed by Council as part of the road reserve, but it is often maintained by residents. A typical nature strip has grass with street trees planted at intervals along the strip.
Nature strips are important as:
- Locations for services such as telephone, gas, water and sewerage, as well as power (above ground poles, or below ground)
- Access for postal and service maintenance staff
- Footpaths for pedestrians, prams and other community members
- Open lines of sight for vehicle traffic, cyclists and pedestrians
Rules for nature strips
If you plan to do anything other than the treatments defined in Council’s Nature Strip Policy on the nature strip in front of your property, you will need our permission.
Any feature that is deemed to be a risk to the public such as a tripping, falling or other hazard may be removed by the City from the nature strip without consultation or warning.
Any works must maintain clearances and visibility for pedestrians, bicycle and vehicles when using, entering or exiting an intersection, driveway or footpath:
- A minimum footpath width of 1.5 metres clear of obstruction is to be retained
- Vegetation must not block lines of sight. Individual trees or shrubs may be appropriate, but generally plants should be maintained below 1.0 metre high
- Hard landscaping elements, such as rocks, timber (including edging) must not be used as they can become trip hazards or obstacles to pedestrians
- Materials used must be stable and properly contained to avoid being carried onto paths or into gutters
- Residents must not park or store any type of vehicle, including trailers, on the nature strip (registered or unregistered. Exemptions exist for bicycles and motorcycles as per Road Safety Rule No. 197
When landscaping front yards, residents need to be aware of where their property boundary is located.
Residents extending their garden beds beyond the property boundary can cause issues with footpaths and create a hazard for pedestrians.
In addition, property owners may be held liable for injury caused as a result of any unauthorised landscaping works undertaken by them, or on their behalf.
Options for changing the nature strip
If you wish to make changes to the nature strip outside your property, you need to fund the works.
Options available to you include:
- Crushed recycled stone and brick
- Plantings and mulch
Apply to change your nature strip
Nature strips are public land. You need to apply for permission to undertake works in the nature strip that are not explicitly listed in the Nature Strip Policy.
Your application should include:
- A completed Works Within Road Reserve (Vehicle crossing / Landscaping works) Application form
- A sketch of the site, including the proposed treatment to be applied (the sketch should show property boundaries, driveways, kerb, street trees, service and sign poles)
- From the January 1, 2020, Council will waive the $88.90 permit fee to all new applications to install vegetation on the road reserve, however a permit application will still be required to ensure the species and location are suitable for each site
Take your application in person to Engineering unit at 15 Hopetoun Street, Bendigo or email your application to [email protected]
The site will be assessed and if the application is approved, consent granted to conduct the works.
If your proposal is for a major city boulevard or other street/road whose appearance is deemed to be of municipal importance, your application may be denied and an enhancement plan drawn up by council.