Nature Strips

When people become interested in gardening, they often feel that just having a bit of uninteresting lawn outside their home is a bit boring. Wildlife gardeners see an opportunity to make more wildlife habitat space.

According to the City of Ballarat website nature strip “appearance can bring economic benefits to businesses and property owners and we encourage property owners to recognise the value of nature strips and to also take pride in maintaining them. Nature strips are an integral part of our urban environment.”

It is a positive step to have the value of the benefits of nature strips acknowledged and we hope this extends to allowing us to add some low growing native plants.

Currently there is no policy or guidelines for City of Ballarat residents to follow when it comes to planting a nature strip. 

As more of us want to avoid chemicals that kill plants and insects, there is place to register  if you do not wish for Council to undertake spraying on the road reserve in front of or along your property, you can apply to be listed on the No Spray

Brachyscome multifida Cut-leaf Daisy 

Chrysocephalum apiculatum Common Everlasting 

Myroporum parvifolium Creeping Boobialla 

What is a nature strip? 

It is the area of public land located between a property boundary and the adjacent roadway. They have a few uses and some you may not have considered.

Nature strips are used for:

• provision of utility services, such as gas telecommunications, power, water

• vehicle going in and out of properties

• pedestrian movements,

• collection of household bins,

• visibility for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians

• street tree planting

Council considers that it is our responsibility to keep the nature strip safe and maintained if we have one and that Council is responsible for maintaining nature strips at town entrances and high-profile areas. Council is also responsible for the street trees planted on the nature strip but it is really helpful if we water these trees through their first summer.

Wallaby Grass

Weeping Grass

Kangaroo Grass

Windmill Grass

Some general tips before you plant

Our Ballarat Gardens for Wildlife garden team would like to provide some general guidance if you are looking at planting out your nature strip to avoid some of the problems that may arise. Nature strips are a wonderful extension to a garden and may provide some habitat for small birds, insects, frogs and skinks. 

Remember people still need to be able to walk along the adjoining footpath and have good visibility, access and not be obstructed by plants. This is no different from being required to keep garden vegetation cut back to the fence line. 

1.       Make sure you do an assessment of what is already growing as it may already have local native grasses and all you need to do is add a few more daisies.

2.       Seek approval from the owner if it is a rental property.

3.       Lodge a ‘Dial Before You Dig’ query online or dial 1100 to locate services prior to any excavation.

4.       Consider your ability to maintain the landscaping in a safe and 'tidy' condition in the long term.

5.       Don’t build up the soil level around an existing street tree or cut the roots

6.       Set plants back 50 cm from the edges of the kerb and footpath. People need to be able to open a car door and get out of a car or perhaps step onto the garden to pass someone.

7.       Avoid planting plants that have a potential to be weedy, as seeds may wash down the gutter to a nearby reserve or creek and spread. e.g. instead of  gazanias plant native daisies.

8.       All plantings to be a minimum of 1.8m clear from property boundary where no existing footpath. While birds need some prickly plants for protection avoid them on the nature strip and plant them in your own garden instead.

9.       Avoid large objects and barriers like raised garden beds, sleepers, water features, rocks, logs, lights, raised edges or fences and don’t add an irrigation system. If there is a need to dig up the nature strip your hard work will be removed or damaged.

10.   Choose low growing plants with a maximum height of 50cm. Some native grasses will grow bigger than this for a short period but they may easily be pruned annually after seeding. 

11.   Choose mulches that will not wash easily into the stormwater system. You don't want to cause a flood by blocking a drain!

12.   No artificial turf, this is made of plastic that breaks down and may enter the ecosystem. It also provides no wildlife benefits and kills the soil microbes underneath.

13.   Don’t add metal stakes or items that may cause injuries.

14.   Leave street trees alone and don’t try and modify them by removing branches, as the summers become hotter we will need all the shade we can get and street trees are a valuable asset. Contact Council if you need assistance with street tree maintenance.

Kennedia prostrata Running Postman

Eutaxia microphylla

Calocephalus citreus Lemon Beautyheads

Dichondra repens Kidney Weed

Now for the fun stuff - choosing what to plant and a trip to the nursery

Groundcovers & Wildflowers

Acacia aculeatissima Thin-leaf Wattle 30cm x 1m

Acaena novae-zelandiae Bidgee-widgee Prostrate x 1m

Ajuga australis Austral Bugle 30cm x spreading

Atriplex semibaccata Creeping saltbush prostrate x 2m

Bossiaea prostrata Creeping Bossiaea prostrate x 1m

Brachyscome dentata  Lobe-seed Daisy 30cm x 30cm

Brachyscome multifida Cut-leaf Daisy 20cm x 50cm

Bulbine bulbosa Bulbine Lily 10cm x 30cm

Calocephalus citreus Lemon Beauty-heads 10-30cm x 30cm-1m

Calocephalus lactueus Milky Beauty-heads 10-30cm x 10-30cm

Calotis scapigera Tufted Burr-daisy 10-20cm x spreading

Carpobrotus modestus Inland Pigface 10cm x 1-2m

Carpobrotus rossii Karkalla 10cm x 1m

Chrysocephalum apiculatum Common Everlasting 20cm x 50cm

Coronidium scorpioides Button Everlasting 30cm x 30cm

Craspedia variabilis Common Billy-buttons 30-50cm

Dichondra repens Kidney-weed Prostrate x 1m

Einadia hastata Saloop 50cm x 50cm

Einadia nutans Nodding Saltbush 20cm x 1m

Enchylaena tomentosa var. tomentosa Ruby Saltbush

Eutaxia microphylla Small-leaved Eutaxia prostrate x 1m

Kennedia prostrata Running Postman prostrate x 1m

Myroporum parvifolium Creeping Boobialla 10cm x 1m

Pelargonium australe Austral Stork’s-bill 50cm x 50cm

Pelargonium rodneyanum Magenta Stork's-bill  30cm x 50cm

Scaevola aemula Fan Flower  20cm x 50cm

Viola hederacea Ivy-leaf or Native violet 10cm x 1m

Vittadenia sp. New Holland Daisy 20cm x 30cm

Wahlenbergia sp.  Bluebell 30cm x 30cm

Grasses & Clumps

Choris truncata Windmill Grass 30cm x 1m

Dianella amoena Matted Flax-lily 20-30 x 30cm

Dianella revoluta var. revoluta Black-anther Flax-lily 50cm x Spreading

Ficinia nodosa Knobby Club-sedge 50cm x 50cm

Lomandra filiformis Wattle Mat-rush 50cm x 30cm

Lomandra multiflora Many-flowered Mat-rush 30cm x 30cm

Lomandra nana Small Mat-rush 15cm x 10-20cm

Microlaena stipoides Weeping Grass 30cm x 50cm

Poa morrisii Velvet Tussock-grass 50cm x 50cm

Poa sieberana Tussock-grass 30cm x 30cm

Rytidosperma caespitosum Common Wallaby-grass 40cm x 40cm

Rytidosperma geniculatum Kneed Wallaby-grass 15cm x 15cm

Rytidosperma racemosum Clustered Wallaby-grass 20cm x 20cm

Rytidosperma setaceum Bristly Wallaby-grass 30cm x 30cm

A thyme lawn

Don't forget to prune the grasses at the end of summer

You might add a dry creek bed to assist with getting water into the soil

Prostrate Rosemary