Waterwise Verge Guide
The verge is the area between the road, your property and the property next door. Verges are important green spaces within our community that assist with urban cooling whilst creating biodiversity corridors within our streetscapes.
The City of Vincent encourages residents to undertake soft landscaping of verges, including waterwise plants and mulch.
In order to save water in our drying climate, we strongly encourage the establishment of waterwise unirrigated verges. When designed, installed and well maintained, waterwise verge gardens can:
- Save water in the garden
- Create an appealing greenspace for our streets
- Require little maintenance, with occasional weeding, pruning, mulching and hand watering.
- Create a cooling effect and counteract the heat island effects in summer
- Provide a habitat for local wildlife and promote biodiversity
We've put together this guide to help you create your own low maintenance waterwise verge.
Remove lawn and weeds
Dig out the existing verge soil and any grass roots so that the verge ground level is at least 7.5cm below surrounding kerbs and paths. This will allow for mulch on top and ensure finished levels are level with adjoining paths or kerbs. If the soil on your verge is very sandy or compacted, consider digging it to a greater depth to allow for the addition of soil conditioners.
Prepare the soil
Good soil is the foundation of a healthy waterwise garden, the healthier your soil the more drought resistant your plants will be.
If using a range of exotic and native plants or if your verge will need be irrigated, we encourage residents to incorporate soil conditioners like composted organic matter and clay, such as Bentonite, within the top 30cm of soil to improve moisture and nutrient holding capacity.
Perth’s sandy soils can become water repellent in dry weather. Applying a good quality soil wetting agent will increase ‘wettability’, allowing water to penetrate deep into the root zone. This is particularly important during planting, to help your plants establish and grow deep roots.
When buying soil conditioner or wetting agents, select products with the Waterwise and Smart Approved WaterMark symbols and refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates. For more information view the Water Corporations water saving products search.
Choose waterwise plants
Consider the existing conditions of your verge, such as soil type and sun exposure, and how they may influence your choice of plants.
Unirrigated dryland, native plants are the most appropriate for verge gardens as when established, they can survive our hot dry summers with little to no supplementary watering. These are typically local native plant species which are drought tolerant and common to your local area.
To find plants suitable for your local area and garden type view the Water Corporations waterwise plant directory.
When applying mulch, spread a 5-10cm thick even layer of course mulch, keeping clear from the stem of plants. Mulching your garden will help to improve your soil, reduce plant stress and evaporation, suppress weed growth and greatly improve the appearance of your garden.
The finished mulch must be level with adjoining kerbs and footpath. This will ensure the mulch stays in place and does not spread or flow onto footpaths or into stormwater systems.
Ideally your waterwise verge won’t need a permanent irrigation system. Once established, unirrigated dryland, native plants can survive our hot dry summers with little to no supplementary watering.
If you do require irrigation, Water Corporation recommends sub-surface drip irrigation. If you need help with irrigation, your local Waterwise Irrigator can help.
Remember to check your watering days and be sure to apply for a watering exemption if your new verge garden needs additional watering.
Need help creating your waterwise verge? Check out the City's Adopt a Verge Program.
For more handy water saving tips, garden design ideas and videos on how to makeover your verge visit the Water Corporation website.
For more information on what you can and can't do on your verge, view the City's Policy on Verge Treatments, Planting and Beautification.
For any further enquiries, please contact the City's Project Officer - Parks and Environment, Sarah Hill, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 6557 7110.
Thank you for greening our neighbourhood streets and helping us create more liveable neighbourhoods!