16 October 2018

Ask RiotACT:What can I do about the nature strip outside my house?

| Richard Stanton
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Hi All, I’ve just joined so please be gentle with me!

I moved to Canberra a year or so ago into a house which has a garden that has basically had nothing done to it in two decades except killing the weeds and hiding the soil with mulch just prior to sale.

I have finally gotten round to trying to do a bit more and would like to do something about the nature strip owned by the Council. I have raked almost all the dead stuff out (filled the green bin six times and I’m still not done) and now I have an area about 20x10m with three gum trees growing in it and some scrappy grass.

I realise that the area isn’t really my problem but I want to make it look nice. Any thoughts? I’d love to plant a load of natives that don’t need much watering or fertilizing which will provide ground cover. I’m after suggestions.

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To directly quote Access Canberra https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1379/~/nature-strips
“It is accepted practice that maintenance such as mowing of grass on nature strips (residential or commercial) is carried out by the adjacent lessee (this includes single unit dwellings, body corporates, schools and ACT Housing properties).
Approval is not required to grow grass on your nature strip, however any further landscaping or development requires approval.
Parking on nature strips and footpaths is illegal.”

DeadlySchnauzer8:21 am 21 Oct 18

Welcome to Canberra, the place where nature strips are no fun. Legally all you are allowed to do on your nature strip is have a lawn. Frustrating, when we are meant to be mindful of water usage and lawn watering is one of the worst offenders.

Anything more than that *technically* requires formal planning and approval, see http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/city-living/public_land_use#landscape . This includes a heap of limitations like no plants higher than 0.5m, no watering systems allowed, etc etc. In *practice* I don’t think anyone follows these rules or goes through the formal application process. Basically it comes down to don’t do anything crazy that will make the neighbours complain.

And second rule is if you do something and a utility company comes along and rips it up to do work don’t whinge when they don’t put it back the way it was.

They are only expected to repair grass and any government tree they may damage.

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