The benefits of nature strip gardening (Part 1)
Is your nature strip underutilised? Could you turn it into a vegetable garden? Is it worth the effort to look after? Let's discover more ways to use our nature strips and take advantage of the beautiful diversity of nature!
A nature strip is council owned and controlled land between a constructed road and a parcel of private property. It is maintained by the residents, except street trees which are generally managed by the council. Can you create a garden on your nature strip? Yes, you can. As long as council regulations are followed. The ACG is creating nature strip gardens in Altona. When we do so, we follow council guidelines, safety guidelines, accessibility for pedestrians and visibility for car drivers. You can accesss Hobsons Bay Council Nature Strip Guidelines on their website.
Why turn lawn into a garden?
Benefit 1: Saving Water
Due to dry conditions in Australia it takes a lot of water to maintain lawn in good condition and it can easily get dry and yellow. Lawn requires two to three times more water than sustainable mixed gardens. Yet, there are varieties of beautiful plants that have lower water requirements. Well designed landscapes with layers of vegetation will definitely reduce water consumption.
Benefit 2: Enhance biodiversity and attract bees and butterflies
Traditionally most nature strips are a monoculture of turf, which means enormous amounts of herbicides and pesticides are used to get rid of other species. Moreover, lawn roots grow shallow which causes a poor variety of soil organisms, and results in soil with a poor condition. Planting a variety of plants creates multiple root systems and layers of vegetation that creates a microclimate, which attracts a diverse range of wildlife.
Benefit 3: Saving energy
Lawn maintenance consumes most of the energy used in most gardens. Much effort and energy is needed to maintain lawns, such as mowing, weeding, edging, fertilising and most of equipment is costly and requires maintenance. Selected plants that suit the environment will grow with less care and energy. Moreover, edible gardens produce low cost food for households and neighbors, and reduce the food wastage footprint.
Benefit 4: Enhancing social communication
When ACG creates a veggie garden on the nature strip, many people walk by and look at the garden. Some ask questions about the plants, soil, compost and more. Some ask to pick some herbs and veggies. Also our kids are happy to be involved with this activity. We believe that transforming nature strips into edible gardens will have a beneficial effect on social connections in Altona/ Hobsons Bay.
In conclusion it makes sense to think of different kinds of nature strips that are more suitable for our climate. They use less water and fertiliser as well as create more diverse habitats and help connect people.