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Council is developing a new draft Nature Strip Policy that aims to provide clear directions on how residents and businesses can safely garden on our nature strips.

As our population grows, so does the number of properties in our rural city.

Our aim is to ensure all residents have a safe place to live and play.

Many Victorian councils prepare Nature Strip Policies to ensure all municipalities provide a consistent service standard, in line with state regulations, relevant to their individual community needs.

Benalla Rural City Council’s Nature Strip Policy will cover issues for landowners highlighting who is responsible for maintaining a nature strip, checklist for planting requirements, how to select plants and a recommended species list, and any local law requirements around non-compliance.

The new guidelines aim to increase the safety and liveability of the rural city for community members of all ages and abilities.

The policy will apply to all urban areas within the Benalla Rural City. It will not apply to roads in rural areas, which are covered by the Roadside Management Plan.

Consultation with our wider rural city community is a vital part of the process – all feedback, suggestions and input is warmly welcomed.

What is a Nature Strip?

A nature strip is the term commonly used to refer to an area of land between the property boundary and the road kerb in an urban street. Generally this land is managed by the Council as part of the road reserve, but it is often maintained by the residents. The typical nature strip is grass, variant in widths and lengths and is the location of underground services such as gas, electricity, storm water, sewerage and telephone.

Current Council position

It should be noted, tree planting and maintenance is at the discretion of the Council. No private person or company has the authority to engage in works or alterations on the nature strip.

The list below outlines the pros and and cons for treatments that are currently authorised and unauthorised by Council.

Nature Strip Treatment - Pros and Cons (refer photos below)

Grass nature strip
  • Neat tidy appearance
  • Cooler surroundings
  • Unobstructed - vehicle and pedestrian access
  • Frequent maintenance required
  • Large corner blocks
Granitic sand dust
  • Low maintenance
  • Unobstructed - vehicle and pedestrian access
  • Weeds
  • Stark contrast
  • Greening and cooling the surrounds
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Medium maintenance
  • May require more watering
  • Slip and trip
  • Fruit and seed
  • Obstruction to vehicles and pedestrians if unkept
Mulch pine bark
  • Moisture retention
  • Low maintenance
  • Uneven surface
  • Can change soil chemistry
  • Requires refilling to a level surface
  • Washes into drains and waterways
Pebbles or stones
  • Lawn mower disperse at great speeds
  • Disperse to surrounding gutters, roadways and nature strips
  • Slip trip hazards, depressions and rises - uneven ground
Vegetables and fruit trees
  • Fruit fly infestation
  • Slip trip on fallen fruit
  • Cost to reinstate to grass
  • High maintenance
  • Weed seed dispersal
Synthetic turf
  • Cost to remove or reinstate
  • Slip trip hazard if unkept