Within recent days, Brisbane City Council has released a revised policy on planting embellishments within verges. It permits local residents within “Residential Zones” (under BCC City Plan 2014) to add instant street appeal to their frontage by allowing understorey planting (shrubs and groundcovers) within the footpath without having to seek confusing council approvals. The primary considerations of this policy include:
- Planting must allow a 1.2 metre wide minimum clearance area for pedestrian movement across the frontage;
- Organic materials are permitted, however items such as gravels, stones irrigation and timber planter boxes are not;
- Planting species should be selected from council’s preferred planting lists and consider visibility of motorists along road and driveways;
- Planting should be adequately setback from services as required;
- Existing service locations should also be considered prior to works commencing (we suggest contacting ‘Dial Before You Dig‘);
- Council does note the resident is responsible for the works, ongoing maintenance as required and for ultimate garden removal if needed.
This policy could also assist developers in site marketing – allowing much greater opportunity for premium landscaping around entry walls and verges. Increasingly, the streetscape is becoming the primary marketing tool on subdivisions, especially those without open space/ parkland requirements or pockets of retained vegetation. Both large and small-scale developments can benefit by simply utilising some cheap, understorey planting to freshen the streetscape and create a distinct marketing edge within an competitive market.
It is also worth noting that developers should be considerate once settlements and maintenance periods have been finalized in regards to any additional plantings installed to verges. New landowners should be consulted to confirm if they are agreeable to continue maintenance on existing streetscape plantings. Should owners not desire the responsibility, the option of removing planting embellishments and reinstating turf can be explored with council.
For more information or assistance in developing streetscape plans for your development, please do not hesitate to contact Saunders Havill Group.