Verges and Street Trees
Find out about verges and street trees; including our verge herbicide program, the 2018 free verge plant program, the street tree program and how to 'keep it local' with local plant species.
Verge Policy and Guidelines
The policy applies to anyone in areas zoned R5 and above (i.e. property size 2000sqm or less) who is considering the creation of a new verge or a modification to the road verge that abuts their property.
The policy and guidelines are not retrospective and existing verge treatments can remain, even if they are contrary to the policy.
To find out more on what is and is not permitted for new verge creation see the list of FAQs below.
What is a street verge?
The verge is the area between the edge of the road and the private property boundary. Verges are owned by the Crown, but vested in (managed by) the Shire. Street verges provide a buffer between the road and the private property where public facilities such as footpaths, bus stops and parking bays may be placed, and accommodate essential services such as power, water and communications. Street verges also provide space for street trees, gardens and lawns, which reduce the effects of dust and pollution, stormwater runoff and heat storage associated with hard surfaces.
Why do we need a verge policy and guidelines?
Street verges are public land and important for the installation of necessary services such as drainage, power and communications. It is important to have rules to manage safety, access and appearance. At the same time, an attractive street verge greatly enhances the appearance of the adjoining property and provides many benefits to residents.
The verge policy and guidelines outline what can be done to modify or improve the verge area so that it contributes to the locality and is compatible with the streetscape, is accessible and safe, does not interfere with or compromise existing infrastructure, and protects and increases the number of street trees. The Shire specifies materials which are acceptable and unacceptable as verge treatments.
Who does the policy apply to?
This policy applies to anyone in areas zoned R5 and above (i.e. property size 2,000 m2 or less) who is considering the creation of a new verge or a modification to the road verge that abuts their property, where the road verge is vested under the management, care and control of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
In commercial or industrial areas, verge management is to be covered in the Development Application.
Rural, semi-rural and rural residential areas will be covered by a separate policy, which will be developed.
Who is responsible for the street verge?
The maintenance of the verge treatments (such as gardens, lawn, reticulation and paving) is the responsibility of the resident of the property adjoining the verge. Residents are also responsible for the design and establishment of new verge treatments, and for watering street trees if required. This is accepted practice throughout Australia.
The Shire is responsible for the planting and maintenance of all street trees, and the maintenance of any drainage infrastructure.
Why should I maintain the verge when it belongs to the Shire?
It is the accepted practice throughout Australia for property owners to establish and maintain the verge adjoining their property.
What can I do on my verge?
The planting or installation of approved street trees, garden plants, organic mulch, lawn, edible gardens and reticulation is allowed without prior approval. Street trees are generally supplied and installed by the Shire or developer, but additional trees can be planted if of an approved type. Hardstand (paving) in addition to the crossover (which requires a separate application to the Shire) does not require approval, as long as it is within the permitted maximum amount and is of an acceptable material (such as heavy duty paving, open gap brick paving, or porous pavers).
The establishment of a low growing water-wise garden is encouraged by the Shire, especially if local native species are used.
What is not allowed on my verge?
Verge treatments that are not permitted include:
- Retaining walls or other obstructions such as rocks, posts or raised garden beds
- Artificial turf
- In-situ concrete or any asphalt material (approved crossovers and footpath excluded)
- Compacted materials, such as limestone, gravel or blue metal fines
- Loose materials such as gravel, blue metal, sawdust, crumbed rubber or crushed bricks
Private infrastructure such as letter boxes, water meters, and electrical wiring
Why are these treatments not allowed on my verge?
Vegetated verges help reduce the effects of dust and pollution, storm water runoff and heat storage associated with hard surfaces. Presenting an attractive frontage that encourages recreation, exercise and neighbourhood interaction can assist in making our community a more vibrant, environmentally sustainable and safer. Street trees are also known to increase property values
Doesn’t artificial turf and other banned verge materials save on watering?
These materials increase the surface storm water runoff and contaminates the environment. These materials also contribute to increase the urban heat island effect.
Did you consult the community on this change?
The draft Verge Policy was advertised for public comment for a sx week period that closed on 24 June 2019. No comments were received.
I already have a verge treatment that is now not allowed
The permissible verge treatments (Urban) policy and guidelines are not retrospective.
Existing verge treatments can remain, even if they are contrary to the policy. The policy and guidelines will only apply to new verge treatments and the alteration of existing treatments.
What happens if I install a verge treatment that is not allowed?
Non-compliance with the verge policy and guidelines could result in enforcement action in accordance with the provisions of the Public Places and Local Government Property Local Law 2019.
Initially, a request will be made in writing to remove the non-permissible treatment. If this does not occur, the Shire may take action to remove the treatment and recover its costs from the resident. In extreme cases, prosecution may result in a fine.
If the verge treatment is of a type that may be considered under the provisions for variation of the policy, then a retrospective application may be made for a variation to the verge policy.
I want a verge treatment that isn’t mentioned in the policy or guidelines
Approval for a verge treatment that isn’t mentioned in the policy or guidelines may be applied for by providing to the Shire:
- A Verge Treatment Variation – Urban Application form (to be found in the Guidelines); or a letter explaining the proposed verge treatment, address and contact details
- A diagram showing the verge plan, location and size of the proposed treatment; and
- Take note of existing trees and their location, in relation to the proposed treatment.
A variation to the policy will be assessed against the objectives of the policy where adequate justification is provided and the intent of the policy is deemed to have been met.
I want more paving than is allowed
Approval for excess paving may be applied for by following the procedure above for verge treatment variations.
Verge Herbicide and Planting Program
Environmental Services Team
Phone Work 9526 1111
There are many economic, environmental and social benefits to tree canopy cover. Trees are an important natural asset that provide shade, reduce air temperature and control stormwater flow. They also offer economic value by helping reduce energy costs and increasing property values. Studies have also shown green space to have a positive impact on mental health.
Trees are especially effective for cooling neighbourhoods and improving comfort during warm, sunny weather through evaporation and shade. Research has shown that, in hot weather, it can be up to six degrees cooler under a densely shading tree. Shade is critical for improved human thermal comfort.
Trees and plants improve people’s sense of wellbeing. The Shire’s Street Tree Program provides a number of benefits. These include, but are not limited to:
• Trees increase biodiversity
• Trees act as wind breaks
• Plants improve air quality
• Plants reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• Trees contribute to the character of our Shire
• Plants combat urban heat where temperatures build up due to lack of vegetation
• Trees increase property values
• Plants provide cooler liveable residential areas
• Trees reduce energy demands, particularly in summer due to shade
If you would like a free street tree, please email the Shire at Click here to email or call on 9526 1111. We will need to know your name, contact number and address so that Shire staff can contact you to discuss available tree types and location.
Free Verge Plant Program
The Free Verge Plant Program operates in partnership between Landcare SJ, the Roadside Care Volunteers, and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
The application process has been streamlined to encourage all landholders in the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale to apply. Residents can receive plants up to four times (conditions apply).
The Free Verge Plant Program is now open for the last round of applications closing September 30.
This is the last opportunity for 2019 to obtain free verge plants under the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale and Landcare SJ program.
Application forms and are available at www.landcaresj.com.au.
A voucher will be issued and must be redeemed by the expiration date at Australian Native Nurseries, 141 King Road, OAKFORD.
Nursery staff can assist landholders to choose appropriate native seedlings according to verge conditions, including soil type, weed burden and whether powerlines are present.
Additional native seedlings are available for purchase for residents to use in their front gardens in addition to their free verge plants. This encourages the presence of native species to increase connectivity for native birds and fauna.
The seedlings provided in this program are valued at $5 each, with the cost covered by the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.
Seedlings are limited, get in quick!
Keeping It Local
We encourage the use of plants native to the Swan Coastal Plain wherever possible. These plants are hardy, waterwise, and in some instances even fire-resistant.