The advantage of local plants (or not so local/native) over turf are may, they include
- Soils under a monoculture lawn are often lifeless, soils under a mulched garden are full with life and sequester carbon from the atmosphere
- mulch holds 1/3 of its depth in water so reduces run off, plants hold the mulch together to prevent erosion
- a well designed verge and front garden can add value to your home
- Verge gardens are not instant, you will need to wait 2-3 years for them to look their best
- If you don't give them a hair cut every year they will get messy - but you cut your lawn every 6-8 weeks right.
- It may look out of place on your street - some may think of this as an advantage
- May be more expensive to start with if you pay for a contractor to do the work
- Some plants will die, replace them with one of the plants that is doing well
- If it gets partially dug up for road or service maintenance it won't pop back as quick as lawn.
I do not know of a Western Australian shire that don't allow them, although some developers may have an issue so check your covenants. Your shire will have regulations however and these can be found on their website or call the parks and gardens department. Most of the regulations are same and are mostly common sense. Some common regulations (please check your shire) in no particular order are
- No rocks, or other large/hard objects
- Maintain vegetation below a certain level - 50-75cm
- No trees - street trees are the responsibility of the shire, if you want one request one, don't plant it yourself. They will often have a list you can chose from depending on what is in your area, they wont give the choice by default you need to ask.
- If there is no footpath you must leave a path for people to walk though, some shires allow 1/3 of the verge to be paved. I have left a space to put my bins out and some where to put rubbish for hard/green waste collections.
- It needs to look neat and tidy - if you pick the right plants this is easily achieved with 2 gardening days a year as opposed to mowing every 6 weeks.
- No changes in ground level - there are some exceptions to this rule in very steep areas.
- No thorny or poisonous plants
- No ponds
- leave clear access to services and don't plant anything you will get upset about if they dig half your verge up. The verge is not the place for that endangered plant that cost you $50.
You will need to submit a plan and plant list to the shire before you start, often it has no fee and is fairly straight forward, they just want to check you are following the guidelines. Check your shires website of details.
Now you know the whys and do nots, you can start to plan your on lawn or half and half verge. A landscape designer such as myself can help with plans or plant lists.