Have your say on the draft Nature Strip Planting Policy

Council has developed a draft Nature Strip Planting Policy, along with a Nature Strip Handbook, to support residents to understand what they can and cannot do when making modifications to a nature strip.

We’re seeking your feedback on the draft policy to ensure that we’ve provided all the information we need to in a way that meets your needs.

Consultation is now closed. Thanks to everyone who had their say.



A nature strip is the area of land between the boundary of a private property and the kerb, excluding any paved footpath area. Nature strips in Stonnington are usually grass, but might contain other plants or surfaces.

Only nature strips that are already planted, or have existing synthetic turf or granitic sand, mulch, or gravel (that can be carefully removed) will be eligible under the draft policy.

Nature strips are land that is owned by Council but must be maintained by residents under the General Local Law 2018.

To date, we have not had a clear position on what it will and won’t allow in terms of nature strip modification or a formal process which residents can follow to get permission to make changes. We know this has been frustrating for residents.

Having a policy in place, with supporting permit pathways and a community handbook, will help residents to understand what they can and can’t do, how to make changes safely and have a clear pathway for getting permission from us.

The policy doesn’t include specific rules on what species or types of plants you should plant, however we recommend:

  • indigenous and Australian native plants to support biodiversity
  • native and exotic drought tolerant plants to minimise water consumption during the summer
  • flowering native and exotic plants to attract bees, butterflies, and other local pollinators
  • tufted grasses and ground covers for a low-maintenance nature strip garden.
  • You will not be allowed to plant edible plants such as herbs, vegetables, or fruit. This is because the soil in inner-metropolitan Melbourne can be contaminated, and eating food grown directly in the ground can be a risk to your health.
  • You will not be able to plant anything that is sharp, thorny, prickly, poisonous, toxic, or can otherwise cause irritation. This is to keep you and the rest of the community safe.
  • You will not be allowed to plant any invasive species or weeds. There is legislation in place already that bans these plants, in order to protect local ecosystems.
You are also not allowed to plant your own tree. If you’d like a tree on your nature strip, you can get in touch with us to request one.

The following modifications will not be approved by Council under the draft policy, but may be considered on a case-by-case basis, such as:

  • lighting, irrigation, water tanks
  • retaining walls
  • synthetic turf
  • planter boxes
  • hard landscaping surfaces such as pavers, bricks, fencing, etc.
  • gravel, granitic sand.
The above changes will not be allowed under permits granted automatically via the online self-assessment tool and will need to be discussed with us. We

can then make an informed decision for the site and may say no to changes that include the above.

Plants that grow higher than 90cm can obstruct sight lines and visibility, and so are a safety hazard for road and footpath users.

To make sure assets are accessible for maintenance, and to support visibility and safety, we will only allow groundcovers or low-growing grasses to be planted within 0.3m of kerbs and footpaths, and street trees and power poles and within 10m of an intersection.

Nature strips also often have essential services and assets underneath them, such as telecommunications, gas, water, sewerage, drainage and electricity infrastructure. Any excavation (digging) has the potential to damage this infrastructure leading to service interruptions, costly repairs, or even injury or death if proper precautions aren’t taken.

Before You Dig Australia is a free pre-excavation service that will provide you with plans showing the location of any services or assets underneath your nature strip.

Contacting Before You Dig Australia and properly considering the results will be a requirement of the policy and permit conditions, and must be done before any planting takes place.

Yes, under Council’s General Local Law 2018, residents will have to get a permit in order to make any changes to their nature strip. Having a permit will ensure that changes to nature strips comply with the policy conditions, are safe, and maintain accessibility. The permit application process will also provide a way for residents to show that they have:

  • understood and agreed to what Council will and won’t allow
  • completed the required neighbourhood consultation process
  • completed a Dial Before You Dig Australia check and properly considered the results
  • understood how to proceed safely with any changes
  • understood and agreed to the maintenance requirements.

Once the draft Nature Strip Planting Policy has been formally adopted by Council following this community consultation, you will be able to apply for a permit online. We are developing a user-friendly self-assessment tool to allow residents to effectively get a permit automatically by filling out a simple survey.

Residents whose plans for their nature strip align with the policy conditions will be granted a conditional approval via the self-assessment tool, and will be provided with a notice to display outside their property for four weeks. Additionally, residents will be required to provide evidence that they have support from at least two neighbours on either side of their property. Once the notice period is over and evidence of support is provided, a formal permit will be issued.

Residents whose plans for their nature strip include ideas outside of what is allowed by the policy will need to contact us to discuss their application. Officers will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis and will then issue a permit with site-specific conditions.

No, there will be no fees associated with the permit.

All existing nature strips that have already been planted out or modified will be grandfathered under the policy. This means that you can keep the changes you’ve made, and that you don’t need to apply for a permit.

However, if your nature strip is not safe or causes problems for accessibility, we may still get in touch with you and ask you to address the issue. If the issues aren’t fixed, we can issue orders to comply or penalties under our General Local Law 2018.

The terms of the permit will state that all nature strips must be returned to a lawned state on the sale of a property at the request of the new property owners.

In cases where the buyer of the property wishes to retain the planted nature strip, relevant parties will be able to work with us to arrange to transfer the permit to the new occupant of the property.

As part of the online application process, we will provide residents with a notice to display outside their property. The notice will include information to neighbours on the planned changes to the nature strip and provide details on how to get in touch with us to share any feedback or concerns. We will then consider any feedback on a case-by-case basis before issuing the permit.

If you live in an apartment or other multi-unit development where you share your nature strip with others, you will need to provide evidence of approval from your owners corporation as part of your permit application.

If you do not own your property, you will need to provide evidence of approval from your landlord or property manager as part of your permit application.

You will only be able to apply for a permit for the nature strip directly outside of the property you live in.

If you’re interested in another site or don’t have a nature strip outside your property, you can collaborate with the residents closest to that location.

Nature strips are often home to Council assets such as signs, poles, street trees, and more. Council workers or contractors may need to access these assets for maintenance, upgrades, or other changes.

Nature strips also often have essential services and assets underneath them, such as telecommunications, gas, water, sewerage, drainage and electricity infrastructure. From time to time, utility companies require access to their infrastructure for upgrades or repairs.

If any damage occurs to a nature strip as a result of these works, the City of Stonnington and other third parties are not required to reinstate the nature strip with anything other than grass. Any replacement of plants or other modifications will be at the expense of the resident.


Privacy statement

The personal information requested in this survey is being collected by Council for the purpose of community consultation.

To find out how your personal information will be used by Council please visit the privacy policy page.

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