How to create a thriving verge garden

Many of us have vacant verges or small pockets of garden that are ripe for turning into productive green space. Greening these areas can be an important part of lowering urban temperatures, creating eco-systems for local wildlife and beautifying our streetscapes.

The tricky part is working out what to plant and when to transform these spaces into eco-friendly entrances to your home. It doesn't have to be back-breaking work if you follow a few simple guidelines.

We asked our plant master Claire Greenhill her top five tips for greening urban spaces and we've shared them with you below. 

1. It's all in timing 

Preparing your garden beds and planting in autumn is the best way to ensure that your green space will continue to thrive well after rain stops falling. This way your plants (which will often be tube stock - babies!) will get the benefit of some moderately warm days which supports root growth as well as the benefit of Winter rain. 

If you can't get into action right away, planting in winter or spring is okay too. Just try to give your plants the longest possible time to establish themselves before they hit Perth summer.  Avoiding irrigation on our verges is the ultimate aim and more time makes this possible!

2. Preparing your space 

Weeds are a big consideration when preparing your verge. If you want a low care garden bed that you aren't constantly controlling you will need to prepare your verge properly.  Avoiding glyphosate is something we really believe in here at Stackwood and alternatives to this are removing all weed and grass material by hand, mulching up your verge (check with your local council about free mulch) and planting groundcovers and low shrubs densely to create a 'green mulch' as this will reduce the germination of weeds and grass. 

3. Check your soil

For low care verges, you will want to plant to your soil type. Most of Perth has sandy soils in which tough local coastal plants will thrive and this is what you will want to pick for your planting. If you are in the hills you may need to choose local plants that are happy in a heavier, clay-type soil. 

4. Check your local regulations

Check with your local council when considering your verge. There might be street trees available to you free of charge, mulch and other preparation assistance. They will also have their own regulations like maintaining clear site lines and planting low growing species. This is important so that reversing cars can see oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

5. Choose your planting palette 

Hardy, water-wise plants are optimal as generally, we don't want to be irrigating our verges - they should become fairly self-sufficient. Apace Nursery is based in North Fremantle and specialises in WA Natives for the Swan Coastal Plains. They have a great suburb finder where they list all the plants that are endemic to the area in Perth in which you live (the way that nature intended!)


Photos by Rae Fallon

March 09, 2020 — Jasmyn Woodford