Nature strips are the piece of land situated between the edge of a road and a property boundary in an urban area.
This land is part of the Council road reserve, and is generally maintained by the adjoining landholder, such as residents.
Acceptable treatments to nature strips within Mitchell Shire consist of grass and Council provided and maintained street trees.
Council and residents need to work together to ensure nature strips are maintained. By maintaining your nature strip well, you will improve the livability and appeal of your property and neighbourhood, and increase property value.
Why are nature strips important?
Nature strips are:
- Locations for services such as telephone, gas, water and sewerage, as well as power (above ground poles, or below ground)
- Access for postal and service maintenance staff
- They play a significant role in the appearance and presentation of streetscapes
- They provide opportunities for increasing biodiversity
- They increase street appeal through the softening of the urbanised environment
- Open lines of sight for vehicle traffic, cyclists and pedestrians
Parking on nature strips, the law and the environment
Section 197 of the Road Safety Road Rules 2017 in part state: Stopping on a path, dividing strip, nature strip, painted island or traffic island:
A driver must not stop on a bicycle path, footpath, shared path or dividing strip, or a nature strip adjacent to a length of road in a built-up area, unless:
- the driver stops at a place on a length of road, or in an area, to which a parking control sign applies and the driver is permitted to stop at that place under these Rules; or
- the driver's vehicle is a motor cycle and the driver stops in a place where the motor cycle does not inconvenience, obstruct, hinder or prevent the free passage of any pedestrian or other vehicle
Parking on a nature strip can cause a number of environmental impacts including:
- Damage to trees and tree roots
- Compaction of soil resulting in increased water run-off
- Creation of mud and dust which can wash into stormwater drain
Nature strip maintenance
Council does not carry out maintenance (including mowing and watering) of nature strips.
It is a common, accepted practice throughout Australia that residents maintain the nature strip.
Generally, this means weeding, mowing and edging turf.
Nature strip FAQs
Council provides a lot of services to our community, funded by your rates. If Council were to maintain nature strips, other services may not be delivered.
Council relies on the good will and established community expectation that the residents of the adjacent properties will mow and/or otherwise maintain the nature strip in order to present a neat and tidy street frontage.
Nature Strips provide the opportunity for the development of good streetscape character and for the growth of street trees.
Council's Authorised Officers are responsible for the enforcement of legislation in regards to parking on nature strips.
Officers work on a complaints basis when managing and enforcing parking on nature strips.
Council follow a process when dealing with these complaints. It is unlikely a fine will be issued in the first instance, however if the parking is deemed unsafe then a fine may be issued.
Unless another Road Safety Road Rule applies, the process generally involves:
- Ask: a letter drop is conducted with the properties involved
- Tell: after the letter box drop has been conducted, any vehicle detected parking on a nature strip will receive an official warning
- Enforce: if it has been detected that the vehicle driver has received a written warning an infringement will then be issued
Council is responsible for the planting, maintenance and removal of all street trees.
The following are not permitted on nature strips:
- Synthetic turf
- Hard surfaces such as concrete, pavers, asphalt or stepping stones
- Irrigation systems
- Mulch material, stone, woodchips, and crushed rock
- Rocks, bluestone pitchers, railway sleepers or retaining walls
- Letterboxes must be on private property and suitable access to Australia Post delivery drivers must be maintained
- Temporary or permanent electrical wiring (e.g. lighting of trees)
Depositing lawn clippings on nature strips is prohibited. This includes placement around street trees.
Build-up of lawn clippings around trees promotes fungal decay and odours.
If you plan to do anything to the nature strip on top of the general maintenance, you will need Council permission and you will need to complete the Road Reserve Consent application form.
Any changes to a nature strip which are deemed to be a risk to the public such as a tripping, falling or another hazard, will be removed without consultation or warning.
This page was last updated on 5 May 2022.