Verge information

Verge-digging

The City of Swan works to ensure that verges are developed to provide a high level of amenity, accessibility and safety for pedestrians and motorists. This includes minimising the likelihood of damage, ongoing maintenance costs and the use of water and fertilisers. Find information about free street trees and mulch for your verge, parking on your verge, the most waterwise gardens and more.

The verge is the area between the edge of the road and the private property boundary. Verges are owned by the Crown (Government) and are vested to the City. Verges provide a buffer between the road and private property where essential services and public infrastructure may be located.

The verge width varies from property to property. The City’s online mapping tool can assist residents in locating their private property boundaries.

In addition to roundabouts, medians and streetscapes, the City will undertake a limited amount of maintenance to verges. This includes slashing of overgrown and unmaintained verges, as part of our residential verge mowing program, and carrying out the following sprays up to a maximum of three times a year:

  • Spraying of weeds with suitable chemicals, on unmaintained verges
  • Spraying of weeds in hardstand structures such as footpaths, kerbs and medians as part of our regular asset maintenance weed spraying program

For more information on weed spraying and Glyphosate use please see Weed Control in the City of Swan.   

The City does not maintain verges, except in very limited circumstances. For example, verges which are important public spaces (such as alongside parkland or along main streets) will be maintained by the City.

Verge treatments refer to the landscaping that takes place on the verge directly adjacent to a property.

What is allowed on my verge?

Council permission is not required for the following. 

  • retention of naturally occurring native vegetation
  • grass
  • gardens
  • ground covers
  • organic mulch

Prior to planting any shrubs, ground covers or trees on the verge, please refer to Section 8 and 9 of the City of Swan Landscape Guidelines for information regarding setbacks and plant height restrictions.

Permissible hardstand treatments

The use of hardstand treatments other than for paths and crossovers, is not normally encouraged within the City for safety, drainage and aesthetic reasons. For hardstand treatments to be considered on any portion of the verge, a written application with a detailed plan is to be submitted to the City. An application to alter verge form(PDF, 300KB) needs to be submitted either by filling out the attached form or online below. 

Permissible hardstand treatments include paving, synthetic turf and compact aggregate. 

There must be at least one opening in the hardstand treatments for the placement of a tree or garden bed per property frontage and two or three openings in side verges for corner lots, subject to width and length of verge. The opening must be a minimum of one metre by one metre. This is to allow for rainfall infiltration so that all the extra water collected by the paved area does not enter the road drainage system.

What isn't allowed on my verge?

  • Asphalt/bitumen
  • Concrete
  • Loose gravel/pebbles

All structures are to be installed within the private property boundary. No structures are to be placed on the verge. This includes:

  • Fences
  • Retaining walls
  • Letter boxes
  • Seats
  • Sheds

For more information about structures on the verge refer to Section 8 City of Swan Landscape Guidelines. To apply to alter your verge please complete the Application to Alter Verge online form.

Click here to view form.

Free shredded mulch

Residents can collect up to half a cubic metre of mulch from either the Bullsbrook Recycling Centre or the Recyclable Goods Drop Off Days, dependent on availability. This equates to a 6 x 4 trailer load. Free mulch is subject to availability and given out on a first in best dressed basis.

The amount of mulch the City has to distribute is dependent on the volume of green waste collected from residential verges or dropped off at the Bullsbrook Recycling Centre.

Free street trees

The City’s approval is required for all tree plantings on City land including those undertaken by developers, residents, community groups, City staff and/or by contractors on behalf of the City. Local native tree species that reflect the local character and conditions of the area are preferred.

It is possible to request that the City plant a tree at no cost. Available trees are listed in the Street Tree Selection Brochure(PDF, 2MB) and are subject to availability, supply and budget. The City’s program is designed to improve streetscapes by planting trees to provide shade, improve air quality and offer habitat and food for native animals. Planting is completed in winter, but requests may be placed at any time of the year by calling the City on 9267 9267. 

Requests are assessed by the City's Parks Supervisor and take into account available space, suitable species, existing themes, customer's requirements and soil conditions. The type of tree the City will supply is dependent on your location and surrounding tree types. This is to ensure that trees are chosen to reflect the local character and conditions and provide attractive streetscapes and public amenity. Should requests exceed the available budget, customers will be wait-listed for the following year.

For the best chance of survival, residents are encouraged to water the verge tree until it becomes established, normally for the first two summers.

If you live in a new area you may be entitled to have a street tree planted by your developer as part of your home and land package. In these instances please contact your developer prior to asking the City.

Find out more about street trees online.

Waterwise gardens

Verge makeovers usually include the removal of grass, weeds or a hard surface on your verge and replacing it with a waterwise native plant garden.

Waterwise verges use less water and fertiliser than traditional lawn verges. They save you money and have improved environmental values. Converting verge lawns to waterwise gardens is estimated to save around 20,000 to 40,000 litres of water per year per lawn.

Prior to starting work please contact Dial before You Dig on Dial 1100 or go on line to www.dialbeforeyoudig.com.au to ensure you don’t do any damage to underground services.

The Water Corporation brochure ‘Your guide to a waterwise garden’ provides useful information prior to planting.  

When planting out any verge, it’s important to consider line of sight. You don't want to block the view for people driving in and out of their driveways. It is recommended all the plants used are waterwise and will grow to a maximum of 50 centimetres high. For information on waterwise plants, follow the link to the Waterwise plant search on the Water Corporation’s website. 

An introductory guide to converting your lawn in a cost effective way can be found on the Waterwise Verge Makeover page on the Beyond Gardens website.

Fertiliser Usage

Home lawns and gardens are a major source of nutrients entering wetlands, creeks and the Swan River. Excess fertiliser used on home lawns and gardens will eventually find its way into local wetlands and the Swan River, via the drainage system or through the soil into the groundwater table.

Excessive nutrients in wetland and river systems lead to algal blooms, which may result in the death of plants and animals which live in the waterways.

You can help improve the health of our waterways by reducing your usage of fertiliser by following the advice in these pamphlets.

For more fertiliser wise advice, please visit Fertilise Wise. 

Edible gardens

Any verge treatment that seeks to improve the amenity of an area is encouraged in the City. Vegetable or fruit gardens, often referred to as edible gardens, are permissible, but are subject to approval by the City. Applications can be sent in using the application to alter verge form(PDF, 300KB) either by filling out the attached form or using the online form which follows. 

There are a few things to consider if you are thinking of planting the verge area with edible fruits and vegetables.

  • The garden will need to be maintained by the resident, with no rotting fruit or vegetables, for health reasons.
  • By placing the garden on the verge you do not have sole access. Anyone can legally pick the fruit and vegetables (including people not residing in the street).
  • There may not be any structures on the verge (including wooden boxes, walls, fences).
  • Trees must be 1.8 metres from the road.
  • No shrubs are allowed within 500mm of the road.
  • If the garden becomes neglected or the City receives complaints about rotting fruit, the City reserves the right to remove it.

Click here to view form.

In order to legally stop or park a vehicle on a verge, consent must first be provided by the adjacent property owner or occupier. There are, however, various locations throughout the City where verge parking is prohibited by signs and it is an offence to stop or park a vehicle on these verges at all times.

Stopping or parking a vehicle on a verge where no signage is in place is prohibited unless:

  1. Consent has first been provided by the adjacent property owner or occupier (e.g. the vehicle belongs to the owner/occupier or one of their guests), or
  2. The vehicle is a commercial vehicle that is actively in the process of being loaded or unloaded with goods or materials for the adjacent property.

At all times it is not permissible to cause an obstruction to a footpath or carriageway. Footpaths are for the safe passage of pedestrians and are commonly shared with wheelchair users and parents with prams.

Larger vehicles (e.g. buses, boats, trailers, caravans, etc.), whether attached or unattached to a vehicle, are prohibited from stopping or parking on a verge at any time. Additionally, vehicles may not be advertised for sale within a road reserve and this includes both verges and median strips.

Failure to abide by any of the above may result in an infringement notice being issued, so if you are in any doubt whatsoever, please contact the City’s Community Safety Business Unit on 9267 9267 or email swan@swan.wa.gov.au for advice or guidance.

For full details and regulation please refer to the relating Local Law 8.18 Parking and Stopping on a Verge.

Preventing people from parking on your verge

If you wish to stop people parking on your verge there are two approaches. 

  • Contact the City on 9267 9267 when someone parks on your verge without your permission, to request enforcement action and a City Officer will attend as soon as possible.
  • Landscape your verge in line with approved verge treatments as listed in the verge treatments section, or in the improving your verge garden section. No structures, such as rocks or bollards, are to be placed out to deter parking.

Where possible, large temporary structures such as skip bins or shipping containers should be placed on private property. Placing any structure on the verge is governed by the Local Government (Uniform Local Provisions) Regulations 1996 and requires approval from the City. An Application for Temporary Structures(DOCX, 50KB) on the verge can be filled out.

The City will only approve temporary structures on the verge where it is determined safe to do so and will limit the use of the verge to a maximum of five days.