Applying for a Nature Strip Planting Permit

The City of Stonnington is now giving residents the opportunity to create a garden on their property’s nature strip.

In urban areas with limited open space, planting on nature strips provides benefits to residents such as:

  • connecting with nature
  • supporting local biodiversity
  • adding colour to the street
  • replacing poorly performing grass
  • reducing maintenance of regular weeding and mowing.

Once approved for a permit, you will also receive a $25 voucher to an indigenous plant nursery to support you in starting your planting.

Applying for a permit is free and simple

Key information

Before applying for a permit, check for underground cables and pipelines for services such as gas, electricity, and telecommunications. These often run underneath nature strips.

Damage to underground services can lead to injury or death, as well as disruption to essential services. You may also be responsible for the cost of any repairs.

You must check the location of these services before beginning planning your nature strip garden.

To receive a free report on underground assets in the area, visit Before You Dig Australia.  

How to apply

Understand the policy

When you apply for a permit, you must comply with the Nature Strip Planting Policy(PDF, 569KB).

The policy affects what you can and can't do to your nature strip.

For guidance, including diagrams and illustrations, view or download our Nature Strip Planting Handbook(PDF, 4MB).

Location of your nature strip

Nature strips are usually grassed but can look very different depending on where you live. Unfortunately, not every nature strip is going to be suitable for planting.

Nature strips are suitable for planting if they:

  • are planted with grass or any other plants
  • are laid with synthetic turf
  • contain gravel, granitic sand, or mulch that can be carefully removed by hand-held tools.

Many other factors determine if a nature strip is suitable for planting. We will assess the suitability of your application against all relevant factors.

Nature strips are not suitable for planting if they are:

  • on arterial roads not managed by Council
  • in commercial precincts, such as Glenferrie Rd, Chapel St
  • concreted or on footpaths containing street trees in pits
  • on streets covered by our Narrow Streets Policy
  • on land maintained by City of Stonnington, contractors, or other government agencies
  • for any reason a high risk for planting or other modification.

For busier areas such as intersections, street corners, roundabouts, or laneways, only groundcovers and low-growing grasses below 50cm in height may be planted.

If you wish to plant on a nature strip in front of a business, you need written agreement from the property owner.  

Height and distances from footpath and kerbs

Gardens must minimise tripping hazards over footpaths and keep clear and visible sight lines for road users.

All plants in a nature strip garden must be maintained to a maximum height of 90cm.

Only groundcovers and low-growing grasses to a height of 50cm can be planted:

  • within 30cm of the street kerb and footpath
  • within a 2m sight distance of a driveway’s splay area (the triangular indent area on both sides of the driveway)
  • within 30cm of parking signage, power poles, or similar
  • within 10m of an intersection, street corner, roundabout, or similar.

Proximity to street trees

Street trees are planted and maintained by the City of Stonnington.

To protect the root systems of street trees:

  • plant only groundcovers or low-growing grasses to 50cm in height within 30cm of the tree trunk of established trees
  • don’t plant in mulched areas around newly planted trees.

If you want a tree planted on your nature strip, you can submit a tree planting request online.

Health and safety considerations

Nature strips are a high-use area on your street and a critical access point between the road and footpath. Keeping your nature strip safe reduces potential hazards and keeps our community safe.

You cannot modify your nature strip with anything other than plants.

Your garden cannot include:  

  • private infrastructure, such as private lighting, irrigation, water tanks
  • hard landscaping surfaces, such as pavers, bricks, fences
  • loose materials, such as fine gravel, granitic sand
  • garden features, such as planter boxes, retaining walls
  • synthetic turf.

To allow essential services to continue, you must:

  • leave space for bins
  • not cover utility pits with dirt, mulch, or other gardening materials.

When selecting plants, avoid dangerous, toxic, or invasive species. Do not plant your nature strip garden with:

Council, utility, and third-party works

From time to time, the City of Stonnington and other authorities must perform essential services, maintenance, and repairs in or around nature strips.

These crucial activities reduce health and safety risks, ensure the supply of critical services, and maintain our urban amenity.

During these works, accidental damage to nearby nature strip plantings may sometimes occur. If this happens, Council, contractors, and third parties are only required to reinstate the nature strip with grass. Council isn’t required to compensate the property owner for any damage due to Council or utility works.

Your maintenance responsibility

If you decide to plant a nature strip garden, it is your responsibility to care for it and keep it safe and accessible all year round.

Before applying for a permit, make sure you understand and can meet the maintenance requirements.

This includes:

  • maintaining the maximum heights and set back from the kerb, footpath and driveways
  • regular weeding and pruning
  • keeping the area free from litter and debris.

For guidelines on how to maintain your nature strip garden, view or download our Nature Strip Planting Handbook(PDF, 4MB).

If you have any questions about the policy, contact us at environment@stonnington.vic.gov.au.

Prepare your supporting documents

Have the job number and PDF summary report from Before You Dig Australia ready to upload.

You may also need to upload written support as evidence of planting permission from:

  • the property owner if you are renting
  • your owners corporation if you live in a property managed by one
  • the owner of the business adjacent to the nature strip.

The written statement of support must include:

  • that they agree to maintain or reinstate the nature strip if you move or can no longer care for it - for guidance check our Nature Strip Planting Handbook(PDF, 4MB)
  • their contact name and information
  • the owners corporation number if you are getting permission from one.

We also recommend telling your neighbours about your plans before you begin.

Apply online

To apply for a Nature Strip Planting Permit, fill out our application. We will review it to consider if your application is appropriate.

Apply now

Display your notice

If we assess that your nature strip is suitable for planting, we will send you a notice by mail to display outside your property.

This notice must be displayed for at least two weeks. During this time, we will consider any objections made.

If there are many objections to the nature strip modification, we may refuse your permit. We will let you know by email if this is the case. 

Get planting!

After the notice period, if there are no objections, you will receive your permit within 4 weeks via email. 


Once you receive your permit, you can start creating your nature strip garden.

Additional information

Existing gardens don't need to be removed. All nature strips need to be safe and maintain accessibility for road and footpath users.

If you already have a nature strip garden, keep up with your maintenance requirements. This includes ensuring the maximum heights of your nature strip plants are kept to 90cm, and removing any raised structures that may be a tripping hazard.

If existing nature strip gardens are unsafe or causing accessibility problems, we will work with you to address the issue. If the issues are not resolved, orders and penalties may apply under the General Local law 2018 (amendment).

If you have a Nature Strip Planting Permit and decide to sell your property, you must tell us. We will then contact the new owners to issue a new permit, if applicable.

If you are moving into a property with an existing nature strip garden, you can apply for the permit to be reissued in your name. This is a quicker process since there is already a record of a permit at that address.