Gardens and artificial turf on footpaths

We encourage tree planting and beautification of our nature strip but we need to make sure that gardens are safe. This guide will help you meet our standards if you plan to install gardens, plants, or artificial turf on a footpath or verge outside your property.

Do I need permission?

Before you undertake works in on a footpath or verge area, you need to apply for permission. The footpath or verge area is the land between the property boundary and road kerb. The area accommodates above and underground services such as water, sewerage, phone, gas and lighting. 

How to apply

  1. Plan your garden
  2. Investigate underground infrastructure and services
  3. Check you meet our footpath garden guidelines
  4. Apply online or download and complete the appropriate form:

Please note that gardens on footpath applications are self-assessable.

Plan your garden

We recommend you plan your garden, and consider all surrounding infrastructure including:

  • power poles
  • driveways
  • inspection plates
  • Telstra pits
  • water pits.

You will need to submit your plan with your application if your garden:

  • does not meet Council's requirements
  • uses plants that are not on the approved plant list.

Investigate underground infrastructure and services

It is important that your garden does not affect:

  • water or stormwater systems
  • utility or service infrastructure
  • the ability to access infrastructure for maintenance and servicing.

To make sure of this, complete a Before You Dig search at and submit proof of this with your footpath garden application.

Footpath garden guidelines

Footpath gardens and landscaping must meet the following guidelines.

Verge size and pedestrian space

You can only install gardens on a verge greater than 3 metres wide.

The landscaped area must not:

  • restrict pedestrian movements along a concrete pathway or footpath or footpath area (at least 1.2m clear width)
  • obstruct visibility from cars.

Garden size

The maximum width of your garden must be the lesser of either:

  • 1800 millimetres from the property boundary
  • the distance calculated as one third of the total width of the verge, measured from the property boundary.

Trees, plants and structures

Your may use any of our approved plants for gardens on footpaths in your garden.

You must not include:

  • poisonous, thorny or spiky plants
  • permanent structures or footings
  • loose stones or pebbles
  • sprinklers.

Our Parks branch handles tree-planting on footpaths. To include a tree in your garden contact us on 07 3412 5338.

Artificial turf

If you wish to use artificial turf in your landscaping, you need to make sure:

  • it does not extend beyond the frontage of adjoining properties
  • it does not hamper the operations or maintenance activities of utilities or services
  • it will not impact existing trees or root systems
  • you lay it on a compacted base of 100 millimetres crusher dust or approved material
  • you secure the edges of the artificial turf to a hard edge which is level with the finished surface level
  • it does not interfere with footpaths or infrastructure like street furniture and signs
  • water can drain freely through the artificial turf fabric and base material
  • there are no changes or obstructions to stormwater drainage flow across the verge.

Maintenance and responsibilities

Who is responsible for utilities damaged while completing a footpath garden?

The property owner and/or occupier (resident) are responsible and will need to pay for any repairs to damaged infrastructure.

Who should maintain the footpath garden (verge) area?

The property owner and/or occupier (resident) of a property that adjoins a footpath garden must maintain it. This includes installing and maintaining artificial turf.

I bought a property with a garden on the footpath, am I responsible?

As a property owner, you are responsible for your footpath garden. You must make sure it complies with Council's current guidelines. If you choose to remove the garden you may return the verge to a grassed area consistent with the surrounding area.

Maintaining underground services

From time to time, we (or other service providers) may need to maintain infrastructure on or underneath the footpath or verge area. In the case of emergency works, it may not be possible to notify the owner or resident. In these situations, we cannot guarantee that we will replace an affected garden, other than with grass.

Council discretion

We may ask you to remove any footpath garden that:

  • is not constructed or maintained to our satisfaction
  • Is the subject of a reasonable objection raised by a public utility provider or other party.

If you receive a notice to remove offending landscaping you should replace it with a standard treatment, generally turf. Failure to comply will see us make good the road verge at your expense.

Failure to take action within 28 days will result in a compliance notice. Should there be further non-compliance, we may issue a penalty notice.

Find out more

To find out more about gardens and artificial turf on footpaths, see: