Making a property and a suburb more beautiful begins at the kerb. This is the narrow space between boundary wall and street, also sometimes called a verge.
This strip of land is usually owned by the municipality but falls to the homeowner to maintain. However, in private estates or sectional ownership complexes kerbs are normally maintained by the body corporate. So the first step in caring for your verge is to sort out what local rules allow, and if you are allowed to make any changes to the existing planting plan.
Kerb appeal can increase property values for the whole neighbourhood. Kerbside spaces are often heavily trafficked, making them tough to cultivate. The ground is hard-packed, and plants can be crushed underfoot. Rocks might add character to the landscape but will dent car doors if placed too near the kerb. Tall, dense foliage can be a traffic hazard, preventing passing motorists from seeing pets and children.
Here are some tips for creating a well-tended kerb garden:
Be aware of sight lines, especially at intersections. Drivers may have trouble turning if something tall is in the way. Go with perennials rather than annuals, then the soil is only worked once and it’s more secure. Succulents and hardy indigenous plants are an excellent choice. Shrubs should be kept low, no more than 50cm in height. Tree planting is the municipality’s job: people sometimes make bad choices, planting trees like Coral or Plane Trees which are difficult to maintain and push up sidewalks.
Be cautious about displaying yard art, as you don’t want to distract drivers and attract metal thieves! It’s probably better if you put those kinds of things inside your property.
Text & photos: Esther