It’s hard to assign monetary values to many of the savings and benefits but here are some suggestions that also show how to maximise the benefits and avoid pitfalls.
Costs and Savings for the householder
- Time – the greatest time is in setting up the garden. In some locations, you can reduce this by sheet-mulching over the existing grass. Mine wasn’t suitable so I spent several days spread across a month removing the grass by hand. (A side-benefit of this was the number of walkers who would come by, ask what I was planning, and comment on progress) Once done, a well-planned verge takes far less maintenance than grass.
- Plants – you can spend as much or as little as you choose on plants. Tubestock from your local native nursery, growing from cutting or seed, and swapping with friends can keep costs down. I recommend keeping it cheap and cheerful so you are not so bothered if plants get trodden on or disappear in the night.
Savings for the householder
- Time – Once set up, necessary maintenance is much less frequent and less relentless than mowing. Occasional weeding or replacing a plant.
- Fuel & Equipment – As well as saving on fuel, once the verge was planted, the remaining lawn was so small that a small electric mower was quite enough.
The internal lawn was edged with a spade, so the edger was obsolete. Leaves falling onto verge gardens can stay put, so no need for leaf blowers.
When I later eliminated grass from my garden as well, I disposed of the tools, and then disposed of the shed needed to store them. The remaining slab provides the base for my new potting area but could just as easily hold a gazebo, bbq or entertainment area.
Additional Benefits to the householder
- Slow gardening is gentle exercise in fresh air. Better than the gym.
- Being out on the verge means you get to know more people in the neighbourhood. The garden gives you an easy topic of conversation.
- Reseach consistently shows that street trees, leafy suburbs, etc increase property values.
- A nature strip with native plants for pollinators frees up room inside your garden for food growing plants.
- Reduction in pollution from fuel, weedkillers and fertilisers
- Reduction in storm water run off as water soaks in
- Increase in wildlife habitat – especially when areas connect
- Increase in diversity of native plant species
- Improvement in soil health
- Large step towards tackling the urban heat island effect
Can you think of any more? Are there any drawabacks?