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 cost in 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. Now I see my neighbours out there mowing and edging and blowing and am pleased that I don’t have to do that any more. Pulling the odd weed is little work by comparison and the timing is more flexible.
- Plants – you can spend as much or as little as you want on plants. I buy tubestock from my local community nursery, use plants grown from cutting or seed, and swap with friends so the cost in very little.I’d recommend keeping it cheap and cheerful so you are not so bothered if plants get trodden on or disappear in the night.
Once set up, necessary maintenance is much less frequent and less relentless than mowing. It just means the occasional weeding or replacing a plant.
- Fuel & Equipment – As well as saving on fuel, once the verge was planted, my 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 disposed of the tools, I realised I could dispose of the shed needed to store them. The remaining slab provides a much more usable space.
- 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
- Less hostile environment for street trees
- Large step towards tackling the urban heat island effect
Can you think of any more?