Skip to main content
Now anyone can build a water smart verge garden

Now anyone can build a water smart verge garden

Any of us can initiate small actions to cool our house - use the verge and make the garden more beautiful

I am Gauri Marni and I am a leadership development consultant who uses an appreciative, strengths based approach to help leaders and their teams thrive. Of late, I have also become interested in sustainability and simple living, that led me to start A Wicked Scrub and more recently to create a street garden in North Wahroonga, Sydney, NSW, thanks to an environmental levy grant from the Ku-ring-gai Council. This fact sheet shows one way to create a water smart garden that also reduces temperatures around the home. 

What we did

The two owners and Michael Mobbs planned, dug, planted and built the garden in two days, with approval and preparation time taking over four months. The verge outside the house faces north.  It receives full sun from the east, north and west. Existing lawn areas of 80 sqm have been converted into a native garden that harvests and retains all rainwater. 

With 40 lineal metres of buried socked ag pipes around the perimeter of the garden rain water is held and put into the subsoil to irrigate the roots of the new plants in the garden. 

Australian native grasses and shrubs replaced the lawn and was designed and implemented by Michael Mobbs who specialises in low-cost, simple solutions to cool cities. The project was expertly supported by Lindy Williams, Environmental Volunteer Programs Coordinator and Jim Turner, Team Leader, Design & Projects of the Ku-ring-gai Council.

Construction and design costs of $2300 have made a high maintenance lawn into a welcoming space that is cooler than the area besides it and future monitoring will quantify the temperature reductions.  The garden will keep over an estimated 80,000 litres of water on the garden annually, and stop that much polluted water entering the downstream rivers and ocean. Food waste from the home will be redirected into in ground composting systems delivering much needed nutrients to the soil, boosting bio diversity.

What if, one of you, or 500 of you were to decide to do this?

Collectively, we would achieve

  • Savings of 40 million litres of water 
  • Micro-climates around our houses cooler by an estimated 1 to 4 degrees
  • Greater tree and plant height and canopy and more food and habitat diversity for bees, insects, birds
  • Less pollutants in our water ways
  • Redirection of food waste into nutrients for the soil reducing carbon emissions from its transport to recycling facilities or landfill
  • Healthier lives with lower heat-caused premature deaths, cleaner air
  • Connected neighbours – conversations and knowledge-sharing in our streets.

What is next?

We are going to publish the design and construction methods so others may copy it and local councils may save time and money for themselves and their communities by offering such designs as pre-approved solutions which, if chosen, will enable approval-free solutions. 

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Gauri Marni
Wicked Scrub

I will share it here Simone. Thursday, 27 February 2020

Simone N

Where will the design and construction methods be published? Thursday, 27 February 2020