We were happy when the landscapers said the entire job of landscaping the front, sides and back of the house should take about 7 working days based on 2 men on site.
They came over as promised on a Saturday and started on the front of the house first. With their Bobcat, clearing the nature strip of weeds and levelling it took just minutes! If left to our own devices, it would have taken us hours to manually clear the same area using shovels and lots of choice expletives.
We chose to have compacted Tuscan Topping installed for the nature strip as a low maintenance surface. As you may be aware, the nature strip land belongs to your local Council. Concreting of nature strips is not allowed as the various service authorities (for gas, water electricity) may need to dig up the nature strips to work on their underground infrastructure from time to time.
The landscapers marked out the perimeter of the nature strip with timber strips. They then removed about 10 cm or so of the top soil and applied a layer of crushed rock. They used a portable compactor to compress the moistened crushed rock into one tough layer.
The Tuscan Topping materials were finally applied, moistened with water from the garden hose and then compacted. All in all, the end result was what we envisioned. In our naive minds, we imagined that the compacted surface could not possibly support any vegetation such as weeds. Boy, were we wrong! The phrase “life will find a way” from Jurassic Park the movie came back to haunt us just weeks later. Broadleaf weeds started multiplying on the parched Tuscan surface, much to our chagrin and surprise. Out came the weed spray in a hurry!
Some important nature strip matters to keep in mind are:
1) Always check with your local Council what the approved surfaces are for nature strips. Hefty fines may apply if you installed the wrong surfaces.
2) Owners are to maintain the nature strips of their properties even though they technically do not own those pieces of land.
3) Nature strips are not for parking cars (resist the urge!). Council officers will fine vehicle owners flouting this rule.
See Part 3 for the continuing landscaping adventure!
Suggested further readings
The links below are from different Councils offering further information on nature strips for residential homes. Always check with your own local Council as rules may be different across Councils!