Communities for nature

Work with your neighbours and local council to green your neighbourhood. Connect habitat in your gardens, plant more trees in your streets, or set up a community garden.

Sydney is becoming more urbanised. Greening the city and its suburbs and promoting biodiversity are important to creating a sustainable city for the future.

Greener streets with more trees and shrubs will:

  • help keep your suburb cool
  • let you breathe easier with cleaner air
  • connect you with nature
  • help slow and filter local flooding
  • increase property values
  • attract native birds, bees and butterflies
  • connect to other green areas and create corridors for our wildlife
  • help you feel calmer, happier and healthier.

Connect with your local community

You can work with your neighbours or as community to make your suburb richer in nature by:

  • removing weeds
  • restoring local bushland
  • watering your street trees in summer and keeping them mulched to keep the moisture and weeds at bay
  • joining your local community garden or create one
  • talking to your neighbours and local council about planting trees or creating a verge garden
  • getting involved in the Australian Museum’s Streamwatch, Waterbug Watch or other citizen science programs for community groups to monitor water quality and the health of local waterways.

Pot plant containing a small tree turned on its side with people's hands holding it and getting ready to plant.

Green your streets

As well as looking after your street trees, you can add greenery to your street by planting a verge garden.

Verge gardens are also a great way to provide habitat for native animals like bees and butterflies.

If you want to plant out your verge:

  • find out whether your local council supports planting out street verges
  • talk to your neighbours and get them involved
  • make sure there’s enough space to open car doors and position bins – council guidelines will provide details
  • consider the space, what to plant and its position – some councils discourage growing edible plants on verges
  • choose plants that don’t grow higher than 1 metre – native plants are ideal but avoid spiky plants
  • contact Dial Before You Dig to check whether there are any utilities under the verge.

Case studies

Grass verge with concrete footpath, trailer and parked cars on street.

In just 3 years, Liane Rossler has turned the verge outside her ceramic studio into a beautiful native garden.

Admired by her Bondi Junction neighbours and pedestrians, the garden is bringing nature to the street.

‘The garden has had an enormous impact – whenever I’m out watering the garden, almost everyone stops to chat. Lots of people walk this way now to see the garden and appreciate the nature it brings.’

The garden was initially inspired by Liane who saw a gum tree down the road with rainbow lorikeets.

‘It was so beautiful that I planted a gum tree and this year it flowered for the first time.’

Liane wanted to make space for pollinators, like bees and butterflies, in the built up commercial and residential area. She looked first for plants that would attract these insects, as well as grow under powerlines. She also planted native grasses and plants that would adapt to increasing temperatures.

Woman in sunglasses standing in her verge garden next to footpath holding flower of one of her plants.

‘I wanted to create a feeling of harmony, like the bush. We always try and control nature, but we should be nurturing nature, and letting it do its thing. If little things like dandelions pop up, then leave them.

‘Bees and butterflies love the flowers and their leaves are great in salads. It’s remarkable what’s changed in a year – it’s nice to imagine the future.’

Top photo: The verge before Liane planted her garden. Liane Rosler
Bottom photo: Liane Rosler with a crepe myrtle she planted in her verge garden. Janice Bagot

Two women on a front verandah with red brick wall and tessellated tiles, one woman from council in bright orange rain jacket giving native plants to the other who is holding a brochure with Living Connections on the cover.Bronte and Tamarama residents can receive free plants and expert advice to create bird friendly gardens under Waverley Council’s Living Connection program.

Council mapping showed that habitat corridors are extremely fragmented, making it hard for wildlife, like small birds, to move between remnants to feed and reproduce.

Vicky Bachelard, Waverley Council’s Sustainability Communities Officer, said that private gardens are important as they have the potential to connect these corridors. ‘We want to bring superb fairy wrens and New Holland honeyeaters back to our gardens, as they have largely disappeared from our area. Residents can receive tailored garden advice and suitable plants to turn their gardens into an oasis for their family and these special birds.’

Connecting remnants will also help with native plant pollination, germination and dispersal.