Public preferences for water-conserving groundcovers on verges

Claire Doll, Curtis Rollins, Michael Burton, David Pannell, Katrin Rehdanz, Jürgen Meyerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adapting to changes in water availability is becoming an increasingly important environmental management objective in many regions around the world. One way for cities to conserve water is to enhance drought-resistant vegetation cover. This revegetation practice can take place on many types of land, including road-side verges (also known as nature strips or boulevards), which, in Western Australia, are publicly owned but managed privately by residents of adjoining properties. As preferences for alternative verge groundcovers are not well understood, designing solutions that help achieve environmental goals and satisfy communities is a challenge. We survey community members in Perth, Western Australia, and find that peoples’ preferences for verge landscape design are largely bimodal, and can be classified under two dominant groups of people: those who prefer native vegetation, which requires little irrigation, and those who prefer watered grass. Neighbourhood norms prevail in their rankings, where individuals whose neighbours have planted water-conserving native vegetation gardens on their verges are also more likely to prefer ecological landscape designs. Increasing the extent of gardens that feature water-conserving native plants in high-profile public areas may further increase community acceptance of low water-use groundcovers, and may assist in driving changes in landscape management practices towards having more ecological landscape designs on verges, and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100239
JournalWater Resources and Economics
Early online date16 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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