A local community group boosted the green space in Kent Town with the help of a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant. Find out about their project and how you could do the same for your neighbourhood.

Kent Town Residents Greening
David and Kate from the Kent Town Residents Association

Situated on the outskirts of Adelaide city is the suburb of Kent Town. Featuring more buildings within close quarters than most urban areas, it's a hub for creative industries, scattered with cafes and restaurants, and is home to a growing number of new houses.

Kent Town Residents Association (KTRA) were keen to create a more liveable suburb and set out to green and restore biodiversity to this buzzing neighbourhood.

With their vast knowledge of the area and past experience in running successful greening ventures, the Kent Town project was expertly led by David and Kate from KTRA.

Their first step was to select the street that would benefit most from their greening efforts. Grenfell Street, not to be confused with its twin street in Adelaide, was selected as it has more residential than commercial residences and the properties on the south side of the street don’t have front gardens.

Bringing her wealth of horticulture knowledge, Kate researched the idea of planting nature strip gardens along the street. Also known as verges, the nature strip is the area of grass or plants located between the road and the footpath.

To turn their idea into a reality, KTRA applied for (and won) a Grassroots Grant and their Greening of Grenfell Street project began. Read on for more about their Grassroots Grants story.

Why is this grant project important?

Restoring nature to an area creates a balance between the built and natural environment. In an area packed with buildings, with little or no gardens, the environment becomes hotter and drier and this does little to encourage nature to thrive.

Planting nature strip gardens attracts native birds, butterflies and bees, with the added benefit of greening the area and therefore making it more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

But how do you know which plants will thrive in your area? For this project Kate worked with her local council, the City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters to find out the best species to plant in the nature strip gardens.

Kate did her research, and among many of the species planted she made some great choices for plants that will thrive in the area.

Some of these included – spider-net grevillea or hummingbird bush (Grevillea thelemanniana), which attracts bees and birds with its brilliant bright red flowers; Lake King eremophila (Eremophila subteretifolia) a ground cover plant, that is very drought tolerant; and native fuchsia (Correa pulchella) with its orange/red bell-shaped flowers that produce nectar and attract honey eating birds and is best suited to dry summers.

Kent Town Residents greening project correa
Native fuchsia was a species selected for planting in the nature strip gardens.

How did the Grassroots Grant help?

Green Adelaide’s Grassroots Grant enabled the Kent Town Residents Association to purchase the plants and materials to create the nature strip gardens along Grenfell Street.

The City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters prepared the verges for planting, then the KTRA volunteered their time to plant the verges and make access paths, with the help of some of the residents.

It took 3 working bees to establish the nature strip gardens but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses! The volunteers doing the planting ran into some issues due to heavy rain, and ground that was too wet to work with.

It wasn’t all bad though and made for a great story when the residents took shelter under a veranda on a rainy day, and had a laugh and a chat while they waited for the rain to pass.

Kent Town Residents Association greening project
The nature strip gardens coming along nicely, a few months after planting.

How did the project improve the environment for the community?

Nature strips not only contribute to the liveability and climate resilience of Grenfell Street, they also make the area more attractive for the many visitors to the area each day.

One consideration in particular was the elderly residents of the College Green Retirement Village, many of whom have limited mobility, and they were pleased to be able to involve these residents throughout the project.

Thanks to the community spirit of the project, David and Kate have noticed that local residents are now interacting more as they have a reason to stop on the street and check out their handiwork.

Apply for the next round of Grassroots Grants

Green Adelaide’s Grassroots Grants is an annual program that puts much needed funds into the hands of individuals and groups to help them transform their local environment.

Subscribe to the Green Adelaide monthly newsletter for the latest on the grant program straight to your inbox.

Words of advice for future grant applicants

The KTRA understand that the grant writing process can be daunting for many community groups. They suggest to read the application guide and reach out to past successful grant recipients.

They also said that consultation with the local residents, businesses and local council were key to the success of this project.

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