A road verge is a strip of grass or plants, and sometimes also trees, located between a roadway (carriageway) and a sidewalk (pavement).[1] Verges are known by dozens of other names, often quite regional; see Terminology below.

A "parkway" with street trees in Oak Park, Illinois

The land is often public property, with maintenance usually being a municipal responsibility. Some municipal authorities, however, require that abutting property owners maintain their respective verge areas, as well as the adjunct footpaths or sidewalks.[2]

Benefits include visual aesthetics, increased safety and comfort of sidewalk users, protection from spray from passing vehicles, and a space for benches, bus shelters, street lights, and other public amenities. Verges are also often part of sustainability for water conservation or the management of urban runoff and water pollution[3][4][5] and can provide useful wildlife habitat. Snow that has been ploughed off the street in colder climates often is stored in the area of the verge by default.[citation needed]

In the British Isles, verges are the last location of habitats for a range of flora.[6]

Protection of roadside verge in Northumberland UK

The main disadvantage of a road verge is that the right-of-way must be wider, increasing the cost of the road. In some localities, a wider verge offers opportunity for later road widening, should the traffic usage of a road demand this. For this reason, footpaths are usually sited a significant distance from the curb.[citation needed]

Sustainable urban and landscape designEdit

Planted rain garden in the "tree lawn" zone

In urban and suburban areas, urban runoff from private and civic properties can be guided by grading and bioswales for rainwater harvesting collection and bioretention within the "tree-lawn" – parkway zone in rain gardens. This is done for reducing runoff of rain and domestic water: for their carrying waterborne pollution off-site into storm drains and sewer systems; and for the groundwater recharge of aquifers.[3]

In some cities, such as Santa Monica, California, city code mandates specify:

Parkways, the area between the outside edge of the sidewalk and the inside edge of the curb which are a component of the Public Right of Way (PROW) – that the landscaping should require little or no irrigation and the area produce no runoff.[4]

For Santa Monica, another reason for this use of "tree-lawns" is to reduce current beach and Santa Monica Bay ocean pollution that is measurably higher at city outfalls. New construction and remodeling projects needing building permits require that landscape design submittals include garden design plans showing the means of compliance.[4]

In some cities and counties, such as Portland, Oregon, street and highway departments are regrading and planting rain gardens in road verges to reduce boulevard and highway runoff. This practice can be useful in areas with either independent Storm sewers or combined storm and sanitary sewers, reducing the frequency of pollution, treatment costs, and released overflows of untreated sewage into rivers and oceans during rainstorms.[7]

Rural roadsidesEdit

In some countries, the road verge can be a corridor of vegetation that remains after adjacent land has been cleared. Considerable effort in supporting conservation of the remnant vegetation is prevalent in Australia, where significant tracts of land are managed as part of the roadside conservation strategies by government agencies.[8][9]



The term verge has many synonyms and dialectal differences. Some dialects and idiolects lack a specific term for this area, instead using a circumlocution.[10][11]

Terms used include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Street Trees / Tree Lawn". Worthington. City of Worthington, Ohio. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II of II: Best Practices Design Guide, Section 10.1.3: Maintenance responsibilities". Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. Federal Highways Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b Delost, Jeremy (19 September 2009). "Passive Rainwater Harvesting". The Rainwater Observer. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Parkway Landscaping Policy for the City of Santa Monica (PDF), City of Santa Monica, California, 1 February 2010, archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2010, retrieved 7 July 2010
  5. ^ "Pruning the Parkway Strip". WaterWise. 4 (3). 14 March 2007. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  6. ^ a b Briggs, Helen (6 June 2015). "Roadside verges 'last refuge for wild flowers'". BBC News. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Sustainable Stormwater Management". Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  8. ^ a b "Roadside Conservation Values". Indigo Shire Council. Indigo Shire Council. 2007. Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ Western Australia. Roadside Conservation Committee (1995), Roadsides -- the vital link : a decade of roadside conservation in Western Australia (1985-1995), Roadside Conservation Committee, retrieved 2012-04-14
  10. ^ Greppin, John A. C. (1 February 2002). "The triumph of slang". The Times Literary Supplement. Times Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  11. ^ "What do you call the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road? (Harvard Dialect Survey)".
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hall, Joan Houston, ed. (2013). Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume VI: Contrastive Maps, Index to Entry Labels, Questionnaire, and Fieldwork Data (1st ed.). Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674066533.[page needed]
  13. ^ "Between the sidewalk and the curb". The Atlantic. 7 December 1998. Retrieved 19 May 2020.[dead link]
  14. ^ Boulevard Gardening Guidelines (PDF), City of Vancouver, British Columbia, retrieved 28 October 2017
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2018-08-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Departments : Public Services : Public Works : Fall Leaf Collection". City of Kalamazoo. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  18. ^ Rona Proudfoot (March 26, 2012). "Police find man dead in curb lawn". The Chronicle-Telegram. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  19. ^ "Summer Tree Care" (PDF). City of Tipp City. June 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-15.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Who Do I Call?". City of Troy. Archived from the original on 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  21. ^ "Design and Specifications Manual". City of Greenville. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  22. ^ "Mr. Smarty Pants". The Austin Chronicle. 2000-12-29.
  23. ^ Cassidy, Frederic Gomes; Hall, Joan Houston (1985). Dictionary of American Regional English: Introduction and A-C (6th ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-674-20511-6. Retrieved 2009-03-20. devil strip.
  24. ^ Dyer, Bob (August 8, 2012). "Akron's Grass is One of a Kind". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  25. ^ Hilton, George W.; Due, John F. (1960). The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8047-4014-2.
  26. ^ a b Various posters (17 July 2008). "Who is responsible for the strip of land between sidewalk and curb?". HOA Forum. HOATalk.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  27. ^ Foster Road Transportation & Streetscape Plan (PDF), Office of Transportation, City of Portland, Oregon, 9 July 2003, pp. 10–12 and 14–15
  28. ^ Hadden, Evelyn (2014). Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise between the Sidewalk and the Curb. Photography by Joshua McCullough. Timber Press. ISBN 978-1604693324.
  29. ^ The Macquarie Dictionary https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/resources/aus/word/map/search/word/nature%20strip/Gippsland/. Retrieved 2 September 2021. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Random House, Inc. 1997.
  31. ^ "Weed Abatement". City of Ashland. City of Ashland, Oregon. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  32. ^ a b c Guralnik, David B., ed. (1970). Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (Second College ed.). The World Publishing Company.
  33. ^ "Parkway Standards". Community Development, City of Casper, Wyoming. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  34. ^ "Xeric Parkway Strip: Xeriscape Plants for Tough Conditions". The Gardens on Spring Creek. City of Fort Collins, Colorado. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Codes & Manuals". Center for Applied Transect Studies. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  36. ^ "Tree Planting". TREES/PARKS. Parks Division, City of Berkeley, California. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  37. ^ "Food Gardening". City of Seattle, Washington. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  38. ^ "Roads". City of Ottawa. City of Ottawa, Ontario. 2012. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  39. ^ "Nature Strip". The Local Government & Municipal Knowledge Base. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  40. ^ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, copyright 2007, page 1389
  41. ^ Dickstein, Corey (20 July 2009). "Sidewalk lawns now residents' responsibility". Savannah Morning News. Gatehouse Media, LLC.
  42. ^ "Urban Forestry - Adopt-a-Tree Program". City of Fort Lauderdale. City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  43. ^ "More Green Services | DC". dc.gov.
  44. ^ "City Of Buffalo Street Tree Planting Guidelines". City Of Buffalo. City of Buffalo, NY. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  45. ^ "Open By-laws South Africa". Open By-laws South Africa. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  46. ^ "Verge". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 7 July 2010.

External linksEdit