Garden Area

The concept of Garden Area was introduced into planning schemes in early 2017. Having a defined percentage of a residential development set aside exclusively for garden and outdoor activities has created more clarity when proposing infill residential development by having a number to work to.

There are different ratios according to the size of the original lot, and it only applies to certain residential zones. The zones where they apply have a Garden Area requirement of 35% set aside for original lot sizes above 650 metres, and less percentages for smaller original lot sizes. Residential Growth Zones don’t have the Garden Area constraint, and are therefore somewhat easier to develop as dense residential precincts.

What exactly constitutes Garden Area? This question wasn’t easily answered until some 2018 VCAT cases challenging the Garden Area concept brought the ambiguity to light, and the State Government produced some clearer guidelines. Generally speaking, Garden Area is any garden, patio pool, small shed or landscaping with a minimum of 1 metre in width. There are more defining descriptions than what has been mentioned here – please feel free to speak to us to get a clearer understanding.

What has been the result? Not only has it been clearer for developers and their expectations about what might be seen as the right ratio of development on a site, it has assisted councils as well. What was previously a very grey area has lost a little of its murkiness.