Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) planting & landscape requirements

Creating and maintaining plant cover on vegetated WSUD assets is crucial to maintaining their functionality. Correct species selection, planting density, planting preparation and maintenance is critical to the long term performance of these assets. Landscaping also plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity and providing local ecological habitat.

Plants indigenous to the Cumberland Plain and the Blacktown Local Government Area (LGA) will likely have a better survival rate as they are adapted to the local soils and climate, however in some situations non-indigenous species can be planted to meet aesthetic objectives or landscaping outcomes.  Plants should be chosen that will minimise irrigation water requirements and maximise survival rates during drought periods.

The landscape design should be prepared by a suitably qualified person, such as a landscape architect with ecological knowledge.  Reference should be made to the Blacktown City Council WSUD Standard Drawings, in terms of species selection for bioretention systems. 

When developing a landscape design, please consider:

  • An understanding of the soil type (clay, alluvial, sandstone) and soil condition (fertility, permeability) to determine if amelioration is required.

  • Identifying regional climatic factors as well as an understanding of the microclimatic factors such as shading, sun and wind exposure, frost exposure.

  • Selecting appropriate species of  plants, preferably with low water demands and planting them at appropriate densities.

  • Weed eradication must be undertaken using environmentally acceptable methods and all weeds must be removed from site.

  • Batters must be a suitable slope to allow mowing

  • Recycled leaf mulch is acceptable in garden beds but not on surfaces that can wash into waterways or onto the surface of bioretention systems.

  • Planting densities must be identified on the landscape plan.  Planting in random patterns is preferred to improve survival rates, except where this contradicts a landscaping outcome.

Related Information

Wetland Planting Guide 2019