City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward

City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward
Meyers Place Concept. Image: City of Melbourne
Laurence DragomirNovember 3, 2016

The City of Melbourne's Green Laneways program is entering the next phase of its implementation with the release of concept designs for four laneways which form the pilot project. The four pilot laneways were selected earlier this year to be the very first laneways of the Green Your Laneway pilot program following the initial phase of community engagement.

With over two hundred laneways in the central city, totaling nearly nine hectares, the Green Your Laneway program was established to help transform the city’s laneways into leafy, green and useable spaces.

The program seeks to enhance the experience of Melbourne's laneways further, with the opportunity to transform them into the 'city's back yard.' Concepts being investigated include potential for vertical greening, trees, and places to dwell and relax.

City residents, building owners and businesses were encouraged to participate in helping to select the four laneways as part of the pilot project, to be fully funded by the City of Melbourne.

The selected laneways are Coromandel Place, Guildford Lane, Meyers Place and Katherine Place. Initial design concepts have been developed for each with further community engagement to refine the concepts.

Concepts for Coromandel Place

City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward
Coromandel Place design concept. Image: Participate Melbourne website
  • DIY Window Boxes - a simple example of laneway greening. The initiative was suggested by the building owner.
  • Planters with Climbers - by adding soil volumes through planter boxes, climbers and other plants can combine to green the laneways.
  • Greening and Screening - these walls offer the opportunity for vertical greening using climbing plants, while raised planters provide privacy screening for laneway residents.
  • A tree (and seat) - Adding trees into lanes can be tricky due to underground services. If achievable, these trees will be surrounded by a built-in edge that people can sit on.
  • A Beautiful Place to Sit - A range of options are being explored to create a very different vista for the laneway's plain back walls.
  • The Green Billboard - A high-tech 'green wall' installation could transform the blank brick wall.
  • Walkway lined with plants - Lush greenery could be added to the walkway through a long line of planter boxes.

Concepts for Guildford Lane

City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward
Guildford Lane design concept. Image: Participate Melbourne website
  • The 'Draingarden' - Using downpipes to water a climbing plant is the laneway version of a raingarden. Guildford Lane has a large number of these opportunities, permission is being sought from building owners to install these cable-based greening approaches.
  • Kerbside pot plants - The residents and owners in Guildford Lane have added greenery through potplants. Taking into account loading, footpaths and traffic in the lane, additional pot plants can contribute to creating a lush green space.
  • Communal Garden - Guildford Lane already has a great DIY approach to gardens and this recessed section of private property currently hosts a beautiful garden of pots. The area will be upgraded to a much bigger space for locals to grow their favourite plants.
  • A Green Entry to Guildford - The Queen Street entrance could be transformed with a new tree and climbers to cover the existing fence.
  • Hanging Garden - By adding overhead planter baskets and seating, this space can be transformed.
  • Window boxes - Planter boxes in the lane's many picturesque windows could add a flash of colour and greenery to the lane.
  • A Green Respite - By adding a large planter box and a seat, we can offer beautiful vertical greening as well as a place for green-thumbed locals to cultivate flowers in the lane.

Concepts for Meyers Place

City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward
Meyers Place design concept. Image: Participate Melbourne website
  • Tree on private property - By helping building owners plant trees on their property, the whole laneway can ultimately benefit.
  • Window boxes - Cascading greenery into the lane from first-floor balconies offers a relatively simple but very attractive way of greening.
  • Pots for traders - Pots in doorways, can add greenery to the lane without interfering with trading or pedestrian flows. A well-selected plant can also support the identity of the business within.
  • Trees and vertical greening - The carpark wall offers a great opportunity for greening. Climbing plants and green walls could screen the carpark. Subject to underground cables, street trees could also work in this location.
  • Green gallery - The recessed entry of this substation could make a great 'exhibition' spot for a rotating program of more creative greening ideas, adding an element of surprise to a normally dark and quiet location.
  • Green Wall - When the building owner was offered a humble creeper, they suggested the possibility jointly fund something more ambitious. If an agreement can be reached, this will be funded as a trial of the City of Melbourne's upcoming Urban Forest Fund, which is focused on working with individuals to co-fund greening above and beyond existing programs.
  • Flowering creeper - Plants like wisteria can grow vigorously on a single cable, given enough soil. With building owner support, eventually a healthy climber can provide impressive displays of flowers. This location could one day be a pitstop for pollinators and punters alike.
  • Dumpster garden - In keeping with the laneway feel, this mobile planter box can temporarily add greenery to the lane for some months or years while other planting establishes.

Concepts for Katherine Place

City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward
Katherine Place design concept. Image: Participate Melbourne website
  • A Green Archway - The archway and each pillar could be lined with lightweight climbing plants to create a beautiful green entry. City of Melbourne will also help traders green up their shopfronts with pot plants and perhaps even some hanging plants.
  • The Green Heart of Katherine Place - By slightly narrowing the roadway, a number of trees can be added (subject to underground services). This vertical greening, supported with understorey planting helps add to the 'layered' look of the lane and supporting biodiversity. The existing cafe at the corner might use a few pots to add to the greenery. Together this creates a very lush look for the corner of Mercantile Lane and Katherine Place.

Additionally, as part of the Green Your Laneway program, the City of Melbourne has also developed a world-first interactive map that shows laneways that could go green, based on the amount of sunlight they receive, exposure to wind and physical characteristics. The map also shows all nominations received in the first phase of community engagement.

City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway initiative moves forward
Green your laneway interactive map. Image Participate Melbourne website

Once design concepts are finalised for the four pilot laneways, construction is expected to commence in early 2017. In the meantime Meyers Place will be transformed into a green space on Saturday 12 November between 2pm and 4pm.

For further information about the City of Melbourne's Green Your Laneway program, visit

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

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