Character of Ku-ring-gai

Large indigenous and exotic trees whose canopies form the skyline, line the streets and dominate garden spaces throughout the whole area.

The unique presentation of private gardens which are given due importance in residential settings and designs.

Nature of development

A unique predominance of residential development, with a notable absence of industry or large commercial areas. Large educational establishments and suburban retail/service centres are the other major land uses.

Development which responds to the landform - the spine of the heavily incised plateau carries the main transport routes and the earliest development; successive feeder roads and suburban development follow tributary ridges, leaving the steep gullies on the east and west of the spine as bushland reserves and national parks.

Pattern of development

The predominant form of development is of individual houses sited on large blocks of land and surrounded by garden space.

Houses are separated by generous side setbacks and curtilages.

Fences define the boundary of each allotment; front fences and/or hedges mark the street alignment in pro 1960's development and allow pedestrians to look over to the garden beyond. However, a number of areas of post 1960's houses are noted for their lack of front fence, a characteristic of 'garden suburb' planning of that time.

Garages/carports are generally sited at the side or back of each house. They are most commonly accessed by single width driveways which have minimal paving. Runoff is therefore largely absorbed within each residential allotment, into the predominant green surfaces of lawn, garden beds, shrubberies and trees.

Trees and gardens

Older residential developments along the main spine are characterised by larger blocks of land and gardens combining exotic, deciduous and indigenous plantings. More recent development is away from the main spine and is generally on smaller blocks of land with a predominance of indigenous and exotic plantings.

Street tree plantings include informal remnants of the forest, others are of formal plantings made over a period of 100 years. Street tree plantings may also feature grassed or planted nature strips and verges and are largely contributory to the unique characteristic of Ku-ring-gai's streetscapes.


Houses and shops are mostly built of unpainted brick with tile roofs. There are some important pockets of early timber houses. Walls of render or timber shingles and iron or slate roofs characterise typical building materials.