Australia is a hot, dry place and it’s only getting hotter and drier. Despite knowing this, many of us still cling to our lush, green gardens, pouring litres and litres of precious ground water onto to them every year. But it’s time to face up to the facts: these gardens are no longer sustainable and more effort needs to be made to create water-saving gardens. Here are the top five tips for getting started at your place:
1) Known your garden
Before you can implement any of the advice below, you need to get to know your garden reticulation Perth. Spend time in it, learning where water naturally pools or drains, which parts are prone to drying out, and what plants do well where. By knowing these areas, you’ll be better equipped to make changes to conserve water.
2) Plant climate appropriate plants
Many of the plants we use are inherited from the English gardening tradition and they are thirsty little buggers. Rather than filling your garden with demanding camellias, clematis, and roses, consider plants from climates more similar to our own. Australia’s own natives, while often lacking in large flowers, have their own charm in form and foliage. Many local botanic gardens now have an area dedicated to native plants to show how well these plants perform.
3) Reduce or remove your lawn
The thirstiest part of your garden will always be your lawn. To keep a lawn green requires thousands of litres of water every year – and that’s just your lawn. Replacing your lawn with garden can greatly reduce its water consumption. If you’re truly married to the idea of a lawn, use a native grass that provides the same coverage for less water. Again, many botanic gardens in Australia can advise you on which grasses are ideal for your area.
4) Design your garden to preserve water
There are many design features you can incorporate into your garden to conserve what rain does fall on it. Plant the thirstier plants together to lessen the areas that need watering. Contouring the land can make the water drain to the place or plants where you need more water. Lessen the chance of evaporation by planting densely and using organic or inorganic mulch to cover what soil is exposed to the sun’s rays. It’s also a good idea to install a rain water tank to capture what rain does fall on your roof.
5) Water smart
If you must water, water smart. Only get out the hose when it’s cool, such as at dawn or dusk, to ensure the water has time to soak in before it’s evaporated by the heat of the sun. Also use a slow trickle, close to the soil, to avoid pooling and yet more evaporating. A one good long soak is better than many light splashings, as it encourages the proper development of root systems and healthier plants. And, most of all, always hand water or keep sprinklers on a timer so you only use what you really need.
You can still have a gorgeous garden – it just takes a little bit of time and research to ensure it’s a sustainable one!