Unlocking the secret to a thriving garden is one thing. Doing so with a water-conscious plan — now that’s a win. Claiming the title of an accomplished modern gardener is synonymous with having clever, water-wise gardening plans and actions. To make the most of your time, space and resources, we have put together a guide to help you navigate the deep waters of irrigation styles.
Sprinkle on some water-wise gardening wisdom
Starting on water-wise gardening, or incorporating it into your already established space is possible with the right approach. To get you up to speed, explore our watering guidelines, as well as our watering podcast. These resources provide a good douse of information on how to water new plants, maintain a decent watering schedule and the right tools to succeed. With these foundation principles in your back pocket, you can move on to begin channeling a water-wise garden routine.
Don’t be a drip — implement water savvy solutions
Making the shift to a water-wise gardening lifestyle requires a few basic starting points. They include choosing the right plants, creating the correct space, adopting a particular watering style and a few other maintenance best practices. With all these in your gardening toolbox, you’ll be sure to master your best water conscious garden yet.
Plants to use
When planning your water-wise garden, the plants you choose are the foundations of your approach. Their needs and features determine your garden’s unique water footprint and your new routine. The first step to doing this is to consider the plants native to your region. Choosing endemic or naturalized plants to your area is a fail-proof plan to achieve an environmentally friendly garden without putting a strain on the plant and your water bill. Moreover, be sure to look out for plants that have needles, few waxy leaves with oils or lighter sides, and especially go for succulent qualities. These features will not require as much water and do well to consume less and conserve more water.
When choosing lawn, you can go either for lawn varieties suitable for your area or artificial grass altogether. Additionally, you will want to consider reducing the size of your lawn by introducing hardy plants or other ground cover options, pebbles and crush, mulch or paving alternatives. This will cut down the surface area you will need to water and allow you to focus on grouped plants or zones in your garden.
Landscape design and rain design
Once you minimise your lawn space, you can start to hydrozone. This is the practice of grouping similar plants together according to their water requirements to reduce water use. We have a great hydrozoning example you can explore from our 2021 Lifestyle Garden Design Show. Once you have applied hydrozoning, you could also implement a rain design. Think dredging shallow troughs to assist in water runoff and leading them towards trees for a clever hydration hack.
Furthermore, also consider your terrain. Gardens with uncovered slopes will experience water runoff. Have plants with deeper, thicker roots on slopes to help retain ground integrity and avoid ground erosion. Plan to feature plants requiring less moisture at the peak of your landscape, and those with more water-intensive needs at lower points, letting the water naturally reach them.
Another aspect to consider when channeling waterwise practices is how you care for your lawn. You can leave your deciduous lawn types to become dormant in summer. When mowing lawns, you can implement higher mower settings to encourage taller blades of grass for shade to keep roots cooler and to slow down evaporation. And all those grass clippings? Empty your mower bag and sprinkle them on the lawn to create a lawn mulch.
As for the right tools, various needs require the right method to deliver them. Sprinklers, while convenient, are not very efficient as most of their watering efforts are claimed by evaporation, with only 50 percent of water fulfilling your plant’s needs. As for hoses, try to find nozzle designs with different spray settings to evade water loss.
We suggest using watering cans for smaller gardens, or using drip irrigation lines, or even soaker hoses for more direct watering.
Long term techniques and tips
Make sure to water your plants early in the morning so that the moisture sinks in properly before the heat of the day causes evaporation. When you water, try to get into the habit of watering less often, but more deeply while still applying a gentle and slow stream to ensure adequate absorption. Lastly, plants in containers will need more watering than in-ground gardens, keep an eye on them!
Have your gardening technique hold water
With your fully-fledged waterwise gardening plan in place, all you need to do is establish a sound water-friendly design and remain vigilant in your routines and garden care. For more information or assistance with your gardening projects, contact our garden experts.