Australia is one of the driest continents on the planet. Almost all of Australia’s major population centers suffer water shortages from time to time, and these come hand in hand with sometimes severe water restrictions. This means that we need to do whatever we can to reduce our water usage, especially in our gardens – this is one of the core concepts of sustainable landscaping – making sure you are watering your garden right.
If you’re serious about creating a truly sustainable and environmentally friendly garden, water conservation should be at the front of your mind. I know how hard it can be to plan a garden that doesn’t use much water, so I’ve put together a few tips to help get you started:
Plant Drought-Resistant Species
Australia is full of beautiful native plants. In fact, we have some of the richest plant species diversity in the world. However, for some unknown reason, native plants aren’t very common in Australian gardens.
One of the best ways to reduce your water usage is to simply plant things that don’t need a lot of water. Most of our native plants are drought tolerant, which means that they only need watering occasionally – if at all.
Choose species which are native to your local area. They will be most suited to your local environmental conditions, and they will be the most likely to grow well and provide you with a beautiful, sustainable garden!
Think About Your Gardens Topography
Even the toughest species will probably need a bit of water from time to time if you want them to look their best. When you’re planning your new garden, you can make small changes to increase your water use efficiency.
For example, don’t plant a garden which is raised above a concrete path with no barrier to prevent water simply running away. Make sure that water is contained within garden beds, and that if it has to flow somewhere, that it flows onto another garden bed. Don’t install sprinklers that are going to spray water onto a road or veranda, and think carefully about where you plant certain species.
Make Sure You’ve Got Good Soil!
A lot of people don’t realise how important it is to have high quality, water permeable soil. If your soil is highly water resistant – which many Australian soils are – then you will find that water will probably just run off your garden beds, rather than soaking in. Add a soil improver to decrease it’s water resistance, and consider replacing at least some areas with a high quality soil.
Water conservation is a huge issue that we, as sustainable gardeners, have to be aware of. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to craft a beautiful outdoor space which is both environmentally friendly and water saving. Plant native species, think about your garden’s layout and consider replacing water repellent soils.