Tips for creating a water wise garden

Tips for creating a water wise garden

One of the biggest users of water around the house is the garden. It is possible to reduce your water consumption and still have a beautiful garden

Plan before you plant

By planning your garden before you plant, you can take advantage of the characteristics of your site, such as sun, shade, wind and soil. Consider how your plants will get the water they need. Planning will save you time and energy down the road.

Choose locally suitable water wise plants

There are numerous beautiful plants that require minimal to no watering once established. Remember to plant in autumn, after the first rains. This gives plants a full winter to develop a strong root system before facing the dry season.

Group plants according to their water needs

Water-wise plants need minimal watering once established. And by grouping your plants according to their water needs, you avoid wasting water on plants that don’t need it. Those plants that need more watering should be planted together in a small area where their water needs can be attended to.

Reconsider your lawn

Lawns are thirsty so think about the lawn space you use and need. Buffalo grass requires less water and less mowing. Just don’t cut the grass too short as longer leaves shade the roots and reduce water evaporation.

Prepare the soil well

Dig in plenty of compost as it aids the water retention ability of the soil, adds nutrients, and also encourages earthworm activity, which improves aeration and drainage. Remember to compost your beds at least once a year.

Use lots of mulch between plants

Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and reduces evaporation. It also reduces run-off and erosion, suppresses weed growth, enriches the soil and prevents compacting of the soil. Mulch is available in a variety of options including bark, compost and dried leaves.

Water only when necessary

Save water by watering thoroughly but less often and when evaporation is lowest, early morning and evening. A drip irrigation or soaker hoses saves water and reduces weed growth.

Create shade and windbreaks

Wind and sun can dry out plants. Plant fast-growing, wind-resistant, water-wise trees and shrubs suited to your area to provide shade and shelter.

Take care of your plants

Healthy plants need less water, fertilizer and pest controls than stressed plants. By keeping on top of tasks such as weeding, thinning, pruning and monitoring pests, you will water less frequently.