We all know that here in Perth, water is an especially precious resource.
As gardeners, and for all our clients who love their gardens, it’s essential for us to create and maintain beautiful gardens while being mindful of water conservation and doing what we can to make our gardens as waterwise as possible.
By using waterwise practices, we can significantly reduce water usage without compromising the health and care of our plants, gardens and lawns. In this blog, we’ll share some of our top tips for maintaining a waterwise garden in Perth, focusing on methods that help retain moisture, minimize evaporation, and maximize the efficiency of watering.
Because we all want our gardens, and Perth, to stay healthy, green and beautiful – it’s up to all of us to do our part!
There are of course, two aspects to a truly waterwise garden; one is creating a waterwise garden from the beginning, for a design, plant choices and reticulation system that will provide the best waterwise result. The second aspect, which is where we can help, is how to approach the ongoing maintenance and care of your existing garden in a waterwise way.
To design and create a waterwise garden from scratch, you’ll need to talk to a Perth landscaping company like our sister company at Perth Landscaping Experts to carry out your project!
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Here are our care and maintenance tips for Waterwise Gardening
1. Choose Waterwise Plants
Even the most established garden will always need some replanting or additional planting along the way. When you replace or add plants to your garden, make sure that you are choosing plants that are native or adapted, as well as right for the location so they will require as little water as possible. These plants have evolved to thrive in hot and dry conditions, requiring less water once established. Incorporate or make the switch to drought-tolerant species such as kangaroo paw, lavender, grevillea, and rosemary in your garden or opt for low-water grass varieties. Ask your local nursery, check out the Water Corporation’s “Waterwise Plants for Perth” database, or talk to a local landscaping company with horticulturalists on their team for help with waterwise plant selection.
2. Improve Soil Health
While this is often overlooked, by investing in improving your soil’s health and structure, it can really enhance water absorption and retention and reduce runoff. Dig in organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure, promote water infiltration, and increase moisture-holding capacity. You can also regularly apply a wetting agent, especially in hot dry Perth summers, to make sure your garden can use every drop of water it gets. Healthy soil allows roots to access water more efficiently, reducing the frequency and amount of watering needed to keep your garden happy.
3. Mulch Your Garden
One of the most effective and proven ways to reduce watering and increase the health of your plants and soils is the correct application of much – and maintaining it at the right level year-round. Mulch acts as a protective barrier, reducing evaporation and suppressing weed growth. It also helps regulate soil temperature and conserves moisture, allowing you to water less frequently. Maintain a mulch layer of around 3-4 inches for optimal effectiveness. We love pine bark mulch for its look, chunky style (waterwise mulches should have a coarse and irregular texture) and natural material – it’s a great choice for most plants and gardens here in Perth.
4. Smart Watering Techniques
If you have a garden in Perth, you know all about the need for a reticulation system and will be aware that it must be switched off over Winter and is restricted to 2 watering days the rest of the year. We fully support this initiative and don’t worry; it is still possible to keep your garden happy using waterwise gardening methods and smart watering techniques.
a. Watering Deeply: Instead of frequent shallow watering, water deeply during your watering times. This encourages deep root growth, making plants more resilient to drought and makes sure that it doesn’t just wet the top of the soil but get all the way to the roots.
b. Time Your Watering: Water your garden during the early morning before 6am or late evening (but we recommend the mornings) when temperatures are cooler – never when the sun is out. This minimises evaporation and ensures more efficient water absorption by plants.
c. Choose a Waterwise irrigation company: They will understand things like which sprinkler heads and watering durations will deliver the right amount of water to your plants in the watering times you have allocated, and know how to extend or optimise your system so the water is getting to all areas of your lawns and gardens that need them.
d. Utilize Rainwater: Install a rainwater harvesting system to collect and store rainwater for later use in the garden. Use it for watering during drier periods or for specific plants that require extra attention.
e. Know Your Plants. If you have an established native garden, you may not need to water it much anymore, if at all. So, if your reticulation system is currently in ‘set and forget’ mode, you might want to take another look at your garden and see how much water your plants in their current state of growth actually need.
f. Watch your system watering. If your system is running at 6am, you might not have seen it in a while, so things like leaks, broken sprinklers that don’t pop up anymore or areas where more water might be going on your paths or driveways than your gardens!
5. Consider – Do You Really Need a Lawn?
We love a green vibrant lawn as much as anyone – but we also love making smart and waterwise garden choices. If you have a large verge area or grassed backyard, but don’t have a dog or you and your family just never use the area, maybe it’s time to consider replacing part or all of the grassy area with water-efficient alternatives like native ground covers or mulch. Turning your verge into a lush, native garden will reduce your water use dramatically, reduce the need for lawn mowing, and make it an incredibly attractive entrance to your property!
Another option is to replant lawn areas that don’t get much sun, such as around the base of a tree, with alternatives like native ground covers or mulch. Often lawn struggles to grow in these areas anyway so this won’t just reduce your maintenance requirements and water use but can also improve the entire look of the area as it will stay green where lawn would look turn brown or unhealthy.
At the end of the day, we all love a lawn, so for the spaces in your landscape you really must have one, go for a water-efficient species such as Saltene, Zoysia or one of the soft leafed Buffalos.
6. Carry Out Regular Garden Maintenance
Maintaining a waterwise garden involves regular care and attention. Having a regular gardening service helps with things like:
- Pruning and trimming plants to make sure the sun, rain and reticulation system can get to all areas of your gardens and lawns
- Well-pruned plants are also more efficient in their water utilisation than overgrown ones
- Control weed growth so that every drop of water and nutrients are going to your plants, not to them! This also stops the weeds from blocking your sprinkler heads which can impact their area coverage
- Regular mulch top-ups to maintain their water retention and fill in any gaps that occur
- Prompt spotting of any garden health issues like dry or dead spots, reticulation leaks or water wastage
Did you know we are a waterwise garden company?
We are certified with the Water Corporation Waterwise Program, and so are our sister companies, so for anything garden maintenance, reticulation or landscaping, we can help or point you in the right direction!
Ready to create and maintain a waterwise garden?
We hope that by knowing and implementing these tips, you can enjoy a beautiful and thriving garden while significantly reducing water usage. By choosing the right plants, improving soil health, mulching effectively, utilising smart watering techniques, and practicing regular garden maintenance, you can contribute to conserving our valuable water resources while enjoying the beauty of your garden.
For help with regular garden maintenance, just get in touch with us on 08 6263 4645 and our lovely team will be happy to help your garden thrive!