One of the best ways to conserve water in your garden is to change your landscaping from the traditional green lawn and instead use a combination of native foliage and synthetic grass. Our native flora is particularly suited to withstand our natural harsh climate, and won’t require the heavy watering a traditional lawn or imported species will. There are several ways you can make your garden waterwise.
Over 40 percent of residential water consumption is spent on outdoor use. This means our country’s residential water usage could be cut nearly in half if households restructured their yards to focus on native plants and synthetic grass rather than thirsty imports. Just implementing waterwise gardening techniques can make a huge difference. Making your yard waterwise doesn’t mean just using drought-tolerant plants, either. There are lots of little tricks that can be used to save water, from plant selection to garden layout and design.
There are four main things to keep in mind in order to reduce your outdoor water use: use plenty of mulch, install a drip irrigation system, integrate water storage products and wetting agents into your existing soil, and use drought-tolerant native plants.
A drip irrigation system will save tremendous amounts of water over other watering methods. This can be enhanced even further by making sure to not water during the hottest part of the day or when rain is in the forecast. Using mulch, you can make a dam to keep water from running off. This is less of an issue if water is distributed closer to the roots through drip irrigation. Mulch also absorbs more water than sandy soil, so it helps to keep plant roots moist in that aspect as well. If any plants are struggling come autumn, replace them with more drought-tolerant varieties.
Hot sun and dry air suck the moisture right out of your garden. Even native plants can benefit from a little extra shade. This can be provided through structures like arbors or lattice. Training creeping plants to form a canopy will add to this shade cover, as well as reduce the speed of water evaporation and reduce weed growth. Native trees, such as the Gum Tree, can also be used to provide garden shade and cut sun exposure.
When planning out your garden, choose native plants. They are already perfectly suited to warm climates, and won’t even blink at the heat or low water levels. Some examples include: Acacia and native strains of flax and rosemary. The USDA maintains a searchable database plant selector that allows gardeners to search by postcode, plant type and water needs in order to build the perfect waterwise landscape.
In addition to installing water-conserving drip irrigation, adding shade to your yard and choosing native flora, synthetic grass is another excellent option for the waterwise garden. An artificial lawn requires no watering, while still adding the green you’ve come to love in a traditional lawn. A natural lawn needs careful maintenance in order to flourish. For example, warm season grasses, like couch and buffalo, can be cut short in the summer, although cool season grasses should be kept longer. Grass also should not be cut by any more than one-third of its length at any season. Synthetic grass doesn’t include any of these complications, and will save you from an astronomical water bill to boot.