The global water crisis is not just environmental gossip - politicians and citizens are acknowledging the effects of water wastage and looking for ways to conserve water without compromising our standards of living. Over 60 per cent of water use in Australia is outdoors, and most of that happens in our gardens.
Thankfully, there are a variety of easy ways to use water more efficiently when gardening. Even better, beyond being water wise, your garden could look more amazing than ever before.
If you're starting or extending your garden, you would be surprised how a little forethought can make water conservation easier down the road, not to mention making your garden more functional, in addition to looking good.
1. Take a look at your garden layout, and note which areas receive more or less sunlight, or have more exposure to wet or dry conditions, as well as the elements.
2. Choose plants that are both water efficient and suitable for the different areas of your garden. Grouping together plants with similar watering needs is also a good idea. You can easily get information and recommendations from the local nursery or wherever you purchase your plants. Make sure you also know how tall and wide the various plants will grow. You don't want overgrown plants blocking access to anything.
3. Consider planting trees, if practicable. Not only will they provide shade for you and your house during those scorching days, but this shade will cool down and make your lawn require less water; and you know how thirsty your lawns are. Again, when choosing trees, make sure you know how tall and wide they will grow. You don't want your wonderful trees making friends with the power lines.
Getting Down and Dirty
Sandy or clay loams are not ideal in terms of water conservation or robustness of plant life, so you will likely need to help out your soil. Use these small steps to make a big difference:
If your soil is missing particular trace elements, you might consider supplementing with an inorganic fertiliser. Your nursery will be able to provide recommendations.
There are many ways to water your garden, some more water efficient than others. In general, the worst time to water anything is at the hottest time of the day, as you will lose a lot of water to evaporation. If it's too windy, your water won't get to where it's supposed to go. Experts suggest watering between dusk and dawn; the "sweet spot" being just before sunrise, so that the plants can benefit from water throughout the day.
Here are some more water saving tips for the different watering methods:
Some people opt to attach the drip irrigation system directly to the garden hose faucet, and just turn it on and off manually, but it is much more convenient with automatic valves, especially if you have multiple plants with different watering needs. Your garden may gain the most benefit from a multi-zone timer and multiple valves.
While it is possible to build your own drip irrigation system if you have decent plumbing and carpentry skills, you might want to consider professional installation.
There are a number of factors to determine the best type of irrigation system for your garden, including water quality and land topography. Some of these factors are discussed here.
To install an irrigation system, you will have to connect to your water supply with PVC pipe and install a number of things, such as a backflow prevention device. If the water supply is municipal, you'll need to add T-fittings at certain intervals.
Other items you'll need include valves, sprinkler wire, drip filters, pressure reducers and a hose-to-compression adapter. You should have a basic working knowledge of plumbing and carpentry to undertake installing your own irrigation system.
Why not take the guesswork, trial and error, and time out of the equation and leave it to the experts, so you can enjoy your garden? Then, you will also have peace of mind knowing they have done the installation right. For more tips on irrigation in the dry season and dry weather gardening in Australia, visit this page.
Your home garden can be a source of relaxation and pride. Even during the dry season, you can maintain it in a way that conserves our planet's precious water. Irrigation is the most water efficient method of watering your garden, and it is convenient and accurate, too. Talk to the people at your nursery or the irrigation system professionals to make your garden the healthiest and most environmentally conscious it has ever been.
Image credits: Pixabay & Shutterstock.