Below are some practical steps you can take around the garden to help plants survive on minimal water.
Hoses - ensure that your hose is fitted with a trigger nozzle and manually water your garden to reduce the risk of over-watering.
Drip irrigation - install drip irrigation to help conserve water by reducing evaporation. Garden irrigation takes a little planning, but this video from Bunnings provides some helpful tips.
Rainwater tanks - install a rainwater tank to reduce your reliance on drinking water, Install a rainwater tank to capture water from your own roof that can then be used on the garden to reduce your water bills and help the environment.
When to water - Water your garden before 10 am or after 4 pm to reduce water loss through evaporation. Water your garden in the cool of the early morning to reduce water loss through evaporation. When you water, give your garden and lawn a good soaking, but water less frequently. This will help your plants and grass send their roots deeper into the soil in search of water, building resistance to hot and dry weather.
What to water - water each plant's roots, not the leaves. Apply water around the base of plants, rather than over the leaves, to help reduce evaporation.
Lawn - lift the blades on your mower to a higher setting to allow your lawn to grow a little longer. This will also help reduce heat stress through the hotter months.
Mulch - apply a generous layer of mulch to retain the moisture in your garden beds, veggie patches and pots to save even more water. It’s also a great way to stop weeds.
Soil wetting agents - use a soil wetting agent to help to break down the waxy , water repellent layer that can develop on soil and potting mix. This helps make the most of any rain or irrigation by enabling water to penetrate the soil evenly and effectively.
Increase organic matter - soil that contains a lot of organic matter such as compost and organic soil improvers can hold more moisture.
Use polymer film such as Yates Droughtshield- during a drought, apply a specialised polymer film over the leaves of any sensitive plants in your garden. This will help to reduce moisture loss from leaves.
Don't waste water - instead of letting the cool water from your shower run down the drain while you wait for it to get hot, try placing a bucket underneath the water stream to catch it. You can then re-use this water for your garden.
Drought tolerant plants - choosing drought tolerant plants is the most successful way to ensure your garden survuves when water is scarce and there are plenty of beautiful varieties to choose from. Check out our list of Drought Tolerant plants.
Weeds - remove weeds as this reduces the competition with your wanted plants.