Saving water outdoors
You can reduce the amount of water you use outdoors in many small and big ways. Consider also the proactive ideas recommended below to ensure that you have water for your garden in the event of water restrictions.
- Install a rainwater tank to reduce your household’s yearly water needs and to conserve drinking water reserves. Read the guidelines below to learn more: Rainwater Tank Guidelines
- Use greywater when safe and environmentally sustainable. Read the guidelines below to learn more: Greywater reuse guidelines
- Water between 5pm and 10am to minimise evaporation. Watering thoroughly, less frequently helps encourage root systems downward. Making your garden more resilient during hot, dry spells. A 15 minute soak once a week is more beneficial than surface sprinkling each day.
- Use a broom to clean outdoor areas such as driveways and paths - put the hose away!
- Set your mower to a higher level in summer.A longer lawn needs less water, provides more shade for your soil and reduces evaporation.
- Use a pool cover to reduce water evaporation from your pool by 40% - 90%, depending upon the type of cover you use. Consider other shade options such as shade sails and thoughtful planting.
- Plan your garden with water conservation in mind. Some ideas are:
- Minimise lawn areas as they demand larger amounts of water.
- Choose plants for a purpose (such as privacy or shade) and group plants that demand large amounts of water together. Select native plants and shrubs that are indigenous to our local area and suitable for our climate. When watering, use trigger operated nozzles on hoses so you can effortlessly turn off the water between plants.
- Mulch garden beds to help soil retain moisture. Before watering, push aside the mulch and stick your finger into the soil - if it is moist below the surface there’s no need to water.
- Construct paved areas so that they slope towards your lawn or garden areas, rather than draining straight into the drainage system.
- Choose a water-efficient lawn best suited to your soil. Some pointers are:
- Warm season grasses such as Couch have the lowest water demand. They also have a high drought tolerance. Other warm season grasses such as Buffalo and Kikuyu have a moderate water demand and are reasonably drought resistant. Cool climate grasses such as ryegrass, and bent grass have high water use rates and only a fair to poor drought resistance. Seek advice from a professional lawn care expert or your local nursery before deciding on a lawn type for your backyard.
- Prepare your soil. Improved water efficiency can be achieved by adding a small amount of soil additive and organic matter, and rotary hoeing to a depth of 100 – 200mm. This encourages a deeper root systems and therefore a more efficient and resilient lawn.
- Careful maintenance of your lawn is essential. Don’t over-water, particularly in the evening as this can lead to fungal problems in your plants. Look for signs of miss-watering, such as brown patches which indicate poor water distribution or areas that are not “wettable” because of the soil type. Moss growing may indicate over-watering, poor drainage or insufficient sunlight reaching that area.