Efficient Watering Methods - Sustainable Gardening Australia


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Efficient Watering Methods - Sustainable Gardening Australia

  1. 1. Efficient watering methodsApproximately 25% of domestic Give yourself a tick if you:water gets used in the garden. Have 50% or more of your garden planted with low water use plantsSome of this water can be savedby treating soil so that water can Have less than 50% of your garden area taken up by lawnpenetrate it, using mulch to stop Have mulched all your garden beds and potswater evaporating, and installingefficient irrigation and good Don’t have a lawn, or if you do, cut your lawn long (8-10cm) over summergarden design. Water in the cool of the day Water around the plant root zone with long, infrequent watering Use a soaker hose or dripper system instead of sprays Have either a timer on your taps or shut off valves on your hoses Have a water tank for garden watering Use Environmental Protection Authority approved techniques or systems to recycle greywater from the laundry and bathroom to the garden Watering Score /10 Water Conservation Gardening 1
  2. 2. Watering tips 1. Install a rainwater tank to suit your 6. Use a trigger nozzle to ensure you 13. Plant wind breaks to reduce the wind’s garden watering needs, the size of don’t waste water while moving around drying effects on your garden. your house and the position of the garden. Always turn it off at the tap 14. Group together plants with similar down pipes. when you have finished in case the watering needs. 2. Check and clean your irrigation system hose springs a leak. 15. Choose local plants that have every spring. An efficient irrigation 7. If you are using a sprinkler use one lower watering needs and suit system can save up to 46,000 litres of that makes big drops of water rather drier conditions. water in your garden each year. than a fine mist which can be scattered 16. Remove weeds regularly as they 3. Use a drip watering system or porous by the wind or evaporate. compete with your plants and lawns hose which cuts wastage by ensuring 8. Use an inverted soft drink bottle to give for water. that the water only goes to where it is slow constant watering to annuals, 17. Check the weather forecast to avoid needed. ferns and roses. watering before rain. 4. Avoid micro-sprays. They waste 9. Position irrigation systems so that 18. Stop water evaporating before it up to 70% water through drift and water does not fall on paths, patios, reaches your plant roots by watering in evaporation and if the soil is mulched, driveways or buildings. the early morning or late evening. water will not penetrate to the soil. 10. Remember to reschedule your 5. Fit tap timers to make sure you don’t irrigation system for Winter and over-water and use rain and/or soil Summer conditions. moisture sensors in your garden 11. Use soil wetting agents to hold water in so that watering doesn’t occur the soil longer and closer to the plants. automatically when it is wet. 12. Use mulch on your garden beds.2 Water Conservation Gardening
  3. 3. Further Information City West Water Efficient Irrigation Fact Sheet Waterwise Gardening19. Water your garden and lawn less 23. Use a pool cover. This helps to prevent by Kevin Walsh often but more thoroughly. This will evaporation (especially on windy days) Waterwise House & Garden encourage your plants to extend their and reduces the need to regularly by Allan Windust roots deeper into the soil, making them top up your pool water level. Without Water Efficient Garden more drought resistant, hardier and a cover, over half of the water can by Wendy van Dok less thirsty. evaporate in a year.20. Target the root zone when watering 24. Do not empty your pool during winter. www.citywestwater.com.au your plants. There is no benefit to This can waste over 100,000 litres www.sgaonline.org.au spraying the leaves and flowers, of water which could be treated www.savewater.com.au in fact on hot, sunny days you will without emptying. cause damage.21. Put an ice-cream container on your lawn or garden before you turn on your irrigation system. When the water in the container is 10mm deep, you have watered long enough. After you have watered, dig down to see how far it has penetrated. It should be at least 10cm.22. Use a broom to clean paved surfaces such as driveways and paths and put the sweepings in your compost heap or use them as mulch. Water Conservation Gardening 3
  4. 4. Garden design When we establish our garden, overall garden You may have a fairly traditional English- You can gradually modify this style of design is often the last thing style garden with a large open lawn and garden to use less water. As the high we think about when it should flowerbeds of exotic plants around the water using plants die, replace them with be the first. It is important and outside. These types of gardens tend to plants that need less water. In autumn lookfun to develop a plan of how you need a lot of water and fertiliser. at moving your plants around to ensure they are grouped according to their water want your garden to look and needs. Gradually extend your garden beds feel, and think about how you to add interesting curves and reduce the can reduce water use in water-thirsty lawn area. In hard-wearing your garden. areas, such as a BBQ or around the clothes line, think about replacing worn turf with a permeable gravel or paving. If you are designing your garden from scratch you have a fantastic opportunity to create an interesting and vibrant water- smart garden. The garden design you choose will depend on many factors such as children, pets, if you entertain outdoors, or like to grow vegies. 4 Water Conservation Gardening
  5. 5. Think about your needs, the size of gardenarea you’d like, the type of plants you Give yourself a tick if you:like from the point of view of foliage and Have a plan of sun/shade, slope and soil variation in your gardenflowers, the kind of surface you preferand how much time you want to spend Have a rough planting plan that groups plants according tomaintaining your garden. Consider the their water needswater conservation information in this Have less than 50% lawnbooklet and incorporate as many aspectsas is practical for you. Have maximized the permeable surface e.g. replace concrete with gravelTake time to work out how you can createa garden that you feel comfortable with, Have designed your garden to have flow and interest to create appealyou will enjoy and that suits your local soiland climate. Garden Design Score /5 Water Conservation Gardening 5
  6. 6. Garden design tips 1. List what you need (e.g. shed, washing 4. Find a style you like which suits your line, kids swings, entertainment area) garden so all the paving, pots, water Further Information and what you want (e.g. vegie garden, features, and plants match, especially City West Water shade area, pond, fruit trees). in a courtyard garden. Garden Styles Fact Sheet 2. Do a site analysis, (e.g. sun, shade, 5. Make beds bigger and lawns smaller. The Australian Garden by Diana slope, privacy-all the problems that The best way to make bigger beds out Snape. need solving) which will tell you what of lawn space, is to mow the lawn low, your site will let you do. cover with 8-10 sheets of newspaper Beautiful Gardens with Less water 3. Do a scaled plan or mark out in the (overlapping), put 10-15cm pea straw by John Patrick garden what will go where, practically on top, wait 3-4 months and then plant Bold Romantic Gardens and where it looks best. For example, directly into it. The grass should have by Oehme Van Swede placing a new shed in a shady corner, all died. This must be done when the Browse through the library vegetables where they get full sun, a soil is moist, (autumn or winter). Plant pond where it can be seen from inside before November or the following the house, and a shade tree to the autumn. north of the house.6 Water Conservation Gardening
  7. 7. Caring for your soil Healthy soil holds water in the root zone where plants most need Generally soils fall into three main it. Healthy soil needs organic structural types based on the size of matter (mulch, compost, manure, grass grains – clay, loam and sand. The water clippings). Worms break this down to holding capacity of a soil directly relates make food for plants and their burrows to the soil type.allow air into the soil so the plant roots canbreath. Organic matter needs to be replaced regularly as the worms eat it and plants absorb the nutrients. If organic matter is not added, soil can become like concrete in the summer and turn into a sticky mess in the winter. Water Conservation Gardening 7
  8. 8. Clay soils Sandy soils Loam soils • Retain or hold nutrients and water • May have little organic matter • Thought to be ideal for growing pants • May have poor drainage • Allow rapid infiltration and drainage • Drain freely • May have low aeration of water • Hold moderate amounts of nutrients • May be difficult to cultivate, • Hold little water or nutrients and water, but not always but not always. • Easy to cultivate Well-structured clays and sandy loams If you have clay soil, adding organic matter Sandy soils benefit greatly from the with lots of organic matter are the best will improve it and you may want to add introduction of organic matter. soils for holding the largest amounts of gypsum to help break it up. This not helps water for plant growth. water gets in more easily, it also breaks up the crust that often forms and means water runs off the surface rather than soaks in. Give yourself a tick if you: Know your soil type Regularly add organic matter to your soil Have at least 3 worms in a spadeful of soil wherever you dig in the garden Only dig your soil when you have to Soil Score /48 Water Conservation Gardening
  9. 9. Soil improvement tips1. To improve your soil you need to know 2. Don’t cultivate your soil unless it is very what type of soil you have. If you are compacted after building works. Over- not sure take a sample to your local digging destroys the soil structure, garden center and they should be able therefore destroying the air holes to inform you of your soil type. and drainage spaces. This creates a ‘cloddy’ soil that is hard to work. Further Information The Natural Gardener by Jeffrey Hodges Gardening Down-Under by Kevin Handreck www.sgaonline.org.au Water Conservation Gardening 9
  10. 10. Compost and mulch Mulching performs a variety of functions in the garden. Compost Most importantly, it conserves soil moisture, reducing the Compost is one of the most affordable Regularly digging either home made or sources of organic matter available. commercial compost into your soil will amount of water we need to apply You can create soil-enriching compost greatly improve the ability of your soil to to our gardens and pots. Compost from such things as grass clippings, food hold water as well as provide valuable dug into your garden improves scraps, newspapers and garden prunings. nutrients for your plants. soil quality by helping to retain water, improving drainage and encouraging worms and other micro flora and fauna.10 Water Conservation Gardening
  11. 11. MulchUp to 73% of water can be evaporated Hardwood chips with no fine particles are Mulch with fine grade material has afrom the soil on a hot day if you do not generally the best ground cover mulch tendency to clump and become waterhave a protective layer of mulch on top. as they allow good air flow and let water repellent.Mulch has many beneficial effects. freely flow through to the ground below. After mulching don’t water your garden asNot only does it help prevent water loss often or you could drown your plants.from the soil, but many mulches addnutrients to the soil as they break downand can help to suppress weed growth. Give yourself a tick if you:There are different types of mulch that Use your compost as a fertiliser under mulch, mix it with potting mix inshould be used in different circumstances. containers, use it on top of seed beds in the vegetable garden or stew itGenerally peastraw and lucerne are best in water to make a liquid feedif you have not mulched the soil for a Use a worm farm if you live in an apartment or have a small gardenlong time, as they break down quicklyand it’s easier for the worms to eat. Have mulched all your garden beds and potsThese mulches are also rich in nutrients Check mulch levels and replace mulch every year to 8 -10cm deepand are ideal for vegie gardens. Know which are the best types of mulch for different types of plants Know at least 3 good things mulch does to reduce maintenance Compost/Mulch Score /6 Water Conservation Gardening 11
  12. 12. Composting and mulch tips 1. Your compost bin or heap should be 4. The soil needs to be damp before you on soil, not concrete, so it drains well add mulch, so late spring (November) Further Information and the worms and bacteria can enter is the best time to put on mulch once City West Water the bin to decompose the waste. the winter rains have soaked. Compost Made Easy Fact Sheet 2. All compost bins or heaps, need a 5. Local plants and natives like a City West Water Mulch Fact Sheet balance of materials that: relatively infertile soil so they prefer • are high in nitrogen, such as blood hardwood bark mulch once the soil Make your own Compost & bone or chook manure. has been improved with pea straw. by Yvonne Cave • contain carbon, such as dried leaves Gardening Down-Under or shredded newspapers. by Kevin Handreck • contain both carbon & nitrogen, such The Natural Magic of Mulch as kitchen scraps, pea straw and by Michael J. Roads green garden prunings. www.ecorecycle.vic.gov.au 3. In addition, the compost heap or bin needs: www.sgaonline.org.au • water, but only enough so that the contents are moist but not wet. • oxygen, from air, added by regularly turning over the contents of the heap. • warmth, by putting it in a sunny place. • to have easy access.12 Water Conservation Gardening
  13. 13. Greywater The domestic wastewater that comes Greywater is suitable for garden beds, For health reasons if you are using from the laundry and lawns and fruit trees. Systems can be greywater: bathroom is called ‘greywater’. as simple as a flow diversion fitting and 1. Don’t use nappy-wash water in Reusing wastewater from your hose fed by gravity. There are also more greywater. bathroom and laundry on the complex systems that involve a sump tank 2. Don’t allow children to play with or ingarden is an excellent way to save with sub surface agipipe irrigation. the greywater. water and money and unlike The type of greywater system you choose 3. Don’t allow pets to drink greywater. rainwater, it is available every will vary depending on the shape and type 4. Use subsurface distribution such as time you shower or wash. of garden you have. Seek the advice of an porous hoses or drippers beneath a irrigation consultant at a garden center. layer of mulch. Although kitchen water is technically 5. Avoid applying greywater to edible termed ‘greywater’, it is not suitable to use parts of vegetables. on gardens because of the presence of 6. Don’t allow greywater to leave your particles of food and fats. property. It is best to avoid irrigating gardens 7. Plumbing regulations state that all when the following are in your drainage and water supply work must greywater: washing detergents with high be carried out by a licensed plumber. phosphorous levels, bleaches and other disinfectants and fats (from soaps). For further information www.epa.vic.gov.au Water Conservation Gardening 13
  14. 14. Low water use plants There is a huge range of low Indigenous Plants: are local plants suited Native Plants: A wide range of water use plants for all types of to the local soil and climate. They do not Australian native plants are suited to gardens – from local indigenous require large amounts of nutrients and dry conditions and a reasonable range plants, to Australian natives as once established, little water. There are of soil types. These include Eucalypts, many beautiful plants local to Melbourne’s Wattles, Banksias, Bottlebrushes well as plants from other parts inner and western suburbs. Many of these (Callistemon spp), Grevilleas, Native of the world. As long as they plants offer shelter and are important fushias (Correa spp), and Kangaroo are not environmental weeds, food sources for local birds, insects, paws (Anigozanthus spp). These plants and have similar water and soil reptiles and animals. Examples include: work well in any garden and are great requirements, you can mix and Purple coral pea (Hardenbergia violacea), for attracting birds and butterflies. match a large variety of plants Creeping bossiaea (bossiaea prostrata), to create a diverse and Cut-leaf daisy (Brachyscome multifida) interesting garden. and Tufted bluebells (Wahlenbergia communis).14 Water Conservation Gardening
  15. 15. Succulent and foliage pants: Theseplants have become extremely popularduring the last few years as we all try toconserve water. They do well in containersand in contemporary style gardens. Somegreat examples include Yuccas, Cycads,Agaves, Escheverias, and various Flax.Grey leaf plants: Plants with greyor silvery leaves cope well with heatand drought as well as adding foliage Give yourself a tick if youand texture variation in a garden.Examples include Lavenders (but not Have more than 50% of your garden planted with low water use plantsItalian lavender as it is an environmental Have made a planting plan for a new or established garden to suit lowweed), Westringia, Lambs ears water use plants(Stachys byzantina) and Bearded iris. Have reduced your lawn area to less than 50% of total garden area Have grouped your plants according to their water, sun and nutrient needs Regularly observe native birds, reptiles, insects and animals in your garden Plant Score /5 Water Conservation Gardening 15
  16. 16. Plant tips 1. Autumn is the ideal time to plant. Never plant in summer. Further Information 2. There is a tree to fit every size garden. City West Water Trees provide shade, leaves for mulch, Planting Over Easements Fact Sheet habitat for wildlife, produce oxygen City West Water and use up carbon dioxide, and can Garden Styles Fact Sheet provide fruit. If possible plant a native or indigenous tree. Grow What Where 3. Native, indigenous and exotics can by Australian Plant Study Group be used together to create successful Australian Plants for Mediterranean gardens, but care is needed at the Climate Gardens planning stage. by Rodger Elliot www.sgaonline.org.au Your local council may be able to provide you with a plant list of Local Indigenous Plants.16 Water Conservation Gardening
  17. 17. Lawn and alternatives Traditional You may want to consider a native Or you may prefer to do away with a turf lawns are often grass lawn. One of the most successful lawn/plant alternative altogether. Lawn high water users and native grasses that creates the look areas can be replaced with gravel, granitic can look unsightly during of a traditional lawn is weeping grass sand, pavers or mulch chips. If you are (Microlaena stipoides). It can be mown laying pavers, it is important to direct water restrictions and times regularly and will grow well in a wide range water onto garden beds or keep it on site of low-rainfall. There are a of soils. Weeping grass is drought, frost by planting mondo grass for example, in number of traditional lawn and shade tolerant, but does not cope with between pavers. There are also permeable turfs that are relatively low heavy traffic or dog urine. It is excellent for pavers on the market that allow water to water users including a front lawn and can be grown from seed seep through the paver to the soil below. Sir Walter Buffalo. or plugs. If you like clumps of tussocky grasses then kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra), Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia spp.) and common tussock grass (Poa spp.) are great alternatives. You can also use groundcover plants that form dense mats, don’t require mowing and perform well in the shade. Examples include: kidney plant (Dichondra repens), creeping boobialla (Myoporum parvifolia) and native mint (Mentha diemenica). Water Conservation Gardening 17
  18. 18. Water conservation gardening score card Conduct a sustainability audit Section Now 6 months 12 months on your garden by counting up the number of ticks you have Garden Design (5) achieved for each section and Watering (10) add up your total. Make a note Soil (4) of what you have to do to score more ticks in 6 months and Compost & Mulch(5) 12 months time. You can then Plants (5) start working towards making Total (25) your garden more sustainable.18 Water Conservation Gardening
  19. 19. Your notes Water Conservation Gardening 19
  20. 20. For more information please contact City West Water: City West Water Ltd. ABN 70 066 902 467 247-251 St Albans Rd Sunshine VIC 3020 Account and General Enquiries: 131 691 Emergencies (24 hours): 1800 132 642 or 13WATER Interpreter Service: 131 45020 Water Conservation Gardening