Garden Watersaver - Gold Coast, Australia


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Garden Watersaver - Gold Coast, Australia

  1. 1. Value. Plan. Conserve.Garden Watersaver
  2. 2. Garden Watersaver contents "The looming water crisis is one of the most critical challenges facing the world today. Introduction 01 Without better management of water 1 Planning and Design 02resources and related ecosystems, two thirds of humanity will suffer from severe or Example 1 - Lifestyle Garden 06 moderate shortages by the year 2025." 2 Soil and Drainage 08 Director-General UNESCO World Water Day 2002 Example 2 - Courtyard Garden 10 3 Choosing Plants/ Planting 12 4 Mulch 16 5 Lawns 17 6 Watering the Sensible Way 18 Example 3 - Suburban Garden 20 Example 4 - Oriental Garden 22 7 Types of Watersaver gardens 24 8 Additional Watersaver Techniques 25 Example 5 - Large Garden 26 Appendix 1 - Watersaver Plant Guide 28 Appendix 2 - Watersaver Product Guide 30 Contacts and Acknowledgements 31
  3. 3. INTRODUCTIONWater is a precious resource. It is also a THE BETTER WAY TO GARDENvital part of our Gold Coast lifestyle. We Traditional English gardens struggle in ourmust therefore work together to conserve subtropical climate, where Australianwater where we can. natives survive, as do species from places with similar climates.One place where we can save water is inour gardens. By simply implementing water So even though we live in the dry land,saving techniques like mulching and Watersaver gardens can survive on whatchoosing plants that suit our climate, we Mother Nature delivers.will reduce the amount of water needed byour gardens. THE GARDENING GUIDE Watersaver gardening is exciting,THE DRY FACTS challenging and sustainable.Australia is the driest inhabited continenton earth. The inspiring stories of Gold Coast gardeners in this guide reflect creativity,According to the Bureau of Meteorology, imagination, individual style and practicalAustralia has an annual rainfall averaging advice with stunning results.only 470mm. Putting this in perspective,the global average annual rainfall is The spectacular photos are living proof that1,050mm (World Meteorological Watersaver gardening works.Organisation). So lets change forever the way we look atThe dryness of our land is further enhanced water and see how green our gardens grow!by high evapotranspiration rates, which isthe combination of water lost throughevaporation and transpiration from plants.As a result, there are low amounts of runoffinto streams and rivers (11% of averagerainfall) and low replenishment ofgroundwater (1% of average rainfall).Australia represents approximately 5% ofthe worlds land area yet we only have 1% ofthe global river runoff. We must thereforebe even more careful to use watersparingly. 1
  4. 4. 1 PLANNING&DESIGN The secret to great gardens is planning. If the PROPERTY CHARACTERISTICS design is right, our gardens will look good When designing, consider property even without much water. characteristics such as the position of the sun in summer and winter, areas prone to wind When not starting from scratch, small changes and rain, flat or sloping land, the best views, such as regrouping existing plants or replacing entertaining areas and the type of soil. some lawn with pebbles or permeable paving, can cut water use. The garden microclimate or environment is affected by rainfall, temperature, light, heat, Permeable paving is designed to allow water shade, humidity, wind, slope, nearby to infiltrate into the ground as shown structures and groundcovers. opposite. Areas under eaves may be hot and dry, or cool LIFESTYLE and dry. Garden beds near paving are warmer Our gardens mirror our lifestyles so its than those near the lawn or in the open. important to create something that fits. Large trees provide their own shady Whether a large block or courtyard, the style microclimate. A wall facing the sun provides a will depend on your time, budget and warm microclimate for subtropical plants and lifestyle. an area in full shade behind a stone or brick These factors and the style of home will wall will be cooler. determine whether permeable paved areas, a Understand and use the microclimates to veggie patch, natives, succulents or water plant a water efficient garden by matching tolerant perennials and annuals, become a plants to their preferred conditions. part of our garden rooms. Southern areas in Gold Coast gardens tend to LIFESTYLE FACTORS TO CONSIDER: be shady, cold and less exposed, whereas Time for gardening north and westerly aspects can be hot and Landscaping budget exposed to dry winds in summer. Consider Pictures: A. An example of Outdoor entertainment coastal winds which carry salt and strong Watersaver permeable Play room for children or pets winds, which can damage and stunt growth. paving design which allows water to soak into Style of home the ground. Storage and utility area for drying clothes Tip Combine the ideas and needs of everyone in the household as the base for the design.2 A. 3
  5. 5. Lawns guzzle water, particularly in summer. 1 PLANNING&DESIGN (cont.) GENERAL GARDEN DESIGN PRINCIPLES Think microclimate - thirsty plants do better Have a master plan. in cooler areas at the bottom of slopes or Consider rooms to create interest and along the edges of natural watercourses and blend the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. drains. Match the garden to the house - define garden spaces, create a focal point and Wider garden beds make watering easier and blend colour and texture with plants. reduce runoff. Create a balanced and harmonious space Establish a low or no watering zone in the that is practical and reflects your utility area. personality. CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES TO PLANTING MINIMISE LAWN Create more permeable paved and mulched Lawns guzzle water, particularly in summer. areas without increasing hot spots. Alternatives include pebbles and permeable paving, softened with suitable groundcovers Gravel allows rain to seep into soil and nearby between stones and around edges (eg mondo plant roots. grass). Impermeable paved areas which dont allow Artificial grass or pinebark mulch is safe, a water to soak into the ground, are easy to Watersaver and a great alternative under maintain but create runoff when it rains. childrens playgrounds. Design paths to direct runoff to the garden beds. CHOOSE WATERSAVER PLANTS Natives to south east Queensland. Avoid impermeable paving which leads water Other Australian natives and exotics suited directly to stormwater drains. to the Gold Coast climate. Dark paving and walls absorb more heat than Plants suited to garden microclimates. lighter coloured ones. POSITION & PLANT CORRECTLY CREATE SHADE & SHELTER Moderately dense, consolidated and well Windbreaks, pergolas, screens, lattice, shade mulched planting is more water efficient than cloth and vines shelter the house, outdoor sparse, scattered planting. living areas and plants. Group plants in watering zones or according to Less heat, more shade and wind protection their water needs. saves water. Dense planting of a few varieties can be more Deciduous and evergreen trees create cool striking than a mix of many varieties. gardens in summer and warm ones in winter. Tip Appraise gardens in winter when there are fewer flowers and less leaves on deciduous trees to distract from the "bones" of the garden.4 5
  6. 6. EXAMPLE 1 - LIFESTYLE GARDEN COLIN & TONI NIXON SIZE 1.25 acres ESTABLISHED 2001 WATERING minimal (utilise water from biocycle) MAINTENANCE mulching, pruning PLANT LIST mixture of natives, fruit trees, citrus trees, succulents and hardy, drought tolerant flowering species Colin and Toni Nixon planted their Tallai "We cant believe it. Two years in a drought lifestyle garden in the middle of a drought, and we were away for months. went overseas for several months and came "Mulching saves and holds moisture. Simply, back to thriving growth and colour. it does what nature does. Plants such as the They were amazed the garden survived the agapanthus hold the soil together and after harsh drought conditions, but it reinforced they flower I just dead-head them. The their choice of design and Watersaver frangipanis, you just stick in the ground. The "Minimal water use. planting. cacti garden, you can do some ornamental Their lifestyle garden, including a courtyard things with and because we are on rubble Thats what weve tried to achieve." and pool is a collection of rooms - native, the drainage is good for plants that dont like fruit, citrus, succulents and drought tolerant wet feet." flowering species. It is simple, colourful and She said the garden is still developing. water efficient. "You have to think about what you put in. I "We initially only had soil and rubble so had find that small plants adapt much better to build it up from there," said Mrs Nixon. than planting mature plants. "It was a bit of a horror story really. There "Minimal water use. Thats what weve tried was no grand plan as such. to achieve." "We planted in sections. We call them rooms The Nixons tap into the water from their and weve used three types of ground cover, biocycle (mini treatment plant), mulch and which retains the moisture in the soil and prune when necessary and build on their stops the weeds. We planted the ground rooms slowly. cover first. This gave good coverage with no Many of their ideas were created from the bare earth to dry out." varied styles they came across on their The Nixons researched, read and chose travels. plants to suit their lifestyle. While natives "In an area like this where there is so much include a variety of banksias, grevillea, development, water tanks should be callistemon, silky oak and westringia, the incorporated into the building. There are non-native species include oleander, ways of building water tanks into the house agapanthus, frangipani, cacti, wisteria, without detracting from the design so this conifers, palms and succulents. water can be used in the garden," she said. Paw-paw, mango, fig and avocado trees line Colin and Tonis top tips to gardening the fruit area and lime, lemon and mandarin include: trees adorn the citrus section. Be knowledgeable - get a good gardening "The natives look after themselves and we book and learn about plants. dont have to weed or water because of the Choose your plants from within that groundcover. In fact, during the drought we knowledge and not just because they have havent had to water the whole back section. pretty flowers.6 7
  7. 7. 2 SOIL&DRAINAGE Rich soil and water are the lifeblood of Good drainage will ensure puddles and gardens, especially in dry conditions. flooding do not result from landscaping. Plants in fertile soil, full of nutrients, organic On steep slopes and banks, use mulch mats to matter, microorganisms, soil structure and secure plants until they take hold. Its cheap texture, survive on less water. and easy. Rocks and retaining walls help hold water in upper garden beds and raised garden SOIL TYPES beds create better drainage. Suckering and The three main garden soils are clay-based, tufted groundcovers are also hardy stabilisers. loamy or sandy. They vary in texture and how much water they can retain. The soil types in Naturally sandy soils drain quickly, while clay different parts of the garden may also vary. soils can become damp and muddy giving drought tolerant plants wet feet. Some SIMPLE SOIL TEST underground drainage may be needed for slow Take a handful of soil and add enough water draining soil high in clay, especially on flat to mould into a ball. land, where water could pool. Sandy - crumbles, is light coloured, has little or no smell, is low in nutrients and Consult a licensed plumber for drainage work. drains quickly. Loamy - forms a crumbly ball, is usually SOIL IMPROVEMENT/MAINTENANCE brown, has an earthy smell, adequate If the garden is bone dry beneath the surface nutrients and drains well. just after watering or rain, chances are the Clay - balls easily, ranges from white to red soil is sandy and has become hydrophobic or or dark brown, is high in nutrients, but water repellent. becomes hard and resistant to water when Wetting agents will increase moisture take up. dry. Water crystals swell to absorb moisture and SOIL PREPARATION act as a reservoir, while water cells have Boost soil health and nourish microorganisms exceptional water holding qualities. For a full by adding organic matter. Leaf mould, manure list of Watersaver products see Appendix 2. or compost help retain moisture and nutrients. That means using less water and fertilisers, SOIL pH PH is the acidity or alkalinity of soil, a value particularly during dry spells. between 1 (acidic) and 14 (alkaline), and As most plants feed in the top 15-20 cm of should be checked with a pH tester. Most soil, enhance this level with organics. plants grow best in neutral soil - not too acidic or alkaline (pH level about 7). Rather than A combination of gypsum, sand and composted changing the soil pH, because it will always organic matter produce the best results in clay revert to the original level, select suitable soils. plants. Lime helps break down organic matter Types of soils: in acidic or sour soils. A. Clay B. Loamy DRAINAGE Tip Mix organics with soil when planting to encourage the spread of roots. Otherwise they may grow only in the good soil and become root bound. A. B.8 9
  8. 8. EXAMPLE 2 - COURTYARD GARDEN TED & YVONNE HANIFIN SIZE courtyard garden in small unit block ESTABLISHED in 1996, ever changing to suit climate WATERING minimal MAINTENANCE mulching, pruning, replanting to utilise drought resistant species PLANT LIST predominantly succulents with a mixture of natives, citrus trees and drought tolerant flowering species. Yvonne Hanifin has always loved gardens and "Gardening has been a hobby all my life. gardening. Sometimes I can be out here half a day. I only spend the time because it suits me." Her enthusiasm and artistic streak are evident in her small courtyard gardens Yvonne varies the types of mulches she uses, design and her choice of plants. Garden selecting stones or gravel for some garden beds, rockeries and paths are rounded and beds and also varying her choice of natural sweeping, leading to focal points. fertilisers. She has painted her garden ornaments and mixes her own organic sprays On the outset of Gold Coasts worst drought which include chillies, cooking oils and on record, Yvonne minimised her lawn areas water. and cut out a tree that used too much water. "Above all, I must have a good garden view "Weve done everything ourselves in the out of every window or glass door. Its like garden. There is nothing here that was here another room, but its outside and like you when we came. We took everything out," change the furniture inside, I like to change says Yvonne. the garden outside." "What Im doing now is going in for a lot of Yvonnes main tips for a healthy succulents because they dont require much Watersaver garden include: water. Read, ask for advice and dont be afraid to experiment. "People have said that my artistic background can be seen in how I plan and Mulch - her favourite is sugar cane mulch. plant. I try to be original. I like breaking the Fertilise the lawn with an organic product line by using rounded and sweeping areas. before heavy rains. I never have straight lines, they jar you." Use water crystals or wetting agents. Her garden is a mixture of shrubs, trees, bougainvilleas, succulents, natives, citrus trees, potted plants and beautiful miniature topiaries. Planning included research on what should be in the sun or shade. "I read a lot and go to the nurseries to pick their brains. Its a combination of trial and error and the right advice.10 11
  9. 9. Watersaver plants include agave, agapanthus, bouganvillea, yucca and banksia. 3 CHOOSINGPLANTS/PLANTING Plant selection is a personal preference. GENERAL RULES Luckily the choices of Watersaver plants to Whether native or exotic, choose plants for suit your garden, lifestyle and property are the: many and diverse. Climate Garden location Watersaver plants include agave, agapanthus, Garden microclimates bouganvillea, yucca and banksia. Soil type - improve soil with organics and Plants from other countries with similar check the pH level climates such as South Africa, Mexico and Garden topography California, are also drought tolerant. They Lifestyle include groundcovers, climbers and shrubs of varying sizes and foliage colour. The most water efficient plants need occasional watering over summer and, So much to choose from - but dont despair depending on the weather, will survive solely -the local garden centre, horticulturalist or on rainfall. landscape designer can give you detailed advice. Refer to Appendix 1 for a list of Watersaver plants. WHAT MAKES PLANTS WATER EFFICIENT? Characteristics of water efficient plants include: Deep root systems Thick fleshy leaves Grey, silvery leaves Shiny or waxy coatings on leaves Hairy or felty foliage (select carefully as not all are suited to Gold Coasts climate) Small leaves which reduce evaporation12 13
  10. 10. 3 CHOOSINGPLANTS/PLANTING (cont.) PLANT TYPES WATER ZONING Annuals have short life spans, usually less than Water zoning is vital for Watersaver a year, and need lots of water. gardening. Perennials live more than a year and are the Group plants according to their water needs best option for gardeners with little time as to maximise water efficiency - garden beds they need less water and maintenance with water guzzlers amid hardy plants, are compared to annuals. not water efficient. POT PLANTS / HANGING BASKETS Ultimately, choose plants with medium to low Pot plants have less soil to grow in and hold water needs. If thirsty plants are included, less water between drinks so avoid porous place them in shady, wind-sheltered, flat pots such as terracotta unless they are sealed areas for the most Watersaver benefits. and waterproofed. PLANTING TECHNIQUES Glazed and plastic pots work best. Water Ensure new plants are Watersavers. Where crystals and wetting agents help to retain possible, plant between late summer and mid water longer in the potting mix. autumn to establish roots before the dry winter. See Appendix 2 for a list of Watersaver Dig the right hole - at least 3 times the products. diameter of the pot and roughen the edges. The hole should not be deeper than the pot. THREATENED, RARE & ENDANGERED SPECIES The soil below can be loosened but dont dig The Gold Coast is a city of rich biodiversity it out. and planting threatened, rare or endangered species will contribute to local and global Fertilise - Dont add fertiliser into the conservation. bottom of the hole. Fertilise on the surface and around the plant base after roots are For more information on selection, planting established. and care, contact specialist nurseries. Take care transplanting - Keep pots out of ENVIRONMENTAL WEEDS the hot sun before planting. Handle the new Environmental weeds are introduced plants roots with care to avoid damage. that out compete local native plants. Fill the hole carefully - Press the soil lightly In gardens they dominate water and soil around the new plant. Mulch the surface nutrients to the detriment of other plants away from the plant trunk. and, in the bush, they threaten entire Water correctly - Water new plants in. ecosystems. Dont let gardens be breeding Regular, deep watering during the first grounds for invasive environmental pests. season will establish roots and promote Further information on environmental weeds drought tolerance in future seasons. can be found on the Department of Natural Adding seaweed solution encourages root Resources and Mines website: growth and water efficiency more quickly. Dig the right hole - at least 3 times the diameter of the pot and roughen the edges.14 15
  11. 11. 4 MULCH 5 LAWNS Mulch is the magic ingredient in Watersaver TYPES OF MULCH We love our lawns - theyre an Aussie Keep lawns at least 4cm long to shade the gardens. It reduces evaporation by 70%, helps Organic mulches include pine bark mulch, bark tradition. Ideally though, our lawn areas roots and retain moisture - less mowing. conserve water, limits weed growth and, when chips, compost, leaf mould, lawn clippings, should be kept to a minimum or even replaced mixed with organic materials, encourages pea straw, stable straw, lucerne, sugar cane, entirely with groundcovers, pebbles and Fertilise during downpours. earthworms and microorganisms for a healthy seaweed, mushroom compost, hay, feathers, permeable paving. Just think - no mowing! garden. eucalyptus mulch, manure and paper. Mow early or late in the day and keep Replacing the lawn with a garden will reduce mower blades sharp to reduce lawn stress. Mulch is any material that acts as an insulator Some water absorbing mulches such as paper, straw and uncomposted lawn clippings can traffic noise, increase privacy, add interest between the sun and soil. It reduces runoff Never cut off more than 1/3 of the leaf become water repellent if not dried out and create a living fence. and protects root systems from rapid blade. temperature changes by keeping the soil cool. before use. Ideally it consists of large, irregularly shaped Permeable paving is practical for utility areas, Pine bark or wood chips are not suitable for Aerate the lawn and compacted soil with a particles that allow water to run through to under washing lines and for entertaining vegetable patches as these mulches should not pitchfork or aerating sandals. the soil. areas. be dug into the soil. Brown grass lives - it is dormant and will HOW TO MULCH Before mulching, weed and break up the soil Inorganic mulches include gravel, crushed MUST DO LAWN TIPS regenerate with rain. then water the area well to ensure the mulch rock, crushed brick, river pebbles, broken Choose a drought resistant grass such as Sir traps the moisture. glass, weed mat and marble chips. Walter. Spread a mulch layer 50-100mm thick over the They are great for desert and dry land plants Keep lawns level for increased absorption planted area. that dont like the humidity generated by and minimal runoff. organic mulches. Leave a breathing space of 50mm around stems and trunks or it may cause fungal rot Aggregate materials are an environmentally and kill the plant. friendly choice because river pebbles are a scarce natural resource. Raking or turning the mulch may damage fine feeder roots. Living mulches include low growing, water efficient, dense groundcovers, such as Some mulch that hasnt been composted can grevilleas that wont overcompete with the cause short term nitrogen loss from the soil, so rest of the garden. put nitrogen back with blood and bone. Brown grass lives - it is dormant Apply mulch before the dry season, that is, winter. Reapply organic mulch at least once a and will regenerate with rain. year. Tip Dont use black plastic as mulch. It doesnt breathe or drain water.16 17
  12. 12. C. 6 WATERINGTHESENSIBLEWAY Gardens appreciate every precious drop of HOW MUCH TO WATER sensible watering, that is, one good drink a Generally speaking, plants only need a week or less. Sensible watering promotes standard drink of 10mm, depending on soil stronger and deeper root growth making the types and conditions. This is enough to soak plant more resilient to dry times. 15-20cm into the feeder root zone. Anything more is wasted. Thorough watering, less often, trains plants to be Watersavers because their roots search Newly established plants may need more deep in the soil. Less water, more often, water until they are established. However, creates shallow roots and exposure to sun, correct plant selection, positioning, mulching heat and burning. and composting will conserve water. Water crystals are ideal for pot plants and More plants die from over watering than around less hardy garden plants. They swell under watering. Too much water can also when watered to provide a reservoir in the create excessive plant growth, requiring more soil to retain water. pruning, trimming and weeding. HOW TO WATER WHEN TO WATER Water the soil around the plant root zone only An early morning or late afternoon/evening - watering between plants is a waste and soak once a week, or less, is enough and encourages weeds. Water on plant foliage minimises evaporation. evaporates. After rain, soil may retain water. To check, A Root Irrigator is ideal because its probe conduct a soil moisture test with your finger delivers water straight to the root system. A by pushing it a few centimetres into the soil. Trigger Wand, fitted with a flow control If cool and grainy, it doesnt need water. Pictures: nozzle, targets water to the base of the A & B. Adding Most native plants are adapted to survive on Watersaver products to plant. the soil increases water the Gold Coasts rainfall and do not need efficiency. Use a soft spray at a low flow rate to avoid added water. runoff. C. The root irrigator. See Appendix 2 for the Watersaver product list. Tip Soil moisture testers indicate the level of moisture in the soil so you know when to water. A. B.18 19
  13. 13. EXAMPLE 3 - SUBURBAN GARDEN ROBERT CODDINGTON SIZE sustainable suburban backyard ESTABLISHED eight years old WATERING minimal, uses a water probe MAINTENANCE two hours per week, mulching, pruning PLANT LIST only natives When Robert Coddington bought his Ashmore hibiscus, gardenias, camellia, emu bushes and home on a sloping suburban block from his 20 native species on the rare and endangered father in 1994, the garden was a water reliant list. rainforest with staghorns, elkhorns and "I pick plants that are native. I buy everything orchids. I can in tubes, ‘pot them on’ and monitor the Much to his fathers horror, Robert chopped water intake so they are hardy and tough down, chain sawed and mulched the lot. when placed in the ground. He was on a mission to design and develop a "I only put two hours per week into low maintenance, sustainable and Watersaver maintaining the garden. native garden - something he says most Gold "We are descendants from English country Coasters can achieve. gardeners and so tend to plant varieties that "Dad had won the Gold Coast Garden use too much water. We cant afford to do Competition seven years running before I this. Australia is the driest inhabited bought this (his) house. The garden was continent on earth," he laments. basically a rainforest," says Robert. "I was born on the Gold Coast and my parents "Over two weekends I hired a chain saw, cut and family lived here. I recall as a child the everything down and got a tree lopping daily summer thunderstorms but our weather company over and ran it all through their is changing and therefore we must change our mulcher... nothing is wasted in this garden." habits. Robert transformed the downward sloping "I get personal enjoyment from my garden, its "I pick plants that are native." backyard into tiers so that water can naturally a form of escapism," he says. drain from the top to the bottom of the According to Robert anybody can be a garden. Plants needing the least water have gardener. Vital tools are patience, trial and been planted high and those needing the most error and learning from other people. at the bottom. Plants have been carefully chosen for Roberts tips for a successful native productivity, the environment and to minimise Australian garden include: water consumption. Work out where the sun rises and sets. The lawn has been done away with to create Source plants to suit the environment. an efficient use of space, a peaceful, Be patient. Dont try to do it in one hit - its functional garden and a magnet for birds. a long term project so plan. The garden includes 200 individual plants Only water when your plants need it. from 57 species, including 125 varieties of Dont use chemicals as they can be harmful grevillea. Other species include native to wildlife. Let nature take its course.20 21
  14. 14. EXAMPLE 4 - ORIENTAL GARDEN BERNARD & JOAN HOLLAND SIZE 400 square metres block ESTABLISHED 2000 WATERING minimal MAINTENANCE 1 hour per week (10 minutes to mow) PLANT LIST a mixture of drought tolerant species The Hollands garden contains oriental, keep in moisture, planter boxes made from Japanese, European, English and Australian second hand bricks, and tiles in various sections complete with the related plants, complementing colours. carvings, features, furniture, lighting and The front oriental garden is trimmed and music to set the scene and transport your pruned and features a bridge. A second senses. bridge leads to the front door. Bernard and Joan built on their 400 metre An old world charm garden, incorporating square block in 2000. recycled timber doors and sculptures that "The garden comes out of nothing really, but scream authentic, takes up a narrow strip on the best secret of all is you have to have one side of the house. good organic garden soil," says Bernard. A manicured Japanese garden occupies half His other secret is framing each section by of the backyard and includes hand carved creating features out of second hand statues, lacquered bamboo blinds covering materials such as timber, columns, brick, the traditional Aussie backyard fence, water bamboo blinds, iron pieces out of railway features and timber benches constructed sleepers, old louvers, tiles and fence palings from second hand fence palings. used as backdrops for the separate scenes The garden shed cannot be picked with the and to hide fences and the garden shed. naked eye. It has been covered and painted The plants range from agapanthus for with a restful scene, with columns and other impact, to mondo grass as border plants, sculptures added to give the feel of being in bougainvilleas, bambinos, lilipillies and Greece. Australian grass trees. "Water tolerant plants are vital for small "What I want is time to enjoy my garden. I spend about one hour per week in the "Water tolerant plants are gardens," says Bernard. garden and it takes me just 10 minutes to vital for small gardens." mow it. Its practically maintenance free. "Im not a plant expert but we have tried to select drought tolerant plants. We chose the "Above all, if youve done a garden and down flowery varieties that dont take a lot of the track its not what you want, you dont water. have to wear it. So what if you have to dig up a bit of concrete to change it. Just go for "Mulching is always very important and I it." mulch at least twice a year. You dont have to be a fanatical gardener to make it work. Bernards top tips include: Sometimes I pull things apart and start again Use organic garden soil for a good base. after 12 months." Plant according to sun and shade. The two-tiered back garden has minimal Select drought tolerant plants. lawn and includes winding paths, stones to Mulch at least twice annually and prune.22 23
  15. 15. 7 TYPESOFWATERSAVERGARDENS 8 ADDITIONALWATERSAVERTECHNIQUES Imagination, preparation and dedication blend garden of succulents and cacti or combine Even with a Watersaver garden, there are Creating shallow, inaccessible water to create vibrant and healthy Watersaver exotics with Australian natives for a blend of more ways to save water outdoors. features, or larger ones within fenced gardens. Once established, they are hardier cultures. areas, increases child safety. and less work than gardens of thirsty POOLS & SPAS However, tread carefully as some exotic flowering annuals. Covers on pools and spas reduce OTHER WATER SAVING TIPS plants, like the common agapanthus, do so evaporation drastically. With an average Wash cars and boats on the lawn using NATIVES well here they could become weeds if not environmentally friendly products - it also Native plants endemic to south east pool, around 66,000 litres of water can be controlled. Plants with weed-like features Queensland grow well, attract birds and saved each year. waters the lawn. should not be grown. See the environmental support native wildlife. weed section on page 14. Keep the pool water level halfway up the Fix leaking taps - inside and outside. skimmer opening. Overfilling stops the Sweep paved and tiled areas. Leaf blowers There are varieties to suit sun and shade, Desert and sand dune plants which usually skimmer working and wastes water. also work well. sloping and level ground, coastal winds and grow flat and spread, make good ground different soils. They need less fertiliser, which Mark the pool water level on the skimmer To water or not to water - monitor the covers and great pot plants. helps protect our precious waterways and and check it 24 hours later. It shouldnt lose weather and/or moisture test the soil. If marine life from stormwater pollution. GARDEN ROOMS more than 62 millimetres (1/4 inch) each rain is predicted, dont water. Garden rooms can be visually spectacular, day. Fertilise the lawn in the rain. However, when choosing native plants from Watersavers and created to suit microclimates. Proper pool maintenance alleviates draining other areas - the tropical north, arid inland or Learn more about gardening through the and refilling. local nursery or library. the cooler south - check whether they will For example, a Mexican style courtyard of tolerate the Gold Coast climate and soil types succulents and cacti can set off an otherwise WATER FEATURES Enjoy and observe seasonal changes to without additional water and work. native garden. Contrasting pebbles and Up to 50% of water in fountains evaporates discover what works best. brightly decorated pots add impact. A on hot days, so choose a shady, sheltered EXOTICS subtropical or tropical garden may suit the spot. Many exotic plants, say from South Africa, shady southern side of the house, while an Reduce evaporation by creating smaller central Americas and the Mediterranean, also oriental style garden, with ornamentals and a features and/or using water plants. do well on the Gold Coast. water feature, may make a stunning, soothing Create a Mexican theme, a room of exotics, a entrance. If rain is predicted, dont water.24 25
  16. 16. EXAMPLE 5 - LARGE GARDEN JOHN HORNSEY SIZE native rainforest garden on 11 acres ESTABLISED 25 years old WATERING minimal MAINTENANCE mulching, pruning, weeding as needed PLANT LIST predominantly native rainforest species endemic to the McPherson Ranges, such as ashes, rosewoods, lilypilly, native grasses and groundcovers "We dont use much water John Hornsey has dedicated 25 years to Moreton Bay Fig, several species on the rare and are very aware of its value." creating his sacred garden at Clagiraba - a and endangered list, bunya pines, foam peaceful native rainforest where many of barks, lilypilly, ashes, rosewoods and black the thousands of trees have been planted in bean trees. memory of births, deaths and special "Im not sure how many species there are, occasions of family members, friends and but there are thousands of plants and almost pets. entirely native rainforest species from this In 1980, when he and his young family area. I buy from the local nurseries that moved onto the 11 acre property, it was a specialise in native rainforest plants and cow paddock overgrown with lantana. there would not be many species that arent He single handedly cleared the land, endemic to the region. designed and began planting his sacred "Ive got the time and the passion. Its not native rainforest. everybodys thing and I like people to come "When we arrived, there were hardly any around and have a look. trees, mainly lantana. I dont use heavy "In drought, trees do suffer and you suffer machinery or chainsaws. I cleared the with them. During these times we have to lantana by hand. Im quite patient," he says. readjust our expectations. Gardens cant "Ive gardened seven acres of the 11 acre look beautiful all the time and I am amazed block. Ive planted thousands of trees. at what nature can do. "I spend three to four hours each day in my "Unfortunately a lot of people on acreage garden, mainly because I do things the old blocks treat them as suburban blocks, which fashioned way. I carefully and individually is what I did to start with. I used to walk a hand water each plant. I ensure that I get to lot in the Lamington National Park and this is the very heart of the plant. where I got a feel and a sense of what goes where. But there is no chance of creating a A creek cascades over a series of small native garden without mulch." waterfalls during heavy rain and there are four dams that, until Gold Coasts worst Johns tips for growing a native rainforest drought on record, had never run dry. The in a large garden include: property is self sufficient, sustainable, Dont rush in and plant - try to understand productive, ecofriendly and water efficient. the land first. Plant native and try to source plants "We are on tank water and weve only bought endemic to the region. one load of water in the last five years. We Mulch heavily - he uses sugar cane mulch. just dont use much water and are very Treat water preciously - pour it on aware of its value," he said. carefully and sparingly to the heart of the Trees include a magnificent 20 year old plant.26 27
  17. 17. APPENDIX 1 - WATERSAVERPLANTGUIDE APPENDIX 1 - WATERSAVERPLANTGUIDE Plant Category Name Description Soil Preferences Growing Conditions Plant Category Name Description Soil Preferences Growing Conditions common & botanical height/width/flower/foliage sandy/clay acidic/alkaline sun/shade/wind/salt common & botanical height/width/flower/foliage sandy/clay acidic/alkaline sun/shade/wind/salt Groundcovers Myoporum sp. Native groundcovers grown Well drained, sandy soil Full sun to part shade. mainly to produce a nice preferred. Clay soils shorten Tolerates wind and coastal Lomandra Tussock grass-like with Suited to most soil types. Full sun or part shade. green natural carpet over the lifespan of this plant. salt. strappy leaves. Flowers are Tolerates coastal ground. small but some cultivars are seabreezes. Rhoe tradescantia / White flowers, purple Well drained, sandy soil Sun, wind and salt tolerant. scented. R. discolour/ R. spathacea foliage, grows to 50cm high, preferred. Baeckea virgata Grows to 1.5m high, Well drained clay / sandy Full sun and wind tolerant. (Moses in the basket) 50cm in diameter. spreading 1.5m in diameter. soil. Small white flowers. Tetragonia tetragonoides Succulent green leaves with Sandy soil preferred. Ideal for coastal sandy (Warrigal spinach small yellow flower. gardens. Banksia spinulosa Grows to 3m high and 2m in Well drained clay / sandy Full sun. (Hairpin Banksia) diameter. Bronze, bird soil. attracting flowers. Gazania rigens Grows 30cm high spreading Well drained, sandy soil Sun, wind and salt tolerant. Climbers Bougainvillea Tough climbers with highly Suited to most soil types but Tolerates full sun, coastal over 3m. Varieties with preferred. coloured floral bracts, but prefers well drained fertile winds. yellow, orange or pink with spines. Various colour loams. flowers. varieties. Juniperus conferta Grows 30cm high, spreading Well drained clay / sandy Sun, wind and salt tolerant. Allamanda cathartica Tropical climber with lush Best in organically fertile Grows well in full sun to (Shore juniper) 2m. soil. shiny green leaves and loamy soils. Tends to be part shade. However, if vibrant golden yellow tough in drought provided it conditions are stressed, it is Grevillea Poorinda Royal Grows 30cm high, spreading Well drained, sandy soil. Sun and wind tolerant. flowers. is established. best grown in part shade. Mantle 3m, red flowers. Pyrostegia venusta Vigourous climber with Establish the plant in fertile Best in full sun. Tolerates Hibbertia scandens Fast growing twiner with lush Sandy dunes preferred. Will Full sun to part shade (Orange Trumpet vine) hanging orange flowers. organic soil. Will tolerate mild coastal breezes. green leaves and starry adapt to other soils provided preferred. most soils once established. yellow flowers. drainage is excellent. Exotic Shrubs / Ponytail palm Large robust swollen base Well drained. Adaptable to Full sun to part shade. Wind Pandora jasminoides White / pink flowers. Well drained, clay / sandy Full sun. Perennials with strap-like leaves. Up to many soil types. tolerant. Vigorous grower. soil. 4m. Trachelospermum Perfumed white flowers. Well drained, clay / sandy Sun / shade, tolerates wind. Nerium oleander 1-4m tall with lush green Adapted to all soil types. Full sun to part shade. Will jasminoides soil. leaves with highly coloured tolerate sea winds. Dipladenia sanderi White / pink / red flowers. Prefers sandy soil. Full sun. flowers in spring and summer. All parts poisonous. Trees Brachychiton Diverse mixture of native Organic deep soils are Well suited to full sun and Nandina nana Grows to 60cm high and Well drained clay / sandy Grows in part sun / shade, trees from dry inland to preferred. part shade although flowers (Dwarf sacred bamboo) 60cm in diameter. soil. tolerates wind. tropical north. Semi will be better in full sun. deciduous trees. Metrosideros excelsa Large shrubs to small trees Well drained clay / sandy Full sun preferred. Great (N.Z. Christmas tree) 2-5m high. Tough, hairy soil required. Well suited to plant for seaside gardens. Tabebuia Deciduous trees from South Adapted to most soil types. Best in full sun with a bit of grey-green foliage. Clusters of sandy coastal sites or deep Wind tolerant. (most species) Africa with brilliant flowers protection from coastal red flowers in spring/summer. hinterland soils. in spring / summer. breezes and strong winds. Cycas revoluta Striking architectural plant Well drained soil essential. Grows in full sun and part Lagerstroemia indica Highly decorative deciduous Adapted to most soil types. Will tolerate strong winds with rosette foliage Adapted to sand, shale, shade. Tolerant of minor (Crepe Myrtle) trees. although it may strip off structure. Stiff, dark green loam soils. coastal spray. flowers. fronds. Mostly less than 2m Cassia fistula Deciduous small tree with Adapted to most soil types. Best in a wind protected tall but up to 2m wide. (Golden Shower Tree) hanging clusters of yellow location. Full sun to part Strelitzia reginae Grows to 1m high, spreading Well drained clay / sandy Grows best in part sun / flowers followed by long shade. (Bird of Paradise) 1m. Striking blue / orange soil. shade. Wind and salt black pods. flower. tolerant. Pandanus tectorius Coastal small tree Needs good drainage. Sandy Best in seaside gardens in Native Shrubs / Doryanthus palmeri & Structured plant with upright Adapted to most soil types Very hardy in all sites. (Screw Pine) characteristic of beach soils best. Roots can be full sun. Perennials D. excelsa large strap-like leaves up to but not boggy soils. locations. invasive. 2m tall. Flowers are borne on Banksia integrifolia Grows 6m high and 2m in Prefers sandy soil. Sun, wind and salt tolerant. tall stalk up to 4m tall. diameter. Yellow, bird Westringia Bushy shrub with small Well drained soils. Ideal for coastal gardens. attracting flowers. (Coastal rosemary) leaves and bluish flowers. Best in full sun. Cupaniopsis Grows 7m high, spreading up Well drained, clay / sandy Sun / shade, wind and salt anacardioides to 4m in diamater. Orange, soil. tolerant. bird attracting flowers. Grevillea hybrids Shrubs ranging from ground Well drained soils required. Best in full sun. Tolerates Harpullia pendula Grows 8m high, spreading up Well drained, clay / sandy Prefers full sun. covers to very tall shrubs. Not suited to heavy clays. mild seabreezes. 4m in diameter. Orange, bird soil. Striking flowers that attract attracting flowers. birds. Magnolia grandiflora Huge white perfumed flowers Well drained, clay / sandy Prefers sun, tolerates wind. Callistemon Extremely variable and Adapted to almost every soil Position in full sun for best (Little Gem) and glossy foliage. soil. (Bottlebrushes) attractive large shrubs to condition on the Gold Coast flower display, but will Buckinghamia celsissima Grows to 6m high, spreading Prefers sandy soil. Full sun. small trees. and Hinterland. tolerate part shade. Medium (Ivory Curl Tree) to 3m in diameter. Creamy breeze tolerance. flowers.28 29
  18. 18. APPENDIX 2 - WATERSAVERPRODUCTGUIDE CONTACTS&ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Gold Coast City Council would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their Aerating Lawn Sandals Strap on sandals with spikes that penetrate compacted soil. Water can then be generous contributions to the development of this Garden Watersaver guide. directed to the roots for a greener, healthier lawn. Mr Jamie Speeding Robert Coddington Root Irrigator A trigger wand with a probe attached which is inserted into the ground to deliver Australian Institute of Horticulture Inc. PO Box 2761 Southport QLD 4215 water to the plants root system. This practice encourages deep root growth making PO Box 54 Annerley QLD 4103 Tel 07 5539 3080 the plants more drought resistant. There is also no evaporation loss with this type of Tel/Fax (07) 3276 7071 Email Web watering. Email Colin & Toni Nixon Ted & Yvonne Hanifin Soil Moisture Detector A probe that measures soil moisture by measuring conductivity. A guide to the Mr Paul Plant Bernard & Joan Holland moisture requirements of different types of plants is also included. Qld Association of Landscape Industries Inc. John Hornsey PO Box 491 Stones Corner QLD 4102 Trigger Gun A hose attachment that controls water flow at the nozzle rather than at the tap. Tel (07) 3847 8365 Useful links: Fax (07) 3847 8359 Web Trigger Wand Water device which delivers water to the soil surface at the base of the plant. Email Water Storage Crystals Soil additives that swell up into a jelly when water is applied, storing up to 400 Alex and Mirella Jakimoff times their weight in water and acting as a reservoir during dry periods. Ideal for The Nursery & Garden pot plants. Industry Queensland Better Homes and Gardens Online 4A Hansford Rd BHG Online GPO Box 1203 Sydney NSW 2001 Coombabah QLD 4216 Watering spikes A simple slow water feeder device inserted into the soil with a soft drink bottle Tel 07 5577 2350 fitted on the top. Water is released gradually. Cheap and easy solution for pot Email ABC Gardening Australia plants. Beth Cooling Wetting Agents (Granular) Surfactant (a substance which reduces the surface tension of a liquid) embedded in Australian School of Horticulture a granular material which is used on hydrophobic soil to enable water to be Upper Gilston Rd Upper Gilston QLD 4211 absorbed. Some granular wetting agents contain Bentonite clay which is particularly Tel (07) 5533 2277 Mobile 0414 533 302 Email good for sandy soils. Ideal for lawns and gardens. Brian Zancola, Ken Griffiths, Julie Singleton Wetting Agents (Liquid) Surfactant (a substance which reduces the surface tension of a liquid) in liquid form Bunnings Hardware that helps water to stick to the soil particles when the soil is hydrophobic and Cnr Gold Coast Hwy & Oxley Dr unable to absorb water. Also assists water uptake of normal soils. Harbourtown QLD 4215 Tel (07) 5529 0909 Web Joe Hance Horticulturist Gold Coast City Council PO Box 5042 GCMC QLD 9726 Web Email Greg Moreton Moreton Landscaping - Design, Construction & Maintenance (Member of Q.A.L.I & A.I.H) PO Box 1174 Burleigh Heads QLD 4220 Tel (07) 5530 7236 Fax (07) 5593 2409 Web Email 31