Cooler living in your garden

Cooler living in your garden

When you think about saving water, it's easy to think just about your garden. But there are other opportunities. Consider your paved areas, cars, pool or spa. In this section you'll learn how to use and save water all around your home.

Another way to make a valuable contribution to reducing water use is through rainwater collection. It can also help reduce your costs, and improve South Australia's sustainability. For advice on the collection of rainwater for drinking purposes, check out SA Health's handy facts.

Maintaining a healthy garden

Thriving gardens create value in our lives by keeping our gardens and homes cooler, reducing our energy bills, increasing our property’s financial value, and improving our overall wellbeing.

By adopting water efficient techniques, essential in our dry South Australian climate, you can create, maintain and enjoy a green, healthy garden all year round.

Here are few tip and tricks to help you create your water efficient garden – no matter how big or small.

Planning your garden

Whether you’re establishing a new garden, revitalising a neglected one or adapting an existing one, it’s important to think about what you want your garden to achieve and how you can make it water efficient.

Here are three tips to set you on a path to success.

  1. Zoning: Placing plants with similar watering needs together is an efficient way to manage your watering. If you water your whole garden evenly, you’ll always be watering to the area of greatest need. By placing higher water use plants near the house, you can also help keep your home cooler.
  2. Place based plants. It makes ecological and environmental sense to consider local species when designing your garden. Talk to your local nursery to find out which plants best suit your local rainfall and soil conditions.
  3. Smart watering: With cool winters and long warm summers, as well as increasingly unpredictable rainfall patterns, Adelaide’s gardens require an adaptable water management plan. Irrigation systems are the best way to deliver the right amount of water to each area of your garden. Many gardeners will automate their irrigation systems during the summer months. While this helps to ensure you never forget to water – it’s not the most efficient use of water. Instead, keep your irrigation system adaptable, so you can account for natural rainfall.

For plant specific information contact your local nursery or visit the Nurseries SA website.

Maintaining your garden

While many people let their gardens go during the summer, there are some simple ways you can maintain a healthy green space while remaining water efficient.

These four tips will help keep your garden green without using a lot of water.

  1. Mulching your garden prevents excessive evaporation, keeping your soil moist and your plants watered. Ground covering plants can also provide excellent soil protection.
  2. Shade trees not only keep your garden cooler, they provide protection from the sun for smaller plants, and reduce moisture loss in your soil.
  3. By keeping an eye on the weather forecast, you can prepare your garden for heatwaves. Giving your lawn and garden a good soak two days before extreme heat will provide the moisture your garden needs to survive.
  4. Don’t let your lawn die during summer. While many people let their lawns die during the summer, a healthy lawn is the best way to keep your garden and home cool. If you water in the evenings or early morning, the water won’t be lost to evaporation.
    Interesting fact: In the sun, a dry, barren garden can be as hot as a bitumen road – artificial grass can be just as hot!

Cooling with water

While a green, healthy garden provides shade and cooler areas to enjoy, you can reduce temperatures even further with just a small amount of water. Using water to cool your garden can also reduce your reliance on air conditioning and reduce your carbon footprint.

Here’s how.

  1. A short “flash watering” of leafy canopies can bring temperatures down by more than 10 degrees for up to 30 minutes. 30 seconds to a minute should do the trick.
  2. Misting systems will create the same effect and can be set up to suit your outdoor living areas. They are also extremely water efficient – in fact if you shorten your shower by one minute, you can run your misting system for two hours with the same amount of water!
  3. A green healthy lawn is one of the best cooling devices you can have. Lawns help keep both your garden and your home cool. Keep your lawn green efficiently by watering in the evening or early morning to prevent evaporation.

SA Water have been working with local councils to demonstrate the cooling benefits their irrigated parks provide the community. This interactive map will help you discover the best locations to keep cool. With live temperature readings at each location, features of each park and a photo of each location. You can view the map and add any suggested parks here.

Cooling the community map

Water efficiency in the garden

If you’re looking to use water better in your garden, watch the video below for some handy tips.

Caring for your garden

Here are some great water efficient ideas to keep your garden thriving despite the heat.

Planning your garden

Here are some great tips for creating a water efficient garden that will thrive all year round.

Like all South Australians, we've become very good at managing water. See what we do every day to ensure a healthy water supply now and into the future.

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