Waterwise Design

Designing your garden to be waterwise is not as hard as you might think. There are a few

simple principles to keep in mind and after that it comes down to using drought-tolerant plants.

Reduced lawn areas

Watering of lawns is one of the first things to
be affected by water restrictions, so it makes
sense to have as little of it as possible if you
want to keep your property looking green
and attractive.

Remember, too, that an area of plants will
use less water than the same area of lawn,
and the more drought-tolerant the plant, the
less water is used. So replacing lawn with
hard surfaces and waterwise plants will also
reduce your water bill.

Front lawn
The front lawn really serves no purpose
except to help show off the house and this
could also be achieved by using drought

tolerant groundcovers such as Creeping
Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium), Ruby
Saltbush (Enchylaena tomentosa), Matted
Bush Pea (Pultenaea pedunculata) or ground

covering Grevilleas. Alternatively, a mixture of
shrubs and perennials could be grown to add

year-round colour.

Side lawns
Reconsider the need for side lawns.
Generally side lawns do not grow well
because of too much shade from houses and

fences. They are also affected by wear and
tear. It would be better to replace side lawns
with proper paths and colourful waterwise
garden plants.

Remove unsuccessful lawn
It is no use trying to grow lawn in areas that
are too shady, such as under established
trees. Use drought-tolerant plants instead.
Worn patches such as around barbecue
areas or under clotheslines should be paved.
Areas under children’s swing sets should be
replaced with a thick layer of soft-fall mulch
available from landscape suppliers.

Have a straight-edged and
level lawn

The lawn you decide to keep should be
straight-edged and of a regular shape such
as a rectangle or even ‘L’ shaped. These
shapes are much more efficient to water than
curved or non geometric lawns. Also, try to
make the lawn relatively level, as this will
mean water gets a chance to soak in rather
than just run off the surface. Have a very
slight slope though, to shed excess water
when those big downpours happen.


Photo courtesy Continuing Education Bendigo.


Divide the garden into

various watering 'zones'

Divide your garden into four watering zones
by grouping plants together according to
their water needs. This way you can water a
whole garden bed when required and not just
because one plant in the garden is thirsty.
Dividing your garden into watering zones
will also make it easier to cope with water

One zone will be the areas that need no
watering at all and include paths, paving
and garden beds that feature a selection of
extremely drought hardy indigenous, native
and exotic plants.

You could then set aside garden areas for
plants with medium drought-tolerance,
which may need to be watered about once
a month, and ones of low drought-tolerance
that might be watered once a fortnight.

Try to keep areas of heavy water users to
a minimum. ‘Water guzzlers’ include lawns,
ferns and vegetable gardens.


Understand your site

If you understand your garden and the
climate that affects it, you can take
advantage of it, or take steps to reduce the
worst aspects. For example, if you have
a wet area or a low area where rain tends
naturally to run, then you could put the most
water loving plants there to take advantage
of the situation. If you suffer hot winds then
a windbreak of drought-tolerant plants will
reduce the drying effects of the wind. If an
area remains shady and does not dry out
rapidly this may be a good watering zone for
some of the water guzzlers that like shade.
You should also take the effort to understand
the soil you have in your garden – see the
following section.


Photos courtesy Continuing Education Bendigo.

Use drought-tolerant plants

There is a huge range of drought-tolerant
plants for all types of gardens – from local
indigenous plants to Australian natives, as
well as plants from other parts of the world
that do very well on minimal amounts of
water. They come in all types and effects too,
so that you should be able to choose just
the right plant for the situation, as well as
creating the look you are after.

For further information on Waterwise Plants,
please refer to page 20.

Waterwise gardens come in
all styles

A waterwise garden should not limit the
type of garden you have, or the range of
plants you can use. Your garden can be
formal or informal, cottage garden or very
contemporary, native plants or all bold
foliage. Remember that waterwise gardens
can be as interesting and colourful as you
want to make them.




Photo courtesy Glen Loddon Homes.

Coliban Water

City of Greater Bendigo

Coliban Water

37-45 Bridge Street,
Bendigo VIC
ABN 96 549 082 363