Creating a water efficient garden can reduce your water bills and running costs and can often require less maintenance. Water efficient gardens also use plants that attract native birds, making your garden a more enjoyable, relaxing environment.
Careful planning is the key to a water efficient garden. Generally, there are seven basic areas to achieving a water efficient garden:
- Soil care
- Plant selection
- Lawn care
When applied together these techniques can reduce water use significantly, however each technique on its own will have a significant impact.
Selecting the right plants for the garden can save on watering. Council's Sustainable Gardening in Frankston booklet lists plants which have evolved to handle local conditions. Indigenous plants are also available from Council's Indigenous Nursery.
Mulch For Your Garden
Mulch, when applied to the garden can reduce evaporation from the soil by up to 70 per cent. Mulch, the natural sunscreen for your garden, also prevents weed invasion, keeps roots cool and aids insect and microorganism activity.
What is mulch?
Essentially, any organic matter on the surface of the soil acting as a cover is mulch, in the desert, rocks are mulch.
Most local garden centres and nurseries sell mulch in either bags, bales and/or truckloads. It pays to do a bit of investigation on the type of mulch most suited to your area and needs.
Tips for mulching the garden
When purchasing mulch, be mindful of the source and treatment. Mulch that is not heat treated could introduce weeds and disease to your garden. It is best to choose an accredited mulch or supplier.
When laying mulch, the thickness will determine the evaporation and moisture retention. However, as a general rule, a thickness of about 3cm to 5cm is a good start.
After applying mulch, additional garden watering may be required to compensate for the moisture being taken up by the dry mulch.
Please remember to only water your garden before sunrise and after sunset to avoid evaporation, and also be mindful of current Permanent Water Use Rules.