Water wise gardening or xeriscaping involves little to no watering and maintenance saving you time and money too. Create a beautiful shaded oasis for you and wildlife with flowers, trees and shrubs. Grow fresh and healthy food right on your doorstep with a vegetable garden. Use up to 66% less water with a water wise garden, compared to lawn. Convert areas of your lawn to garden with this easy no dig technique.

Use the below tips for a water wise garden or print out a PDF to take with you.

Efficient Irrigation

Group plants with similar watering needs to easily water plants early in the morning (4 am – 10 am) or in the evening (7 pm – 10 pm) to avoid evaporation from the sun and wind. Watering in the middle of the day increases the amount of water lost to evaporation by as much as 40%.

Water where plants need it the most – at the roots. Slow deep watering once a week and letting the soil dry out completely between watering helps encourage drought-tolerant root growth. Light, frequent watering is harmful because it encourages shallow root growth and enhances germination of weed seeds. You can check the soil wetting depth with a screwdriver or stake.

  • Flowers and vegetables: water the top 10 – 15 cm of soil
  • Trees and shrubs: water the top 20 – 25 cm of soil, around the drip-line of trees (area below the branches where water drips from the leaves) - not at the trunk.

Install a micro/drip irrigation system to effectively water the plant roots and tailor to individual plant needs. During even the most stringent water conservation measures, micro/drip irrigation systems can be used to water flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs.

Do not water on windy, cool, overcast or rainy days. Consider making your irrigation system more water efficient by installing a rain shut-off device that will automatically turn your system off when it is raining.

Choose Native Plants

Garden with drought tolerant native plants. Adapted to the local climate, native plants are usually happy with only rainfall, even in the dry summer, once established. They also attract local birds, pollinators, and small mammals, which can act as natural pest control.

Take Care of Your Soil

Healthy soil will help your garden thrive and need less water. Good soil has a balance of pH, moisture retention, good drainage and organic material.

Weed regularly. Weeds compete with your plants for moisture. Overwatering can encourage weed seeds to germinate so only water when your plants really need it.

Add mulch. As a 5 – 10 cm protective layer around plants, mulch reduces the number of weeds, conserves soil moisture, moderates soil temperatures and adds beneficial nutrients back into the soil. Keep mulch at least an inch away from plant stems. Types of mulch: leaves, compost, grass clippings, straw, wood chips and coarse bark.

  • More information about mulch.

Containers dry out faster compared to established flower or vegetable beds. Keep soil moist as it is easier than re-hydrating dry soil, particularly when plants are flowering. Make sure container have adequate drainage to prevent root rot problems.