It seems that every year there are more and more water restrictions in place which can be a real challenge for Perth gardeners. Fortunately, as professionals in Perth landscaping design, we’ve compiled some tips and ideas to help you save water and enjoy a great garden at any time of the year.
Water the Garden in the Morning and Pots in the Afternoon
Research has shown that the timing of watering your plants can have a significant impact on your plant growth. Potted plants tend to have lower moisture retention, so they are more vulnerable to drying out quickly. A research study showed that watering potted plants during the afternoon provides significantly more growth compared to early morning irrigation. So, watering your container plants can lead to stronger, healthier plants.
The optimal time for watering the rest of your garden is early morning before the temperatures start to rise. At this time, the winds are lower, so the rate of evaporation is lessened. Watering in the morning provides a good supply of water to help your plants face the heat of the day.
Evening watering should be avoided, particularly on foliage as the nighttime temperatures may not be sufficient to dry out the moisture on the leaves. This can encourage fungal pathogens to take hold and grow on your plants.
Set Up Ways to Harvest Water
Since we’re often limited with water usage here in Perth, one of the best landscaping ideas is to include ways to harvest water for your garden. Include a water tank in your landscaping plans to collect any rainwater, maximizing roof runoff to redirect it for using it in your garden. There are slimline tans available to suit even the smallest spaces, so they won’t need to dominate your garden plans.
You can also save water inside your home to use in your garden. For example, if you’re boiling or steaming vegetables, save this water rather than just tipping it down the sink. This water is packed with nutrients, and when it is cooled, it can make an excellent, free fertilizer for use on your plants. You can also reuse your fish tank water, as it contains rich levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that your plants will love.
Choose Pots Carefully When Container Gardening
If you want to incorporate container gardening into your landscape plans, you should choose your pots carefully. Different materials can lose moisture or heat up quickly, which can impact your water usage. For example, metal heats up quickly, so the container will draw more moisture out of the soil, and you’ll need to water more frequently. This can be a major consideration in our hot climate, where every milliliter of water counts.
Even unglazed terracotta needs to be carefully considered, as the material has a porous surface that will dry out your soil faster than a glazed pot. If you want to enjoy the aesthetic qualities of metal or terracotta, but have concerns about your water usage, you could consider using them as an outer decorative pot and use a less porous pot inside to retain moisture.
Mulch forms a protective layer on top of your soil, so it is crucial. Up to 70 percent of water can evaporate from your soil on a hot day, and mulch offers a fantastic moisture-holding strategy for your landscaping. Since you’re likely to need access to plenty of mulch for your garden, it is a good idea to include a mulch pile in your landscaping design. This can be disguised in a corner of your garden and save you a fortune buying mulch from your local garden center.
Choose Low Water Plants
There are some plants that simply need to guzzle water to survive, so you’ll need to choose the plants for your landscape design carefully. Fortunately, there are lots of species with low water needs to save money in your garden. These include smaller plants, silver or grey foliage plants, plants with narrow or small leaves or curled leaf plants. When you’re shopping for new plants, look carefully at the instructions and avoid plants with high fertilizer needs, fast-growing species, or with large leaves.
Leaves act like solar panels for the process of photosynthesis, but this also means that they will lose more moisture and create a greater need for water.
Check the Weather Reports
While this is not particularly a landscaping tip, it is a good idea to develop a habit of checking the weather forecast. Even a short spell of rain will allow you to turn off your automatic sprinklers to save money and water. There are other weather factors that can impact your watering needs. For example, no wind, more shade, high humidity, and cool temperatures all reduce irrigation needs, while windy, hot weather increases water requirements. So, by checking the forecast, you can plan your watering to suit the conditions.
Use Effective Perth Landscaping Design to Capture Water
There are various landscaping design principles that can help your garden retain moisture where it is needed. Moisture can be stored in the soil, and your design can even assist in creating run-off areas where the garden gets too wet. For example, you can use terraces and diversion drains to intercept water flow and spread it around. This will help water from rainfall to seep slowly into the ground. You can also build mounds around shrubs and trees to allow moisture to slowly soak into the soil and reduce runoff.
Don’t Forget to Prune
Finally, don’t forget that pruning can also have a massive impact on your water use. Removing unnecessary leaves and lower branches will not only lift the eyes to the tree canopy with a more appealing structure but reducing the leaves will mean less moisture is needed.
If you’re struggling with landscaping ideas in Perth, be sure to speak to us. Luke’s Landscaping team are specialists in Perth landscaping design, and we’d be delighted to help you plan a water-efficient garden for your home.