Create a waterwise garden in the Northern Districts

As water bills soar ever upwards, it makes sense, both financially and environmentally, to create a more waterwise garden. If you’re thinking of selling your property, it’s worth noting that house hunters often view a low-maintenance gardens as an asset when searching for their next home.

With that in mind, I have been looking at ways to create a more waterwise (and easy to care for) garden, which I thought I would share.

So where do you start? Here are five easy ways you can reduce your garden’s water needs without compromising on its appearance.

Choose your plants carefully

Here in the Northern Districts we have a hot, dry climate, so growing plants best suited to a cold European climate will always use more water. Add a few natives and you will be amazed at how little water they need to thrive, and how good they look, particularly the flowering varieties.

The Sydney Water website has a useful plant selector page that helps you choose the right waterwise plants for your area. In Thornleigh alone, there are recommended 300 plants that have low water requirements, so it’s well worth a look if you want some gardening inspiration.

Some popular native plants that do well in the Sydney region include black wattle, native grasses, brush box trees, grevilleas, banksias and everlasting daisies. Better still, planting natives will ensure your garden is visited by lots of local birds.

Right plant, right place

Think about your garden’s orientation and how much shelter your plants will have. Generally, south-facing gardens are cooler, shadier and less exposed to sun and hot winds, so you can plant more delicate varieties here.

North and west-facing gardens are usually hotter and get more sun throughout the year, so it’s better to choose tougher native varieties, and trees or other larger plants that will add some shade and protection. A small, protected garden will do better than a big windswept one, so consider adding some protection from the elements or concentrating your planting in the more sheltered areas of your garden.

Another tip: planting in autumn will give your new plants a chance to establish themselves before the summer heat arrives.

Think about how you water your garden

Water by hand, using a trigger nozzle, either before 10am or after 4pm to reduce evaporation. If you have irrigation, consider reducing use or changing over to a drip system, which is the most efficient.

Mulching around plants will ensure that whatever water you put on your plants stays there — 7 to 10cm of mulch is ideal. Always water around the roots, not the leaves. And water less frequently, but for longer. Doing so encourages plants to send their roots down deep into the soil, which produces healthier plants.

Consider reducing your lawn area

Simply bringing in the perimeter of your lawn will make a big difference to water usage. Look at your lawn and think about whether you could replace some of it with native plants and wood chips, which look good and require far less water.

When you do mow your lawn in summer, lift the blades to leave the grass a little longer. This reduces stress on the lawn and will keep it looking greener, too.

Improve your soil

Healthier soil will produce stronger plants that do well throughout the summer. Add compost to the mix when planting, and consider a composter for kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings to improve your soil and reduce food waste going to landfill. If you are short on space, an in ground composter is a small bucket that you dig into a garden bed, or there are many larger composting systems around.

Talk to me

While I am not the keenest of gardeners myself, I do know what buyers are looking for in the Northern Districts, and how to best present your home to attract keen competition among buyers. Please get in touch with me if you are thinking of putting your Thornleigh, Westleigh, Pennant Hills or Normanhurst home on the market, and I will be happy to answer any questions.


Karen Page
Friendly, caring and attentive, Karen Page is a customer focused professional with a genuine passion for helping people transition through the different stages of their life.