With the changing climate, it’s becoming more and more important to conserve water. Being that Australia is one the hottest and driest continents on the globe, we need to find a way to use water in a sustainable manner.
The Australian Water Association states that around 40% of household water is used outdoors. This high percentage suggests that there’s room for improvement when it comes to the use of garden water.
To lower your water bills and to do your part in helping the planet, you need to know how to use garden water the right way. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Use Recycled Water
Plants aren’t too picky. You can water your plants using recycled water and they will grow just fine.
There are a couple of ways to gather recycled water. You can set up a rain barrel in your gutter system. The rain barrels are placed near the downspout so that it can collect all the rainwater that slides off of your roof. Rain barrels can be purchased at most hardware stores. If the thought of installing it yourself is too intimidating, there are plenty of garden services that you can hire to help you.
You can also reuse cooking water. If you were boiling something for dinner, don’t throw that water away. Instead, you can put it in a bucket and use it later to water your plants. If you were boiling vegetables, the water left over from that will have plenty of nutritest that you plants can benefit from. Just make sure to give the water time to cool down.
If you really want to get the maximum usage out of your water, you can install a grey water system. Household grey water is the wastewater from the laundry, washing machine, bathroom sinks and showers. A grey water system will collect this water, allowing you to use it to irrigate your garden. It’s important to note that a grey water system usually won’t include water from the toilets or kitchen sink as this is considered black water and not safe for use in gardens without treatment. If you intend to use grey water in your garden, then you need to take extra care with the types of cleaning products you use in the laundry and bathroom, as these products can end up on your garden and hurt the plants and damage the soil quality.
- Minimise Water use for Outdoor Cleaning
When cleaning our yards, we have a tendency to overuse water. To conserve water, you should look to use alternative water-free cleaning methods.
For example, rather than hosing down your driveway, use a rake, broom or leaf blower. Pressure cleaners can also be a good cleaning option for those stubborn outdoor jobs.
Some jobs will absolutely require you to use water, like washing the car or the windows. But instead of using a hose, fill a bucket and work from that. This will help you to control and minimise the amount of water you use for the job.
- Use Smart Watering Techniques in the Garden
It’s important to know when to water your plants. If you water your garden at the wrong time, a lot of moisture can be lost through evaporation. This means you will end up using more water than you need to sustain your garden.
It’s recommended that you water your plants when the sun has just come up. This gives the water enough time to seep into the soil. If you water your plants in the high afternoon, the sun will evaporate the water before your plants get the chance to soak it up.
Additionally, you can use mulches to help the soil retain even more moisture. You can use organic mulches like straw, pine needles, leaves, or grass clippings.
- Have Low Maintenance Plants
Using low-maintenance plants in the garden is a great way to minimise water use. Cacti, succulents and many native Australian plants don’t need much water to thrive. Basing your garden design around these types of plants will help to reduce the water required for irrigation.
Minimising the amount of lawn you have will also go a long way to reducing water usage in the garden.
Your overall garden style can also have a big impact on the amount of water you use. Native Australian, Mediterranean or desert style gardens will use a lot less water than a tropical or English style garden.
Besides being naturally drought tolerant, they are also havens for native wildlife and insects.
- Keep an Eye on your Irrigation Systems
An automatic sprinkler or irrigation system is a great way to ensure your garden gets enough water without having to pay too much attention. However, these systems, if not properly used, can end up wasting water.
Make sure you turn off the automatic sprinklers if rain is forecast or if it’s recently rained. You should also make sure you adjust your systems to account for seasonal changes.
Also, it’s a good idea to pause your irrigation system if it’s too windy. If you use your sprinklers during strong winds, a lot of the water will be lost before it reaches the plants.
- Use Water-saving Equipment
There are plenty of options when it comes to water-saving garden equipment. For example, there are water-saving nozzles that help reduce the amount of water that comes out of a tap or a hose. Before the water gets expelled, the nozzle dilutes the water with air. Nozzles prevent splashing and only outputs the necessary amount of water.
You can also invest in soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems. These tools release the water gradually, allowing the only the right amount to reach the roots. This reduces runoff and the effects of evaporation.
That was just a few simple ways to save garden water. With these tips you should be able to lower your bills and help the country conserve water. You’ll be doing yourself and the whole planet a favour. The best part is, your garden doesn’t have to suffer in the process.