Design, Construction & Maintenance

Drought Tolerant and Water Saving Gardens Tamworth NSW 2340

4 Big Ways to Create a Drought Tolerant Garden.



1. Install drought-tolerant plants indigenous to your area. 

Take note of which native plants thrive in your locality. These are most likely to be hardy and survive best in your garden. Research the cultural requirements of these plants, especially taking note of preferred soil type and ideal sun or shade positioning as well as water requirements. While every soil type can support certain plants, it is important to know which ones will thrive in your garden's soil. Most plants that thrive in dry areas generally prefer well-drained, poor-fertility soil.


2. Improve soil 

Add clay and organic soil to sandy/gravelly soils that drain too quickly. On the other hand, some soils contain so much clay that water and air cannot penetrate to the plant roots. In this case, water may simply run off causing erosion and waste. To improve clay soils add sand, loam and organic matter incorporated into the top soil to allow air to penetrate and to prevent water run-off.

It is also important to check the soil PH and correct if necessary because plants cannot absorb nutrients necessary for growth if soils are too acidic or alkaline. Most plants require a PH of 5.5 to 7, but some turf varieties require a higher PH. PH 1 to 6 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and 8-14 is alkaline. Some plants such as Azaleas and Camellias prefer more acidic soils.


3. Replace lawn with water-saving alternatives 

One alternative to lawn is fake lawn! Astro Turf or synthetic grass is made of UV resistant plastic and has the same look and feel as real grass, especially the high quality products. These products can last from 10-30 years depending on the quality of manufacture, installation and maintenance. Synthetic grass eliminates the need for watering, feeding, weeding or fertilising. Choose longer-bladed varieties for a more genuine look.

Another alternative to lawn is a gravel or rock garden. Instead of laying down turf, lay down a weed mat and cover it with decorative gravel or pebbles. Stepping stones made from clay, concrete or timber can be installed to create nice pathways leading to different areas of the garden. Boulders and plants can also be dispersed throughout in strategic positions. Gravel and rock gardens have long been a popular option in dry areas.

A third alternative is paving or using decorative concrete in place of small lawns.


4. Conserve and recycle water 

Many gardens can be made more drought-tolerant simply by conserving or recycling the water already available. One way to do this is to limit evaporation by creating shade. Consider growing large shady trees that don't require much water. Many Eucalyptus trees are very tough and can survive extreme conditions. Some Palms, Pistachios and Chinese Elms are also good options.

Shade sails are a faster option for limiting evaporation and reflecting heat if you need shade quickly. Pergolas with fake vines or shade cloths installed on top of them are an attractive and long-lasting solution.

Another way to conserve water is to install rain-water tanks. Simply by catching and storing the run-off water from your house roof or any other buildings on the property can save hundreds of dollars in water costs and ensure more water is available when needed.

Dams and ponds installed in low areas of the garden to catch run-off can be used to irrigate other areas of the garden when needed.

Last, but not least, recycle gray water and install a sewage filtering system. Note that caution should be used when using gray water because soap contained in gray water can increase the alkalinity of soil and coat the surface of the soil or plants and restrict water penetration of soil and sunlight to plant leaves. Despite this, there are many pros to using grey water and many homes use grey water successfully in their gardens.


For more advice for how to create a drought-tolerant garden or for inspiration in creating a garden that will thrive in your locality, contact Will Blaxland on 0491 135 045.

We design and construct water wise gardens and install synthetic turf in Tamworth NSW 2340, Armidale NSW 2350, Gunnedah NSW 2380, and all surrounding areas.