May 06, 2007 6:43 pm
We use 35-50% of our household water in the garden and a lot of that's wasted. We grow plants that aren't suited to our environment and we over-water them - things we can't afford to do in such a dry country. But there are simple ways to save water and still have a great garden (and a clean car).
We can be water-efficient outdoors just by changing our behaviour a little. A garden hose sprays 1000 litres an hour; use a trigger nozzle and you won't waste water while you're moving the hose around.
Good garden design can cut your water use by half. Not just for new gardens; there's a lot you can do to make your existing garden more water-efficient. You'll find a water smart garden also looks good and makes the most of your space.
It's easy to save water around the yard as well. Sweep paths with a broom, not your hose. Don't empty your pool in winter, you can clean the water in time for summer. Ask your pool maintenance people for advice. Wash your car on the lawn if you can. Give it a quick spray (or use a bucket if water restrictions are in force) then use a sponge and bucket of soapy water to wash each panel. Briefly spray to rinse, then move onto the next panel. Finally wipe the car dry with a cloth. Done - and you've saved around 400 litres.
Toughen up your lawn by watering less often, and keep the grass 3cm high to shade the soil and protect the roots. An area of lawn generally needs more water than the same area of garden bed. So cut back on lawn and put in more beds if you can. If you have a lawn area that slopes down onto paving, water will run off and be wasted - put in a garden bed instead or rockeries if it's really steep.
Some parts of your garden are damp and shady, others hot and exposed; choose your plants to match and they'll grow better and use less water. Group your plants into high and low water-users so you don't waste water on plants that don't need it. Larger trees and plants with hard leaves may scarcely need watering at all.
Using mulch is an easy, cheap way to save water. A 75mm layer of mulch on garden beds can cut the amount of water lost through evaporation by over 70%. It can help keep weeds away too. Use a good compost mulch and you'll also be adding nutrients to the soil. Leave a space around trunks and stems to avoid fungal disease.
It's the most efficient watering method - using flexible piping to slowly drip water into the soil at the base of plants. It takes 15 minutes to drip 1 litre into the soil, compared to 5 seconds to spray 1 litre by hose. Plus very little water is wasted through wind, evaporation, and run-off or over spray.
I started doing all of the above a good 2 years or more ago, lets all make the move to establish our gardens and lawns for the climate to come.
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Re: SAVING WATER OUTDOOORS2
May 29, 2007 1:40 pm
1. I'm currently using the drip system.
2. Mulch is already in place.
3. Planning to divert my washing machine pipeline... need to do a bit of research on that. Eg: Washing power, any filters at the end of water pipe.. etc.
4. Like to install a water tank but it costs a bit too much. Any alternative way to save the rain water?
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