Watering in the garden

Knowing a few basic tips and tricks as to when and how much to water plants, and what kinds of plants are best suited to Australian climate can be helpful in reducing unnecessary water use and keeping your water accounts lower.


  • Avoid watering gardens in hot windy weather.
  • Water gardens in the early mornings and evenings, before 10am and after 4pm (part of our Permanent Water Wise Rules).
  • Deliver water to the root zone and avoid watering foliage.
  • Most shrubs and young trees need water only once per week, even in warm weather.
  • Used bath and shower water can be bucketed onto garden plants.
  • Collect rainwater for garden use in tanks and containers.
  • Upturned bottles and cans with small holes can act as slow release drip irrigation to the base of shrubs and trees.
  • Timers can help forgetful people to turn off watering systems, sprinklers and hoses. A forgotten sprinkler can waste thousands of litres of water.
  • Drip and microspray watering systems can use less water than older type sprinklers.
  • When watering the garden use a hand held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle or watering can and only water when those areas need it.


  • Keep your lawns healthy and maintain them at a height of 6.5 centimetres; taller grass holds water better, and a healthy lawn will choke out weeds.
  • Reduce your lawn and consider planting ground covers or low maintenance perennials instead.
  • Choose plants carefully, there are many water wise varieties available which need much less maintenance and watering. Use Australian native plants that can survive drought conditions in your garden, where possible.
  • Mulching the garden is a great way to reduce evaporation and water run-off.  Good quality mulch will also provide nutrients and reduce weed growth.
  • Shade reduces moisture loss from the ground so keep plants dense and bushy by pruning them after flowering
  • Plan before planting new garden beds; group plants with similar water needs and take advantage of the characteristics of your garden.


Having trouble finding the right plants for your garden? Smart Approved WaterMark’s indicative list of water efficient plants to help your
approach to sustainable gardening. Discover what plants are right for your climate, soil type and maintenance level with Plant Finder.


  • When to Water - discover when its best to water your vegetable garden, pot plants and ornamentals.
  • How Much to Water - are you giving your garden, pot plants and lawn to much water?
  • Designing a Water Efficient Garden - ideas and tips on designing a water wise garden from scratch and useful information on revamping an existing garden.
  • Your Perfect Garden - create a beautiful garden that is attractive, water efficient and meets the needs of your family.