8 Ways to Beat Water Restrictions in the WA Summer
This time of year can be a challenging one for West Australian gardeners. Trying to keep the superb look of our gardens while coping with the inevitable water restrictions is a test for even the most skilled of green thumbs.
This is particularly so of our lawns. Keeping them maintained, healthy and lush is problematic at the best of times. However, this is exacerbated during dry conditions and the need for local authorities to restrict water usage.
As the Water Corporation explains, planning for drought is imperative to keep our water services ready for future demand. With a little common sense, monitoring and practical application, WA gardeners can enjoy their lawns even during these challenging times.
- Collect rain water. Water restrictions can drastically reduce the amount of water you can use on your garden during drought times and the warmer months. However, you can plan ahead to beat the restrictions by installing a water tank to collect rainwater. Combining a water tank with a quality water pump and watering system will allow you to direct more water onto your lawn and garden.
- Reduce the amount of lawn. Try reducing your lawn area to a manageable size and plant drought-resistant native plants instead. Not only will this reduce the amount of lawn to be watered, it will also add colour to your garden and attract native birds.
- Time your watering. Water in the early morning or late evening to avoid too much evaporation. Programmable systems will enable you to set watering to avoid fines for watering on the wrong days and at the wrong times.
- Position/check watering devices. Check where you are watering and position sprinklers accordingly. Is the lawn receiving the water? Or is the runoff ending up on your driveway or paths? It is important to select quality sprinkling devices and ensure that the water is being directed to the roots. Also, check your hoses and sprinklers. If you see any leaks, make sure these are repaired or shop around for an entirely new watering system.
- Know your soil. The soil structure and how it holds water is the most important factor in how you water your lawn. Clay soils will hold water better than sandy soils and will therefore need watering less frequently.
- Don’t overwater. Measure your sprinkler output to gain an idea of how much water is being applied to your lawn. Avoid watering too much as this can be as damaging as watering too little.
- Cut lawns higher. Put your lawn mower up a notch when you mow during the warmer months. Not only will this encourage strong grass growth (and help suppress weeds) but also reduce evaporation. A good rule is to mow by no more than a third.
- Try hand watering. If your lawn area is small enough, water it by hand. While more labour intensive than a sprinkler system, hand watering lawns has a number of advantages, particularly during times of water restrictions. You are better able to direct the water to all parts of the lawn and it is easier to monitor where the water is going. The chance of over watering is therefore reduced.
By following the above and taking a holistic approach to the garden, you can work your way around council-imposed water restrictions. Water conservation is an important household goal at any time of the year, but it is more a priority during the summer months. By making sure you water deeply, effectively and during the cooler times of the day, you can beat the restrictions and enjoy your wonderful WA lawn at all times of the year!