In the garden and outdoors

During summer our gardens need extra attention to make it through the hot weather. This is when water usage can become an issue if garden watering is not monitored.

Garden Watering

  • When watering sloping areas, sandy soil, or in the shade, sprinkle lightly and more frequently. This will allow the water to be absorbed more effectively and reduce run-off. 
  • Water sparingly, every four or five days, to encourage plant roots to grow deeper. Aim for a total of about 25mm of water per week.
  • Water in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation.
  • When using a sprinkler, fit a tap timer to make sure you don't water too much. If you don't have a tap timer, put on the oven timer to remind you when to shut off the sprinkler. Leave the water running too long and it can waste as much as 1,000 litres an hour.
  • Keep the water to lawn and garden areas only. Avoid hosing down paths and driveways!
  • A good watering system delivers water to the plant roots in the proper amounts. Tap timers, trigger nozzles, soaker hoses, and micro-irrigation systems can all be used to deliver water efficiently. Look for advice from your local garden centre or irrigation professional.
  • When planting a new lawn choose drought tolerant grasses, such as Fescues or Bluegrass. Don't apply too much fertiliser as this only increases the need for water.

  • Mow your lawn as little as possible. When you do, don't cut it too short. Five cm is a good length. This length will help the grass grow longer roots, keep sun off the soil, and help reduce weed growth and retain moisture.

The marvels of mulch

Get the most out of mulch by applying a layer (5-10cm deep) to your garden. Use coarse mulch such as bark chips, coconut fibre, pine needles, and fallen leaves. Add more as the mulch breaks down over time. Check with your garden centre for suitable products.

  • It discourages weed growth, prevents soil erosion, and helps reduce variation in soil temperature.
  • It cuts the need for herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers.
  • It gives a nice clean look to the garden.
  • It reduces evaporation by as much as 70 percent!

Remember, the one place you don't want mulch is right up against plant stems and tree trunks. Leave a little margin for the plant to breathe.


  • Use a broom to sweep sidewalks and paved areas. Using a hose for this can waste as much as 1,000 litres of water per hour. Add what you sweep up to a compost heap.   

  • When washing the car, use a bucket. Limit use of your hose to a quick spray at the start to loosen dirt and grime and when you are done to rinse off soapy water. If you can, wash the car on a lawn to soak up the run-off water.  

  • Did you know a swimming pool cover can cut evaporation by as much as 90%, reducing the need for top-ups in the dry summer season.   

  • To check for swimming pool leaks use a pencil to mark the water level at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if it’s gone down.

In the garden and outdoors