Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Create a native drought tolerant garden

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Create a native drought tolerant garden that builds biodiversity

Native gardenOne of the ways we can achieve significant water savings at home is to develop a drought tolerant garden.

Native gardens

Native plants are adapted to the dry Australian climate and therefore require very little irrigation. In addition they are attractive, provide shade and shelter and have deep roots that assist in opening up the soil structure. Native plants attract a range of birds and other fauna, particularly if locally native species are selected

Marrickville Community Nursery collects and propagates seed from the remaining patches of bushland in the local area. A range of plant species grown at the nursery are easy to maintain and require less water and care than many introduced species.

For a list of native plants that are local to the Marrickville area click here.

Less lawn, more mulch

Due to their shallow roots systems, lawns tend to be very thirsty. Why not replace large areas of lawn with mulched garden beds? Mulch is an essential part of any drought tolerant garden as it increases the water holding capacity of the soil and improves infiltration. Free mulch is often available at Marrickville Community Nursery, for local residents (bring your own bags and shovel).

Garden chemicals

Many of the chemicals we use in the garden can run off into waterways. Many can be eliminated altogether by selecting organic fertilisers and natural pesticides like Neem oil as safer, biodegradable alternatives.

Organic fertilisers can be made from kitchen and garden scraps using compost bins or worm farms. Not only can you make your own beautiful compost, but this will help to reduce your household waste by processing it in your own home. The Green Living Centre holds free and regular workshops on composting, worm farming and organic pest control. For more information on organic pest and disease control, visit the ABC Gardening Australia website.

Drip irrigation

The difference in the amount of water used by drip or low flow irrigation and a sprinkler is remarkable. By using drip irrigation the water is delivered directly to the root zone of the plant rather than evaporating into the air. If you can't install drip irrigation and must use a hose, buy an inexpensive nozzle from the supermarket that allows you to control the flow of water and never water during the heat of the day. Better still, consider installing a rainwater tank for irrigation. For more information on drip irrigation visit the Sydney Water website.

What about paving?

Permeable pavingBy increasing the area of paved surface you increase the amount of runoff from your property which has a negative impact on the health of our waterways. Permeable paving is an attractive and environmentally friendly alternative to hard paving.