How to Create a Water-Efficient Garden


With a little research and creativity, it’s not hard to create a water-wise outdoor oasis. Regardless of whether your garden is a large or small garden, or a courtyard or balcony, making your garden more water-efficient will mean it will require less watering and maintenance, and perform better during dry weather periods.

So when you’re planning your outdoor area keep in mind these water-saving tips and drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants that you’ll rarely have to water.

Water Smart Gardening Tips

  • Use rainwater tanks for your garden’s watering, whether by connecting it to drip irrigators or the garden hose. Fruiting trees and most vegetables will perform strongly if drip irrigated.
  • Decking posts, gravel paths, and gravel edges to gardens or paved areas can allow water to soak into the ground after the rain. Consider building drainage ditches or channels in your yard, having them finish in or near garden beds. 
  • Have your paths and courtyards pitched to drain in or near garden beds.
  • Shade options, either plant, structures such as pergolas (with or without a roof), or the combination of each, will help save water. The more shade, the less heat in and evaporation from your yard. 
  • Try mulching around the base of all your plants – the more mulch, the more protection from evaporation and weeds, and the more nutrients will enter your soil. You should aim to replace mulch at least once a year.

The Best Water Smart Plants

Mid-Sized Trees

Abyssinian banana, wigandia, white bird of paradise, Chinese fan palm, medlar, frangipani, swamp mallet, crepe myrtle, and willow bottlebrush.

Tall Tress

Blueberry ash, Richmond cypress pine, and pencil cypress.

Mid-Sized Screening Shrubs

Pineapple guava, common myrtle, and hillock bush.

Mid-Sized Flowering Shrubs

Hibiscus, Geraldton waxflower, Balearic island sage and wart-leaf ceanothus.

Small Shrubs

Gold dust wattle and native fuchsia.

Ground Coverings

Feather reed grass, mondo grass, New Zealand flax, and turf lily.

Lawn Options

Couch grass, buffalo grass, and weeping grass.

Herb Garden

Common thyme and globe artichoke.

Climbing Plants

Grape, kangaroo vine, banksia rose, jasmine, wisteria, and sarsaparilla.

Fruiting Trees

Lemon, fig, pomegranate, avocado, and olive.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love

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