Recent Home Living Property Culture The Team North Shore Living
Recent Home Living Property Culture The Team North Shore Living
Homes across Sydney’s North Shore, along with most of the rest of NSW, are currently limited by level one water restrictions. However, if you are houseproud or if you’re planning to sell your home, it is still possible to have an impressive outdoor area.

Drought conditions mean Sydney homeowners and residents are not allowed to water gardens after 10am and before 4pm. Standard sprinklers and watering systems also aren't permitted, so this makes keeping your garden alive a challenge.

Here we take a look at the best tips for sustaining a modern Australian native garden that is not only drought-proof but still an enjoyable space despite the high temperatures and dry weather.

Drought-proof garden: Start with the roots

A healthy garden needs healthy soil so focus on this when creating a drought-proof garden. To improve soil quality, add organics like compost and garden-friendly manure. Turn over your soil regularly to enable better air and water penetration.

Mulch can make a big difference to soil quality. This material reduces water loss and lowers the temperature of the soil. You should be able to find some at your local nursery (or the hardware store if it sells garden supplies).

Soil that has been left to dry out over a long period of time will become water-repellent. Keep an eye out for this – you will notice water pooling on top of the soil instead of soaking in. Seek out a soil-wetting agent, often found in specialist or commercial garden centres, to encourage your soil to spring back into action.

Drought-proof plants ideal for Sydney’s North Shore

While they look beautiful, many traditional flowers are extra thirsty due to their countries of origin. The biggest water guzzlers include hibiscus, banana, hydrangea, irises and lily of the valley. They will need a lot of attention and water to be kept alive when there is no rain.

Seek out beautiful Australian natives and other plants that can last longer without a drink. You’ll be able to use less water and enjoy a garden that stays alive without your constant vigilance.

Some non-native exceptions to the thirsty-plant category include:

Olive trees
Geraniums
Agave
Oleander
Lavender
Sage
Poppy
Red valerian
Cactus

Australian natives that thrive in drier conditions are:

Kangaroo paw
Banksia
Seaside daisy
A number of succulents
Gazania
Grevillea

Talk to your local nursery for their recommendations. With the right guidance, you can create an appealing outdoor environment with plenty of colour and blossoms.

Another way to create a drought-tolerant garden is to ensure you have trees that provide shade. These will cool the soil and prevent it from drying out so quickly.

You could also consider minimising grass, which is another thirsty plant. Create a courtyard or build a patio to reduce the need for too much grass coverage. Consider, however, the impact this will have on the temperature of your garden, as concrete and stone amplifies heat. It’s not wise to get rid of all vegetation, particularly if you have a spacious outdoor area.

Water early or late in the day

Restrictions dictate this but it is worth sticking to these same rules in any weather conditions.

When you water before the direct sun hits, you give your garden the chance to soak up the water. Being watered early also gives plants the moisture they need to survive the hot weather during the day.

Adapt for the conditions

An open garden with no shade can be unpleasant during the summer months, especially when the country is in drought. If it is too hot outside, nobody will enjoy spending time there. A big garden with no shelter can also be a turnoff for home buyers.

To enhance your garden’s appeal, invest in covers and shelter. Umbrellas for a small space or retractable awnings for larger areas will give your garden the shade it needs to be enjoyed. There are some excellent quality remote control systems that allow you to extend or remove awnings as necessary.

A built-in pergola with lighting and fans is the ultimate way to drought-proof your garden and make it an extension of your beautiful North Shore home.

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