Creating a water wise garden in autumn

Published on 04 May 2022

Women laying on mulch planting a plant

Creating and tending to a beautiful garden can need a lot of water. But there are some things you can do this autumn to reduce the water use in your garden next summer. 

Know your natives

Creating a water-wise garden starts with native plants.

Choosing plants from South Australia and other areas with low rainfall will increase your success of creating a water-wise garden. These plants will also suit Adelaide conditions, including the soil, climate and water availability. This makes them a great choice for your garden.

Below are some reasons why native plants will help create a water-wise garden.

  • Native plants are generally easy to grow
  • Low maintenance once the root system of the plants is established
  • Many native plants have evolved to survive Adelaide’s harsh climate, including the dry and hot summers
  • Most native plants don’t need much water once root system is established, and can survive on rainfall alone.

Here is some inspiration from Green Adelaide on what native plants are popular for Adelaide gardens. 

  • A large shrub – Sweet bursaria (Christmas bush)
  • A medium shrub – Paper flower
  • A herb – Common everlasting
  • A groundcover – Pale fanflower
  • A grass – Kangaroo grass

When to plant natives?

Autumn is the ideal time to plant Australian natives in your garden. As our temperatures cool down, the soil temperatures are still warm. This makes it easier for plants to establish a good root growth before slowing down for winter.

Add mulch

Adding organic mulch or gravel to your garden will help reduce evaporation of the water and keeps the soil temperatures down. This will benefit the root thickness, reduce weed growth and promote good soil productivity.


Regular watering is required when establishing your garden. This helps your garden to establish a deep root system.

For established gardens, below are some tips from our in-house irrigation expert Nigel Knape to help keep your water-wise garden.

  • Water in the early morning when the evaporation is at its lowest
  • Installing a drip irrigation system helps reduce evaporation
  • Use an automatic water system to create water programs for each season.

More about gardening and planting 

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