Designing your garden

Steps to make your outdoors great and water efficient.

The first step to creating a beautiful garden that is attractive and water efficient is to work out your needs for the garden. Plan your garden to meet your family’s needs and to allow for flexibility for changing family needs over time.

Our plant finder makes choosing waterwise plants easy.

A home garden should be designed to reflect the personality of the people who live there, suit their needs and lifestyle demands and match the design of the home. It should be flexible enough to allow for changes as children grow up or as elderly members become less active.

Careful planning saves costly mistakes later on if parts of the garden have to be uprooted for house extensions, or plants require large quantities of water to survive.

A water efficient garden can be just as stunning and beautiful as an expensive water guzzling garden. To minimise your water usage, keep the amount of lawn and keep annual and perennial plants that require plenty of water to a minimum.

To plan your garden, start by determining the ideas, feelings, likes, dislikes, and present and future needs of all the members of your household. Write down everything, as the information you gather will provide you with a basis for your garden design.

As soon as you have worked all this out it is really beneficial to draw up or obtain a scale drawing of your whole house block, its features, its building developments and services. This makes it much easier to see all your ideas come together and check out all the possibilities.

When planning your garden, remember:

  • A garden should reflect the owners’ personality and lifestyle.
  • Work out your needs for the garden that suits you.
  • Decide on the features you want, vegetable garden, aviary, retreat etc.
  • Design to minimise the impact on the natural environment.
  • Design to suit the time you have for upkeep and maintenance.
  • Choose your plants wisely.
  • Design the position and the shape of your garden beds so that they can be planted up with groups of plants with similar needs for water.
  • Plan features to improve views.
  • Decide if lawn is necessary and how much you can afford.
  • Use screening for privacy, noise, wind and shelter.
  • Plan ground surfacing positions and materials.
  • Design for flexibility for the future.
  • Disguise unsightly features.
  • Develop a scale plan of your property and all the service and features so you can plan wisely.

How much lawn do you need?

Aussies love a big backyard with pristine lawn. But how much lawn area do you really need? Do you have time to mow it or the money to pay someone to mow it? Do you use it? Can you cut back the amount of lawn to a minimum just for entertaining and children’s play?

A family lawn uses up to 40% of the total water consumption. Will paving and gravels or groundcovers to the job more effectively for you? Consider how much time you will spend in this area and the provision of sun/shade, roofing, seating, storage and barbecue facilities.