Tips for watering your Green areas

In the Canberra region, water efficient gardens often have a number of key things in common:

Below are some frequently asked questions to help you work out the best watering schedule for your Green areas.

Should I use topsoil?

Make your garden healthy and waterwise by adding topsoil and introducing organic material. This will help water penetrate into the plant root zone. See the Importance of soil fact sheet for more information.

What if I’m using less than the recommended watering schedule?

If you’re using less water than recommended (frequency and watering time combined), keep up the good work. The best way to figure out what your garden needs is to get out there and do some trials. The schedule WaterRight Gardens recommends is our best estimate only.

What if it rains?

If it rains and your soil gets more water than it can hold, simply defer watering the next time.

When it rains heavily, check to see if your soil has been fully penetrated. If it has, defer watering the next time. If it hasn’t, it could be because your soil is compacted and the rain runs over it rather than penetrates it. In this case, water as usual.

When should I water?

Ideally you should water early morning, late afternoon or evening. Make sure you check whether water restrictions are in place and follow the watering times permitted.

Should I check soil moisture before watering?

Yes. Before watering, check soil moisture by inserting your finger to a depth of 5 cm in each green area. If the soil is moist, defer watering.

When should I mow the lawn?

In Canberra’s climate, it’s difficult to maintain a perfect lawn, especially with our dry periods. You can still maximise the health of your lawn and save money by using less water. You can, for example:

  • allow your lawn to grow a little longer before you mow it
  • regularly aerate and top dressing your soil
  • replace some lawn areas with alternatives such as paving, native grasses, groundcovers or extra garden beds.

See our Lawns and garden beds fact sheet for more information.

How do I take care of clay soil?

Clay soils are prone to drying out and to water logging if drainage is poor.
Don’t allow clay soils to dry out or get compacted. You need to mulch, regularly aerate and ensure regular and deep watering (clay soils hold water for a long time).

If your soil is waterlogged you will need to improve the drainage. Use organic mulches and apply organic compost frequently. This encourages worms and other soil organisms to improve the soil by taking organic material and nutrients deeper into it.

What is cyclic watering?

This method uses pulses of water to wet the soil. The time gaps between the pulses allow the water to penetrate the soil. This limits excessive pooling or run-off. You therefore save money by using less water. See our Irrigation methods fact sheet for more information.

What alternative sources of water can I use?

It’s smart to look into alternative sources of water. Some can save you money and they’re kinder on the environment.
See our Sources of water fact sheet for more information.