Ensuring a water efficient garden

Implementing simple measures such as mulching and composting ensures your garden is water efficient all the time and green even during times of drought.


Mulch can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70%. Mulch is like a blanket on the soil. Not only do mulches conserve water and reduce the need for irrigation, they also moderate soil temperature, inhibit weed growth and, over time, improve the soil structure and health of plants.

Mulch is an essential component of maintaining a water efficient garden. The basic rule is any mulch is better than no mulch.

 Kevin Walsh, author of Waterwise Gardening, (Reed New Holland, Third Edition 2004), describes three kinds of mulch:

Mulching your garden


Soil is a living thing. Compost increases the organic content of the soil which holds water and provides the material that bacteria and worms need to break down to keep your soil alive and full of nutrients. The perfect growing medium is soil that drains easily, so it doesn’t get waterlogged, but holds enough water to feed the plants and compost will do both these things.

Without good soil, it won’t matter how much water you put on the garden, it still won’t do well. Compost can easily be made at home or check out local suppliers for recycled green waste mulches and compost.

Factsheet -Mulching (pdf 834.0 KB)

Discover ways to save water in more areas of the garden: