Water restrictions are what they are. They have been Townsville’s reality since late August 2015. If you are invested in your garden and outdoor lifestyle, when it comes to keeping things alive and looking good, the key is pro-actively making the most of the time you have to get the best results.
This is something we tried to do in the initial stages, but it is tricky. With kids on the early morning bus, afternoon activities and trying to get dinner on the table we really struggled. Fortunately, we have access to bores to water our turf, so we bought some long hoses and now drag them around our own house yard. Interestingly enough, we only do this over a weekend, every few weeks. We try to give each spot a really deep watering. Townsville’s drought has helped us to get in tune with our own lawn, we now watch for the tell-tale signs and only give it a water when it’s getting thirsty.
We have green grass. Communicating authentically – this turf grower’s wife admits there are patches where we have let in a few weeds (including two really big ones just of our patio where I burnt the lawn with an overdose of fertiliser. EEK!). I do know that if we were really worried about it, we could hit the weeds a couple of times and get on top of it.
Again authentically, our yard should be all Kings Pride Soft Leaf Buffalo, but there are a couple small sections that we have neglected a little too often. It’s there that NQ Buffalo (that we previously had planted there for 13 years) has come out fighting. But hey, it’s green, it’s healthy, it continues to cut down the heat and dust, plus the kids and the dog don’t care. When the rain comes, I know we could blitz it (but you know what they say about a tradesman and his own house ; )
With this in mind, what is the best way to tackle your yard?
Two days a week, one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening.
1 First resist trying to get everything watered in one hour each time.
It is not effective and simply won’t work. With our evaporation rates; a quick sprinkle isn’t going to sustain your plants or grass.
2 Break your yard into sections and really concentrate on each section.
Depending on its size, maybe front yard and gardens, back yard, back yard gardens. Vegie gardens are their own category and need to be watered regularly.
3 Take a look at the east and west aspect.
The east receives the gentle morning sun, whilst the west receives the frying hot afternoon sun. In broad terms, the east could require less water to combat heat and evaporation and might get away with a lighter regime. This would leave you more time, more often to focus on the western side of your home.
4 Lastly, look at your priorities.
What do you want from your outdoor space? Bearing in mind, your answer might be completely different to your neighbours (and that is ok). Front street appeal vs quiet backyard relaxation, an adventure playground for active kids or vivacious dog vs lush pool yard or privacy gardens. By weighing things up, maybe you’ll be keen to concentrate on your favourite area and leave others for that rainy day.
Life has many challenges, this is just another one. We certainly don’t have all the answers and can only suggest that sometimes looking at something differently may bring you better results for your effort. Give it a go, you might surprise yourself.
Of course, a gardener at heart will wholeheartedly tell you that water is only one component for a green lawn and garden. Healthy soil, quality mulch, good fertiliser habits and lots of organic matter, all a chat for another day.
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