I know we bang on a lot about water (no surprise there, Murphy Brown) and most of it’s to do with keeping ourselves happy and hydrated (and our children and the elderly and the animals), but seeing as there’s a whole planet out there that needs water to survive, I thought I’d focus a little on water and growing stuff – like plants and gardens and shrubs and the like.

Here’s a few how to’s for these glorious summer months:

  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.
  • Pressure washers use a lot of water. Use them sparingly and think about what you are doing. If you must use one to wash your patio furniture or bike, do it on the lawn so the water gets recycled.
  • Use mulch and bark in your garden to reduce evaporation by up to 70%.
  • Think about mixing some drought-resistant bedding and perennial plants to your garden to add diversity. Examples of these perennials are African or French marigolds, petunias, geraniums or campanula.


  • Don’t waste water by using a hosepipe to clean your paths, patios and driveways. Use a broom, rake or outdoor blower or vacuum instead.
  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  • Try not to cut lawns too short. When mowing, cut only the top third of the leaf area, leaving it three centimetres or higher. Reduce water loss even further by saving your lawn clippings to use as mulch on your lawn or garden.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add a little postscript here when I remind you to try to avoid using your water cooler to water your shrubs, perennials and gardens. That water is for you, that is!