In today’s climate, water is not just a precious resource, but increasingly hard to access, particularly in warm dry climates such as Perth. Watering large areas of grass and thirsty trees is not only time consuming but is also increasingly expensive. It may be the soil quality that’s got you thinking of a dry garden or perhaps your lifestyle simply doesn’t lend itself to hours of watering each month. For landscape design in Perth, here’s all you need to know about making the switch.
From wet to dry
If you’re thinking about changing up your garden, it’s good to understand the fundamentals. A dry garden relies on the water available in the air, from rain, and in the ground. Once established, a dry garden will not require any watering but will demand a few things up front. It’s important to consider the following factors:
Get the soil quality right
Soil quality is a key determinant of how successful a dry garden is over the long term. Use plenty of organic matter as compost to enrich the soil and ensure there are enough nutrients for your plants to feed on. If your garden is quite sandy to begin with, consider adding mulch and wood chips as a means of catching and retaining moisture.
Make sure your drainage system works
Essential to any dry garden is good drainage. This is one of the most important aspects of a dry garden. With inadequate drainage, the dry garden becomes, well…wet. Firstly, there shouldn’t be any need for an irrigation system, so you can shut that down. Make sure you have the proper water flow from the gutters and other catchment areas, the garden should be protected from large amounts of overflow, but still able to receive water on rainy days.
Choose your plants carefully
Dry gardens are dry because of the plants that are in them. Drought-resistant plants that hold moisture over long periods of time are considered the most effective. Here are a few plants that are perfect for a dry garden:
- Coneflower – flourishes in most soils with adequate drainage.
- Lavender – native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, this beautiful flower is a perfect, fragrant addition to any dry garden.
- Catmint – an excellent border flower, with a delicious scent, catmint is a colourful addition and easily contained.
- Yarrow – perfect for some extra colour and vibrancy. Yarrow flowers are both vibrant and grow well in sandier, drier climates.
- Licorice plant – with beautiful foliage, this plant can wind its way around other plants and is a beautiful decorative touch.
Replace grass with stone
Large areas of grass require frequent watering, especially during the hot summer months. A dry garden functions best with gravel and stone being the main ground cover. Harder rocks and stone also make for better drainage. Replacing grass with stone will require less watering over the long term and form the perfect foundation for a dry garden.