Ten Tips for Waterwise Gardening

Today (the 10th December) is the first day of level 2 water restrictions.  It’s important to ‘play by the rules’, but that doesn’t mean your garden needs to suffer.  It just means you need to be smarter.  So what exactly are you allowed to do and when? 

At Eden Gardens we have dug deep to look at how you can save you garden and the environment.


  1. You can use a watering can or bucket to water your garden with the mains supply as much as you like before 10am and after 4pm. Think of it as your daily gym workout, only the weights get lighter as your pour.  We have watering cans priced from $7.98, but also stock exclusive brass watering cans from Haws and funky, ergonically designed plastic can that help lighten your load.
  2. Do you have a water tank that’s not connected to the mains? You can water however and whenever you like, but it’s more efficient to stick to before 10am and after 4pm.
  3. If you have a drip irrigation system or smart watering system (one that’s controlled by a device that monitors the weather and water demands and responds accordingly) then you can use this for 15minutes every day before 10am and after 4pm. We stock Smart Weather Stations that you can connect to your system.
  4. Do you have a gardener that comes to your place? Check with them if they have an exception.  There may be some duties that they are allowed use water for as part of their permit.
  5. What about spray on fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides? You are still allowed use products like ‘Weed and Feed’, Harvest hose-on organic fertiliser, Click on Seasol, Eco-flo lime and DroughtShield, which helps stock plants from expiring as much water, as per manufacturer’s directions at any time of the day, but you must quickly and completely shut off the flow of water through the sprayer when the chemical is not being actively applied.  With these you’ll be watering wisely and improving their plant health.
  6. Mist you plants too before 10am and after 4pm to increase the humidity and help clean their breathing pores. Just like us, plants don’t like dry and dusty conditions, so invest in a decent atomiser or pressure sprayer and give them a morning and afternoon spritzer!
  7. Collect water from the shower – you can use shower and washing machine water on you trees and established shrubs, though avoid using grey water on your edible vegies and leafy greens. Bore water can also be used, though some restrictions may apply.
  8. Choose your ‘keepers’ and devote as many extra resources to them as you have time for. Look at these plants as ‘investment pieces’ rather than decorating items and go get that bucket of water onto them…even if involves bribing the kids to help!
  9. New lawns can be watered three times a day the first week they are laid, with a decreasing amount each day each week that they are in until their fourth week, when they drop down to before 10am and after 4pm for 30 minutes three days a week. After week four you can water using a watering can before 10am and after 4pm, and bear in mind that Turf NSW recommends only watering established lawns once a week.
  10. Use water surfactants to help your water get down into the soil where the plants can use it. Make sure your garden has one of these applied to it (e.g. Saturaid) and that your potting mix has the Australian Premium Standard marks (the red ticks) so that it also contains water storing crystals, slow release fertiliser and surfactants.  And MULCH, MULCH, MULCH to keep your soil from drying out further.


Remember, if you have special reasons to not adhere to these restrictions you can apply for exemptions.  This may be because you’re too elderly or ailing to carry a watering can, or if your garden has special cultural or heritage values, or perhaps you have a pond that supports wildlife.  If in doubt, contact Sydney Water for clarification, as fines of $220 apply to individuals who break the rules.