Skip to Display Options Skip to Main Content
Level 2 Water Restrictions in place for the Tweed from Friday 13 December. Level 4 restrictions already in place for Tyalgum. Save water now
Aboriginal Acknowledgement A -  |  A +

Email Link   Water Saving Outdoors

Around 40% of household water is used outdoors. Here are some easy ways to reduce your outdoor water use.

Gardens

Watering garden with bucket icon

  • Only water your garden in the cooler hours of the day – early morning and dusk. Early morning watering allows plants to use the water throughout the day.
  • Occasional deep soakings train plant roots to grow down into the soil and increases their drought tolerance.
  • Use drought tolerant plants in your garden (native species are best). Water efficient gardens save you time and money.
  • Apply 7-10cm of mulch around plants to help save water lost through evaporation. Mulch can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70% by keeping the soil cool and reducing exposure to dry air.

Lawns

Lawn icon

  • Lawns consume up to 90% of water used in household gardens. Reducing lawn area is an easy way to save water.
  • Grass has shallow roots (around 25mm) so giving your lawn a good soak takes less water than you might think. Drenching the soil won't help your lawn.
  • Set your mower to cut 4cm or higher to avoid ‘scalping’ your lawn.
  • Paved areas increase heat radiation and water runoff, use porous paving, pebbles or drought-tolerant ground covers instead. Ask for advice at your local plant nursery.

Rainwater tanks

Installing a rainwater tank means you’re less reliant on town water supplies and more prepared for times of low rainfall. Find out more about installing a rainwater tank.

Greywater

Greywater is the wastewater from washing machines, showers, baths and basins. If used safely it is a great option for watering your lawns and garden, and isn’t affected by water restrictions.

But don’t use greywater on edible plants such as vegetables and fruit trees.

Irrigation systems

Microspray icon

Drip irrigation systems, which deliver water at or below the ground surface, are more efficient than spray irrigation systems.

A watering timer can significantly reduce the amount of water used.

Compost

Council has an organic bin service (in urban areas) so your food and garden waste can be collected and turned into compost.

Discounted compost bins are available to purchase from Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre.

Compost is easily made from household waste and:

  • keeps more moisture in the soil
  • is better than chemical fertilisers
  • adds nutrients to the soil
  • reduces household waste by up to 30%

Download our easy-to-use guide on composting (754kB PDF).

Worm farms can be purchased from local garden centres or hardware stores.

Garden design

Use windbreaks, screens and shade from trees to reduce evaporation. When planning your garden, group plants with similar water needs together.

High water use

Moderate water use

Low water use

(10 - 20% of your garden)

(20 - 40% of your garden)

(30 - 60% of your garden)

  • Lawns
  • Most vegetables
  • Fruit trees
  • Exotic shrubs (e.g. azaleas and camellias)
  • Flowering herbaceous annuals
  • Potted plants
  • Many bulbs
  • Hardy vegetables (e.g. pumpkin and potato)
  • Hardy fruit trees and vines (e.g. nut trees and grapes)
  • Many herbs
  • Some exotic shrubs
  • Day lilies, roses and daisies
  • Most natives (e.g. banksias, grevilleas, eucalypts)
  • Succulents
  • Cacti
  • Olive trees
  • Plumbago, agapanthus and vygies
  • Some exotic ornamentals (e.g. bougainvillea)

Beyond the garden

Cleaning cars, bikes and boats

Car and boat icon

  • Many commercial car washes recycle their water, and new technology means there are now waterless car washes.
  • Wash your car or boat on the lawn so water doesn’t flow down the drain (make sure you’re using biodegradable cleaning chemicals).
  • Use a bucket or hose fitted with a spray trigger control.
  • Use greywater from your bath or shower to wash your car.

Pet washing

Dog washing icon

  • Use a large basin to bath pets, or wash them in an area of the lawn that needs water.
  • When refilling your pet's water bowl tip the stale water into a pot plant.
  • When cleaning out your aquarium tip the dirty water onto your non-edible plants.
  • Support pet groomers who have water-saving measures in place.

Swimming pools

Swimming pool icon

  • Pool covers reduce evaporation and can save up to 30,000 litres of water a year.
  • Place a shade cloth over parts of the pool.
  • Regularly check for leaks in the pipe system and pool.
  • Properly maintain your pool water to avoid having to empty polluted water.
  • Keep pool water free of dust, leaves and debris to protect the filtration system.
  • Don't overfill your pool and minimise bombing and splashing.
  • Backwash only when necessary or use a cartridge filter.

Check current Water Restrictions to make sure you know your water use limits.

Last Updated: