Once established, native and adapted plants are very low maintenance, require little to no pesticides or fertilisers, and survive well on available water.

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Garden Tips

Benefits of Mulch
Mulching can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your soil and your plants. While there are many types of mulch, organic mulches such as wood chips, grass clippings, or other locally available materials help improve the soil by adding organic matter as they decompose. They also may encourage the growth of worms and other beneficial soil organisms that can help improve soil structure and the availability of nutrients for plants. Mulches are a labor saving device for the gardener. A layer of mulch will help prevent the germination of many weed seeds, reducing the need for cultivation or the use of herbicides. They also help moderate the soil temperature and retain moisture during dry weather, reducing the need for watering.

In addition, mulches can be used to enhance the look of your garden- many bark mulches provide uniformly rich brown color that contrasts with the plants.

Learn more at Global Garden
Go 'locally' Native
All plants require different amounts of water, sun and shade to survive, so it's easy to find plants that are attractive, low maintenance, and enhance your property and local environment.

By using native plants, you will contribute to local biodiversity and reduce need/costs for fertiliser, pest control and replacement plants. Many native trees and shrubs are also known for their ability to attract birds. These plants will not only survive on less water but also bring beautiful wildlife to your doorstep.
This applies particularly to the plants that are locally native to your immediate area rather than plants which are ‘native to Australia’.  These local native plants have evolved over thousands of years and adapted to your local conditions such as climate (especially rainfall) and soils, and have also co-evolved with the local native animals. 

This co-evolution has produced a host of relationships between our plants and animals.  Many of these relationships mean that very specific habitat requirements are met only by local native plant species - a simple example being Koala dependence on gum leaves. 

In many instances, the native plants also depend on the animals. For example, many plants will rarely pollinate in the absence of certain pollinating fauna. Examples of these pollinating partnerships are honeyeaters and banksias; some wasps and orchids.  

The local native species, and climatic conditions and soils, will tend to be very different for gardens in Perth, Alice Springs, Brisbane and Melbourne.   So, when selecting plants from the Growing Native Plants website, you are encouraged to choose species that grow in your local area rather than species from the other side of Australia.

For lists of plant species native to your local area, and of nurseries that grow them, please contact your nearest Greening Australia office (see www.greeningaustralia.org.au).    Also, many local Councils across Australia produce pamphlets on the native plants (and animals) of their area, so contact the environment section of your Council to see what local native plant and animal information they have.
Reducing the Size of Your Lawn
Lawns make for an attractive landscape, but they require a lot of water. In fact, lawns use about 2–3 times as much water as other plants in the garden and watering your lawn can result in as much as 50% water waste through evaporation, runoff, over spray and over watering. With a little planning and care, you can create a beautiful lawn area that incorporates form and function. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Evaluate how much lawn you need.  Then design your lawn to serve several purposes such as play areas, picnics and pets.
  • Convert unused lawn areas into garden space for other plantings.
  • Utilise mulch, ground covers and low water use plants in areas that are hard to water and maintain.

A smaller turf area helps to reduce the need for water and lawn maintenance while still meeting your needs for aesthetics, recreation and resource use.

Learn more at Guide to Lawn Care
Problems with Traditional Landscaping
What we do in our gardens often affects our neighbours and the environment. Here are a few impacts to consider when maintaining your garden or lawn:

  • Water Pollution: From excess application and improper use and disposal of pesticides and fertiliser. The average homeowner over-applies pesticides and fertilisers, often at rates many times that of farmers.
  • Air Pollution: Emissions from landscape equipment (lawnmowers, blowers, trimmers, etc.) are often much greater than that of a car per hour of operation. Small petrol-powered engines are the most polluting.
  • Declining Biodiversity (number and variety of plants and animals): When non-native plants "escape" from our gardens and take over natural areas they choke out the wide variety of native plants on which wildlife depend. The use of pesticides can also affect biodiversity - while less than 10% of all insects are harmful to plants, most pesticides are harmful or lethal to all insects. 
  • Flooding: A lawn absorbs less stormwater than a diverse planting of trees, shrubs, and ground covers.

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