Ways to create a water-wise garden

A few tips on how to garden sustainably

With the ongoing drought in the Western Cape and as the demand for water, our most precious resource, grows it is now more important than ever to garden sustainably. Here are a few ways to create an environmentally-friendly garden that limits water consumption.

Indigenous plants

Get rid of all invasive, alien plants and focus on water-wise indigenous plants. With South Africa being one of only six Floral Kingdoms in the world, there is a vast array to choose from. Go with plants that require minimal to no watering and be sure to plant in autumn so that your plants are able to develop strong enough root systems before spring and summer.

Here is a list of indigenous plants that are perfect for your water-wise garden:

  •         Ericas
  •         Acacias
  •         Rosemary
  •         Origanum
  •         Thyme
  •         Lavender
  •         Silver tree
  •         Lamb’s ear
  •         Beach Salvia
  •         Crassulas
  •         Aloes
  •         Wild garlic
  •         Agapanthus
  •         Vygies
  •         Rock Rose
  •         Bush violet
  •         Honey flower
  •         Clivias
  •         African daisy
  •         Marigold
  •         Verbena
  •         Kochia
  •         Wild olive tree
  •         Strelizia
  •         Agaves

These plants either reduce water loss or are able to store water.

Using greywater

Using greywater to irrigate your garden is the best solution to keep your garden lush and healthy. You not only save water by using recycled water, you are also saving money. You can use water collected from your baths and showers or invest in a water tank that will collect rainwater. You should only water your garden between 6pm and 6am to prevent water loss due to evaporation.

Improve soil quality

Add compost to your soil to add valuable organic matter and micro-organisms. You can also cover your flower beds with a layer of organic mulch which will prevent large amounts of water evaporation.

Rethink your lawn

Consider introducing water-wise ground cover to your garden instead of grass. Dymondia margaretae, for example, is a perfect, low-maintenance, water-wise solution.

If you do choose to stick with grass, keep in mind that Buffalo grass requires less water and mowing.


Look after our planet and the creatures that inhabit it too. We share ways to maintain a garden and protect the environment through sustainable practices.


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Written by Taryn Hill

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