During a time of unpredictable weather and the longest drought witnessed in Australia in recent memory, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenges of gardening in a dry climate.
Current conditions should prompt homeowners to reassess their gardens, and make changes to plant selection and garden layout to better suit Australia's predominantly dry environment. A well planned garden will hold it in good stead even with minimal rainfall.
According to Honda Power Equipment, there are several initiatives that can be taken to ensure luscious lawns, flourishing flowers and shaded sun spots.
If properly designed, the garden is something that can be enjoyed all year round. Putting some thought into planning can result in a more water efficient garden, increasing its chances of longevity.
The southern side of the property is likely to be shaded, making it more suitable for ferns and other plant varieties that enjoy shade; while the northern and western sides of the property are often more exposed to direct sunlight and therefore more suited to a vegetable garden, or lawn.
Despite dry conditions, there are a number of drought tolerant lawns, including Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo, that will better handle the conditions. These hearty, fast-growing lawn varieties can be easily maintained with a reliable lawn mower such as those found in Honda's Australian-built Buffalo range.
Designed for demanding Australian conditions, the Buffalo range uses Honda's advanced four-stroke technology and begins with the Buffalo Buck, an ideal model for residential duties.
For larger or more challenging grass areas the Buffalo Bull comes to the fore, while the top of the range Buffalo Classic is popular among professional garden contractors.
In dry conditions, a high blade setting should always be used to help maintain moisture in the grass.
Another effective way of making sunny garden spots more usable is the addition of a hedge to increase the shade around entertaining areas.
Although hedges were once regarded as slow growing and time consuming to maintain once mature, especially if being manually clipped, there are now a number of new varieties that are fast growing and drought resistant, growing between 60 and 120 centimetres a year.
According to Honda, hedge maintenance is much easier and faster with Honda's HHH25D Hedgecutter, rather than the old loppers.
The HHH25D's triple action cutting system and vibration-reducing frame dramatically decreases fatigue during operation and it also features a large easy-to-grip handle that can be rotated from centre to 90 degrees left and right, to provide a comfortable operating position to suit all tasks.
During the garden design phase, it is important to remember to utilise any slopes wisely, ensuring that when it rains, the water ends up in a garden bed or on the lawn.
Compost and mulch:
The use of compost and mulch in the garden will help create a rich and fertile soil, and reduce water evaporation.
Creating compost can be as simple as combining vegetable scraps, blood and bone, straw and garden prunings, into a large compost bin. Adding a small amount of water regularly will keep the compost moist (not soggy) and prepare it for use.
Compost is best used at planting time, combining the compost with the existing soil to provide a rich nutrient base for plants and lawn to grow.
Compost is a vital ingredient to ensure that gardens, and especially lawns, start out with a fighting chance. Especially in dry conditions, we need to be giving our lawns as much nutrients as possible.
Mulch is equally as important and can be easily made by gathering garden leaves and grass clippings into a heap.
Honda's light weight HHB Blower will make short work of this task and is a far more appealing choice than hours of endless raking. Honda's light weight HHB Blower is also an effective alternative to hosing down paved areas, during water restrictions.
The low-noise Blower is a favourite for council use, particularly in built up inner-city areas, as its GX25 mini four-stroke engine is less intrusive and offers reduced exhaust emissions compared to its two-stroke counterparts.
Once the heap of leaves and clippings begin to rot and become moist, the mulch can be layered 7mm thick in garden beds and surrounding trees, ensuring minimal evaporation.
The mulch is not directly touching the plant stems as this may cause them to rot.
Water from the washing machine, bath and bathroom sink is known as grey water and is suitable to use on the garden without treatment.
A grey water hose is inexpensive and can easily be fitted to the washing machine drain hose; it also provides a year-round water source and overcomes the enforced water restrictions that some parts of the country are under.
Watering systems, ideally connected to a rainwater tank, can also be set up for improved efficiency.
Drip irrigation is regarded as one of the best systems; releasing water slowly to the base of the plants, there is no loss to evaporation, wind or overspray.
It is also crucial to keep control of any weeds and pests in the garden, as these will fight for water, and make watering efforts less efficient.
According to Honda, a few simple changes in the garden can make a world of difference.
With selection and positioning of the correct vegetation, installation of a rainwater tank and a grey water hose, the garden is much more likely to stay looking good year round.
And keeping it nice and tidy is also hassle free with Honda's advanced four-stoke garden care range.