Australia is one of the biggest continents in the world, and even though it is surrounded by water, by virtue of its size and location in the globe, it can also be one of the driest and hottest. Australia’s rain fall pattern is highly seasonal and, besides Antarctica, Australia’s rainfall is the lowest of the seven continents. With variable rainfall and hot and humid air, Australia is often plagued with droughts, which can last for several seasons in some areas.
According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, the rainfall in 2012 was below average for most parts of western and southeast Australia, with the rest of the country receiving average to above average. Overall, the country received 53.1mm of rain which is 17% below normal, making 2012 the 33rd driest winter in 113 years. With such low levels of rain, it is not uncommon for regional councils to impose water restrictions within their area – and this, in turn, makes maintaining gardens quite difficult.
Benefits of Gardens
It is unfortunate that many people underestimate the value of having a well-maintained garden. Researches show that having a garden, not necessarily a big one – even a small area would suffice – has tremendous benefits. A garden adds beauty and colour to homes and oftentimes, serves as an extra entertainment space for small gatherings. It is place where one can read a book to relax, or to run around to have fun. Having a well-maintained garden is also a sure-fire way to increase the market value of a home. Studies have shown that property buyers are willing to pay extra for a home with a garden or a lawn.
Home owners living in the more tropical areas of Australia don’t have much trouble in maintaining gardens. On the other hand, gardening may prove to be a challenge for those living in most parts of Western and Southern Australia.
Rock and Sand Gardens
It is fortunate that there are other gardening options for homeowners in the drier regions of Australia. Instead of traditional grass, homes can have Japanese-inspired rock and sand gardens where an area is covered primarily with sand, and rocks serving as points of interest. Greenery is added in the form of small bonsai plants or pocket gardens in key areas.
Potted Plant Garden
Another option is to have a garden made up of potted plants. The pots can be arranged to form a pathway, or can be clustered together to form a wall or a garden feature. Even though these plants will need to be cared for, the combined water usage to nourish the plants would still be less than what is required to water a whole lawn.
Synthetic Grass Garden
If, however, having a green lawn is preferred, synthetic grass is a viable and economical option to natural grass. Synthetic grass has come a long way in terms of appearance and versatility since it was developed in the 1960s. Synthetic grass offers high flexibility in landscaping designs and can also come in different kinds of grass varieties. It is easy to maintain because it doesn’t need to be watered, nor does it need to be mowed. Real plants can be placed in designated areas, with the synthetic grass trimmed to go around these. Or potted plants can be placed on top of the grass. The choices are limitless. It is not uncommon to see houses with fake grass in Perth, Adelaide, Kalgoorlie, and other cities in the Western Australia and Southern Australia Territories.
Having a garden is still do-able, even in dry arid conditions. You just need to know what materials you can work with and be creative with what you have. Challenge yourself and you’ll be surprised at what garden ideas you can come up with.