Saving Water Outside

Waterwise Plant Selector

The Queenland Government’s Waterwise Plant Selector is an online database of over 4,000 native and non-native plants suited to Queensland’s climate zones.

It provides Queensland residents with a comprehensive reference tool for finding water efficient plants which will grow in their region. The Waterwise Plant Selector is a free online resource which allows people to search for plants by postcode, which links to one of seven (7) climate zones. A broad range of information on each plant is also provided including size, light requirement and suitable soil types. Searches can be refined by specifying various plant attributes such as water needs, plant type, flower colour and more.
Access the Waterwise Plant Selector


Water Efficiency Outdoors


  • Plant drought-resistant native trees and shrubs. These species are both attractive and effective in helping to cut your water costs.
  • Put mulch over the top of your garden beds.
  • Mulches can prevent up to 73% moisture loss through evaporation!
  • A 50mm mulch layer can save hundreds of litres of water per year.
  • Mulches also prevent excessive runoff, restrict weed growth, and help put valuable nutrients back into your soil.


  • Install water-efficient drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs and flowers. This type of watering gets the moisture to the roots of the plant where it is needed and used.
  • Wait until the soil dries out before watering to toughen up your plants and make them hardier in dry conditions.
  • Move your pot plants outside when it rains for a good, free soak.
  • Water during the early morning (5-8am) or late afternoon (5-8pm) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is reduced. Check the current water restrictions for watering times.
  • Don’t water on windy days. Water can be blown onto footpaths and driveways, which wastes your time, water and money.


  • There is no need to water lawns, and some gardens, for at least a week after rain.
  • Fertilisers increase water consumption. Apply the absolute minimum amount of fertiliser needed, to keep watering down.
  • Remember to keep your lawn and garden weeded. Weeds compete with your plants for water, as well as nutrients and light.
  • Collect and use rainwater for watering your lawns and gardens. This water is “free”, and by using it just as wisely as the water you pay for – the savings in your pocket will really start to add up!
  • If you have an automated sprinkler system, teach your whole family how to shut off your watering system so anyone who is home can turn off the sprinklers when rain is coming.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and ensure that only your lawn is being watered, and not the house, footpath or street.
  • If you have an evaporative air conditioner, direct the water to drain onto a garden, tree or your lawn. In summer, this could save you a lot of watering time (and money).
  • Reduce your area of lawn. Avoid having turfed areas which are hard to water and mow. Fill these areas with porous materials, such as colourful gravel, or with water conservative shrubs and ground covers.
  • Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart, so water can reach the roots, instead of running off the surface.
  • Test to see when you need to water:
    • Use an old screwdriver to as a probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, you don’t need to water.
    • Simply walk across your lawn. If you leave footprints or the lawn stays flat – then it’s time to water.
  • Allow for seasonality in your watering schedule. Winter lawns require less watering than summer lawns.
  • If your grass is brown, this doesn’t mean it’s dead, it’s just dormant.
  • Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks. When the rain begins, your grass will quickly turn green again, and you will have saved money by watering your dormant grass correctly.
  • Give your lawn more water, but less often.
  • Use a timer on your sprinkler. A forgotten sprinkler wastes more than 1000 litres per hour, all of which you pay for. If you don’t have a hose timer, set a kitchen timer.
  • Water small areas of grass by hand, to avoid waste.
  • Wash your cars and pets on the lawn. This waters the lawn at the same time.
  • Mow your grass as infrequently as possible. Mowing puts your lawn under additional stress, causing it to require more watering.
  • Adjust your lawnmower to a higher setting.
  • Longer grass will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.

Cleaning Outside

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and footpath and save up to 300 litres of water every time.
  • Cleaning a path with a broom is quicker than with a hose, so the broom method also saves you time.

Washing Cars

  • When washing your car, only use the hose for rinsing.
  • Use a bucket and sponge to wash the car in between rinsing.
  • Attaching a trigger nozzle to your hose can make the process of turning the hose on and off easier and can save you more than 350 litres of water per car wash.

Watering Plants

  • The trigger nozzle also comes in handy when moving the hose around the garden to hand water, but remember to turn the hose off at the tap when finished!
  • Choosing the right plants can save water and time caring for them. There are a range of native and exotic plants available that thrive in dry conditions.
  • Plants can be grouped together according to their water needs.
  • It is recommended you speak with your local nursery for advice on WaterWise plants which thrive in your area.
  • Don’t forget to give shrubs a spring pruning as this reduces the leaf area and the plants water usage requirements.