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Water-wise gardening – a bibliography

State | Botanic gardens | Councils and regional water authorities | Native plant societies | Books


State and territory water authorities

In the ACT, the ActewAGL website includes water saving tips for the garden, lists of drought-resistant plants and describes the principles of xeriscape gardening.

Sydney Water has a section titled 'Saving water in your garden’ and includes information on garden design, mulching, watering systems and a water wise plant selector.

Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation has produced a 20 p. booklet titled ‘How to create a water wise garden in the Top End’.

The Queensland EPA has some information under the headings 'WaterWise in the garden’ and ‘WaterWise plants’.

South Australia Water has a section on their website titled ‘Save water in your garden’, a set of fact sheets and a general booklet ‘Beautiful waterwise gardens’.

Melbourne Water has a website titled ‘Water-wise gardens’ and includes a database of drought-tolerant plants.

The Water Corporation in Perth has a useful section titled ‘Saving water in your garden’. It includes garden design principles and a water efficiency calculator to help you estimate your water usage.

Botanic gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney has a section titled Waterwise gardening and a summarised factsheet.

Councils and regional water authorities

And Goulburn Valley Water in Victoria.

Native plant societies

The Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants includes an article by Merv Hodge titled ‘Waterwise and waterless gardens’.
And an article titled ‘Establishing Australian plants - the water wise way’.


  • Archer, J, Hodges, J, & LeHunt, B 1993, The water efficient garden: a practical and innovative guide - from planning through to established gardens, Random House, Sydney
    All aspects of dry climate gardening, including soil, plants, irrigation and rainwater collection.
  • Chatto, B 2000, Beth Chatto’s gravel garden: drought-resistant planting through the year, Bloomings Books, Hawthorn, Vic.
    Describes the development of a ¾ acre garden on gravel soil in England which survives with no watering.
  • Cochrane, T & Passmore, N 2003, The garden gurus guide to waterwise gardening, Garden Gurus, Dianella, W.A.
    Complete guide to suitable plants, garden planning and water conservation. Has a Western Australian focus.
  • French, J 1995, Plants that never say die, Lothian, Port Melbourne
    Includes a section on plants that survive dry areas and drought.
  • Hartshorne, H 1995, Plants for dry gardens: 750 plants for dry climates and water-deprived areas, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW.
    A handy reference which also includes general plant care information.
  • Morgan, D 2004, Succulents for Mediterranean climate gardens, Rosenberg, Dural, N.S.W.
    A practical guide to over 300 succulents that have evolved to grow in low-water regions. Topics include plants for different gardens and climatic conditions, architectural plants and designing with succulents.
  • Nottle, T 1996, Gardens of the sun, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, N.S.W.
    Observations on horticulture for gardens in warm, dry climates. From an Australian author.
  • Nottle, T 2004, Plants for Mediterranean climate gardens, Rosenberg, Dural, N.S.W.
    Mediterranean garden design uses plants that survive on natural rainfall with little or no supplementary irrigation. This book covers native and exotic plants, and chapters are organised into functions such as ‘Shade makers’, ‘Statement makers’, ‘Scent makers’, ‘Silver superstars’ and ‘Successful succulents’
  • Patrick, J 1994, Beautiful gardens with less water, Lothian, Melbourne.
    Describes how to develop an attractive and practical garden that has minimal water demand. Includes a list of recommended plants from drought zones around the world suitable for growing in Australia.
  • Ross, L 2005, Create a sunsmart, waterwise garden with Linda Ross, Simon & Schuster, Pymble, N.S.W.
    Ross shows how to create gardens designed along water-smart principles. The book showcases 9 garden designs for the backyard, the courtyard and the bush garden, with information on tanks, native and exotic plants.
  • Taylor, J 1993, The dry garden: gardening with drought-tolerant plants, Lothian, Melbourne
    Written for the international market. Detailed notes on plants in alphabetical order under headings for trees & shrubs, conifers, climbers, grasses etc.
  • Van Dok, W 2002, The water-efficient garden: a guide to sustainable landscaping in Australia, Rev. ed., Water-efficient Gardenscapes, Glen Waverley, Vic.
    Detailed information about water efficiency planning and design, how to improve the soil’s ability to harvest water, irrigation and rainwater tanks.
  • Walsh, K 2004, Waterwise gardening, 3 rd ed., Reed New Holland, Sydney.
    Covers design, mulching, soil improvement and plant selection, mainly for southern Australia.
  • Water conservation through good design : a guide for planners, architects, engineers, landscape architects and land managers, 2003, Western Australian Water Resources Council, Leederville, W.A.
    How to create attractive urban environments which are appropriate to the arid climate of Western Australia, including case studies from Karratha. Topics covered: landscape planning principles, water harvesting design, irrigation system, managing soil salinity, lawns, and plant selection and management.
  • Windust, A 1995, Drought garden : management and design, Allscape, Mandurang, Vic.
    Working with nature, plant selection, climate and fire risks.
  • Windust, A 2003, Waterwise house and garden: a guide for sustainable living, Landlinks Press, Collingwood, Vic.
    Explains the science behind survival strategies of plants in dry conditions, shows how soil and water interact and includes a list of plants tolerant to dry conditions in both tropical and temperate climates.

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