How much water does your garden need?

Many people struggle to know how much to water their garden.  Do you water for 20 minutes, 40 minutes, or more?  How many days per week? And what type of sprinklers should you use?

If you have a mix of native plants and exotics, how much water does each plant type need to survive and thrive?  And how do you know if your sprinklers are applying the right amount?

It sure can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some general rules of thumb to help you work it all out.

Dry Season

Generally, most plants need about 30mm of water each week to be healthy.  Natives often need less though, more like 30 mm every two weeks.  That's why they are so water efficient! 

Remember, follow the 3, 2, 1, watering guide for different plant groups:

Wet Season and Build Up 

Use the Weather Web to help you make smart decisions about watering your garden, based on the rainfall in or nearby your suburb.  The Weather Web is a network of over 30 weather stations located on schools around the greater Darwin region providing local and current weather information.  

If you water manually or have a standard automated irrigation system, keep an eye on the Weather Web and follow the above guidelines to make smart decisions about watering your garden.  

If you have a smart irrigation controller, once you have set your weather triggers in the controller and connected it to the Weather Web, it will read the weather automatically and do all the work for you!

  • Water your lawn three times a week.
  • Water your garden beds twice a week (this is appropriate for exotic species such as fruit trees and palms).
  • Water to your natives just once a week or less (such as acacias, grevilleas and eucalypts). 

So, how do you work out how long to run your irrigation to apply the right amount of water? For lawns you can work out the amount specific to your sprinklers by doing a catch can test

Every garden is different, so follow the above guidelines, but always keep an eye on your plants and give them a drink if they look thirsty.

The 3, 2, 1 watering guide above will encourage your plants to grow deep root systems giving them better access to water and nutrients in the soil.  If you have been watering your garden more frequently, say twice a day, you should wean it to the 3, 2, 1 watering guide gradually. 


A network of over 30 weather stations around Darwin that provides a resource of localised weather information from suburb to suburb to help you make smart decisions about efficient watering in the garden.