Buyers want water-wise gardens for hot and dry summers

Buyers want water-wise gardens for hot and dry summers
Buyers want water-wise gardens for hot and dry summers

As we come to the end of one of the driest summers on record, it’s another reminder that those of us who live in this hot, Mediterranean climate need to be smarter and more efficient in our use of water.

Perth's metropolitan dams are at just 30% capacity and sprinkler restrictions look like they’re here to stay.

Irrespective of possible water restrictions, people need to be water-wise for the long-term and we can see how this now impacts on the housing market and through consumer choices.

Smaller residential blocks of land are more common and properties with reticulated gardens more popular.

As water restrictions become more common and as water costs increase, properties with water-wise gardens and shade features will become more desirable.

Busy lifestyles, smaller families and the increased cost of land are the primary reasons for shrinking block sizes with automated watering systems, but there is also a growing appreciation of the value of a water-wise home and of our greater environmental responsibilities

Each time the state government brings in water restrictions, REIWA agents notice some increased interest in households converting to native gardens, reducing lawn areas, fitting rain water tanks or switching to reduced-flow shower heads.

This is understandable, but before you attempt a similar project aimed at being water conscious, keep in mind what such a change in your garden, in particular, might mean for your home’s resale value.

Most home buyers are fairly conservative in their housing preferences. So, if you’re thinking of planning a more water-wise garden whilst being anxious to maintain the resale value of your property, keep in mind these few suggestions.

Think about keeping some lawn area in both your front and backyard. Australians love lawns and various types thrive in our warm conditions. Some are drought tolerant. A small lawn no bigger than a blanket will add some appeal and soften the harshness of brick walls and concrete driveways.

Large areas of uninterrupted paving can be counter-productive if you are trying to minimize on lawns and garden for the sake of water. During our hot summers, paving will heat significantly unless you have shade.

Designing a garden to make the best use of its position with the path of the sun is important if you have the opportunity. A well designed home and garden can ensure that there is at least one part of the outdoor living area shaded from our harsh afternoon summer sun. This will reduce evaporation in a section of your property and help keep the house cool.

As water restrictions become more common and as water costs increase, properties with water-wise gardens and shade features will become more desirable.

More homes are also making good use of rainwater tanks for garden use or to plumb into the laundry and toilets to bypass scheme water altogether.

DAVID AIREY is president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia. 

This article was originally published on reiwa.com.

David Airey

David Airey

David Airey is president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

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