The following information is required for the program to calculate water use:
- Your garden’s postcode
- Plant names (general types or specific species)
- Watering system(s)
- Mulch (if used)
- Conditions (area and density of plants, slope and exposure)
Step by Step instructions
Before you begin, look around your garden and divide it into rough areas, where an ‘Area’ is a section of your garden that uses a common watering method. Use this single-page SmartGardenWatering Planner Form (213kB PDF) to help with this planning.
Now work with the program…
From the My Water Use tab, click the ‘Begin First Plant Area’ button and enter a name for your garden and its suburb.
Next, follow the sequence of 'post-it' note hints to:
1. Name and size your plant area
First click ‘Edit Area Name’ to give your first Plant Area a meaningful name and (importantly!) to enter its area.
2. Define your plants in ‘Plant Area 1’
Click the ‘Edit Plants’ link: the pop up area presents a ‘Browse Plants’ tab and also a more advanced ‘Search Plants’ tab. Choose plants for your Area. Closing the pop-up will show a graph of water demand for your garden.
3. Select a watering system
Click the ‘Edit water’ link to select a watering method. Make your selection. Closing the pop-up will add blue bars the your graph indicting the amount of water we recommend you apply to this Area each month.
4. Select mulch & other conditions
Click the ‘Edit Mulch’ link to choose your mulch – note the difference adding a mulch makes to your water demand graph! Also use the ‘Edit Conditions’ link to set conditions specific to your garden.
Understanding the graph
The graph shows the plant water demand (green bars) and supply (blue bars) needed for healthy plants for each month of the year. Usually there is a gap between demand and supply because an additional optimal-depth watering would take the water supplied past what is demanded.
Printing a watering report
Click the ‘Watering Report’ button to see a summary of your entire garden that can be saved as a PDF document and printed.
Finally, saving your garden
To register (so that your garden is saved online for later viewing and editing) simply click the ‘Join’ link at the top right of the screen and enter your details. (Fear not, your email address will not be passed on, and will not be used for purposes other than a possible rare contact informing you of important information relating to this software.)
Why not also click the "hidden" button (near top left) to change your garden's status to "visible" so that others can also see it?
Explore other links on the screen. For example, ‘Show Rain Tank’, ‘Rainfall Data’, the social networking links at the top right, and the ‘Community’ tab.