Sydney Water Restriction Gardening Tips

When water restrictions are introduced into urban areas, many people feel concern about how they will grow and maintain a beautiful garden. However, the good news is, water restrictions don’t mean you have to give up on keep plants alive but it DOES mean we have to rethink how we garden, how we “spend” available water, how we save it and finally, recycle it.

Read this article to find out our water restriction gardening tips so you can prepare your garden for limited water and ongoing drought conditions.

What’s allowed under Level 1 water restrictions?

You can

Water lawns and gardens:

  • with a watering can or bucket
  • by hand-held hose, before 10 am or after 4 pm, as long as your hose is fitted with a trigger nozzle
  • with drip irrigation systems
  • with watering systems with one or more of these features:
    • automated weather adjustment
    • rain sensor
    • soil moisture sensor
  • water new turf for one week after it’s delivered as long as you follow the instructions provided by the turf supplier

You can’t

  • use standard sprinklers and watering systems at any time
  • leave hoses and taps running unattended

Source: Sydney Water

Our Top 4 Water-Wise Gardening Tips

1. Compost

Thorough soil preparation will increase your soil’s water and nutrient-holding capacity. This can be done by digging organic compost into the soil. Mulch will help to keep the temperature of the soil lower, which means it stays moist for longer as the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly.

TIP: Instead of sweeping or blowing leaves into the street or filling your green bin, compost them!

2. Fertilise

At this stage, you could fertilise, which will help, but it is best to do both in the spring.

Some soils are on the hydrophobic side, particularly during drought conditions. When the soil is in this state, it will be quite dry and naturally repel water. If this is the case, you may also need to add a wetting agent to help water penetrate and hold in your soil.

3. Mulch

During drought conditions, it’s very important to mulch around the garden and pot plants. Keep in mind that the finer mulch will hold more moisture better, i.e. fine pine bark is better than big chunky bark.

  • Vegetable gardens use sugar cane mulch or Lucerne
  • Pot plants you can use pebbles, which can be decorative but also help hold in the moisture

Before applying mulch, it is generally a good idea to ‘till’ or dig the soil over to create aeration, so as there is not a hard barrier between the mulch and the plant roots.

You should always be careful not to build the mulch up around the trunk of the plant as this creates ‘collar rot’. Always mulch 20-50mm from the trunk and minimum of 25–25mm deep. This also depends on the type of mulch.

Tip: In my opinion, weed control mats don’t allow the water to penetrate the soil directly and create ‘run off’.

4. Irrigation System

If you have an irrigation system, check that it is a drip system and not a spray system. Make sure that all the drippers are working and the mulch is not covering them. It is best that you set them to come on early in the morning.


Need advice about designing a drought-resistant garden?

Are you about to design your garden, courtyard or balcony? Talk to us about water restriction gardening and how you can make it drought-resistant.

We can answer your questions or even provide garden consultancy services. Give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

Best Shade Plants For Sydney Gardens

Best Shade Plants For Sydney Gardens-Website Featured Image

Does your garden have a shady corner or dark patch that gets little or no sun? Or perhaps your whole garden is enveloped in shade for most of the day? Whether the shade is coming from a large tree, or perhaps the shadows from the house, a shed or neighbouring building, you are not alone. Dealing with shaded areas in your garden or balcony is an issue most gardeners face.

As many plants don’t tolerate long periods or shade or full shade, these areas of the garden can be the most problematic to grow plants. The result for many gardeners are patches where the turf is bare and the plants either die or don’t flourish. Luckily, these issues can be solved if you select plants that actually thrive in varying levels of shade. By carefully planting the right plants, you can ensure the shaded areas of your garden are filled with contrasting textures, beautiful foliage, colour and flowers.

Keep reading to discover our top lists of shade plants for turf, screening, ground cover or pots:

Best turf for shade

Sir Walter Soft Leaf Buffalo is more shade tolerant than other varieties because of its broad leaves which photosynthesise well. Among the Buffalo varieties, Sir Walter Soft Leaf Buffalo is among the very best performers in shady areas and can thrive with as little as three hours of sunlight per day.

  • Shade tolerant
  • Need full sun shade or partial shade
  • Requires less water
  • Low lawn maintenance
  • Held consistently good colour throughout the year


Tall screening plants for shade

Alocasia (Elephant Ears) and other varieties, can survive in filtered sunlight or shade. It’s important to avoid direct sunlight on their leaves in the Sydney summer, as this can cause foliage burn.

  • Grows up to 20-90 cm tall
  • Avoid both direct sunlight and very dark and Gloomy spots
  • Like moist but well drained in partial shade
  • Moderate speed growth in summer
  • Colorful flowers
est Shade Plants For Sydney Gardens -


Tiger Grass is a striking plant from Thailand that looks like bamboo but it’s actually a perennial grass that blooms beautiful purple flowers. It’s great to use as an attractive feature or screening plant and does well in pots as well.

  • Grows up to 3-4 metres in height
  • Quick growing and can be fully grown within 18 – 24 months
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought tolerant
Tiger Grass


Ginger, particularly Thai Ginger, has lovely flowers. When it reaches maturity, it has the potential of reaching from one to two metres tall. You will want to provide enough space between plants to accommodate their height and bushy nature.

  • Likes full sun or partial shade
  • Blooms in summertime
  • Produces cluster of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers
  • Takes 10 months to mature


Heliconia will form a great backdrop or screen with the large upright leaves and a flower spike similar to Bird of Paradise.

  • Grows on average 1-2 metres in a garden
  • Should be planted in draining soil
  • Blooming season once to several times a year
  • Flowers come in a variety of lengths and shapes


Lower growing shade plants

Bromeliad Guzmanias and Bromeliad Alcantarea can be grown in pots, in the garden, on balconies or mounted on a tree or piece of wood. These bromeliads don’t need full sunlight and in fact, grow better in shady spots – that’s why they’re so successful under big trees.

  • Grows up to 1.5 metres tall
  • Keep out of direct sunlight
  • Beautiful foliage
  • Blooms only once




Rhoeos, particularly the dwarf and mid-sized versions, are an excellent and fast growing ground cover in the shaded parts of the garden. It is used as an effective edging plant, or even as underplantings and is popular due to their texture and colour.

  • Grows up to 30-50 cm tall
  • Enjoys partial shade to full shade
  • Drought tolerant
  • Leaves can die from excessive watering


Liriopes particularly Monroe White and Green Dichondra are a great ground cover and is a good alternative to lawn. It produces spikes of violet or white blooms in summer, followed by white or black berries in autumn.

  • Grows up to 25-45 cms tall
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought and frost tolerant
  • Tolerant of full sun to heavy shade
  • Requires pruning or cutting back once a year if leaves become untidy


Hostas come in many shapes and sizes and add colour with its beautiful foliage, with some being fragrant. This low maintenance plant should be positioned in semi to full shade.

  • Grows up to 2.5 metres tall
  • Blooms in summer
  • Drought tolerant
  • Keep soil moist but not wet


Lamium Beacon Silver a low maintenance shade-loving ground cover with white or pink flowers and silver, heart-shaped leaves bordered in mid to deep green. If there is too much sun, the foliage will burn.

  • Grows up to 15-20 cm tall
  • Partial shade or full shade
  • Low maintenance plant
  • Flowers from spring to summer


Ajugas – If you are looking for a low maintenance ground cover that offers more than just a bland green mat, consider ajugas. They offer a wide variety of foliage colours, usually rich deep burgundy and sometimes cream and pink edges.

  • Grows up to 15-20 cm
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in spring to summer
  • Prefers medium-moisture and well-drained soils
Ajuga -Website-Featured-Image.


Potted plants for shade

Large leaf Jades are an easy to care for succulent, and can be grown indoors and outdoors, and even as bonsai plants. Fast growing, inexpensive and incredibly resilient, you cannot go wrong with this plant.

  • Grows up to 1.5 metres
  • Full sun or part shade
  • Low maintenance
  • Need to be watered more frequently in summer and spring


New Guinea Impatiens are perfect for planters and hanging baskets in the shade. Their colourful blooms come in bright shades from lavender to orange. They’re easy to care for, as long as you keep them well-watered throughout the hottest parts of the year.

  • Grows up to 38cm
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Low maintenance
  • Blooms continuously
  • Needs a well-draining soil that holds moisture long enough


Camellias thrive in pots in the shade but require repotting every two or three years. Being evergreen plants, they provide an element of lushness with their foliage and flowers to any courtyard or balcony.

  • Grows up to 1.5-3 metres tall
  • Dappled light/Part shade or full shade
  • Long blooming flowers
  • Needs well-drained soil
Camellia - Website - Featured -Image


Philodendron Xanadu is the perfect low maintenance plant with luscious evergreen foliage and decoratively shaped leaves. It will tolerate full sun but is also happy in partial shade. Ideal for use in a larger pot for the perfect feature plant.

  • Grows up to 50-80 cm
  • Needs to be watered regularly
  • Likes moist but not constantly drenched soil
  • Poisonous plant – should not be consumed by animals or humans


Monstera deliciosa (also known as a split leaf philodendron) is an easy-to-grow plant that does well in a pot. It is not recommended in the garden as it can get huge. It’s known for its stunning, split leaves which are dark green and glossy.

  • Grows up to 3 metres tall
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Prefer warm climate
  • Rarely blooms

Do you need expert advice to select shade plants?

Selecting the best plants for the shaded areas of your garden, courtyard or balcony can be challenging. However, expert advice can prevent making choices which result in your plants don’t thrive.
If you need professional assistance, feel free to get in touch with us to get your questions answered. You can also schedule a free consultation or access our soft landscaping services right away.


Dazzle With No Hassle Using These 10 Low Maintenance Plants

Low maintenance plants are a great choice for many people. Whether you are new to gardening or don’t want the hassle of laborious gardening work, there are plenty of choices when it comes to plants that can withstand being ignored for periods of time. There is also a solid case for choosing low maintenance plants, especially in Sydney, where we can have extreme heat or long periods of dry weather.

Select plants from this list of outdoor and indoor plants and you can still have spectacular looking greenery, without spending a lot of time or effort with care or maintenance.

Low Maintenance Plants for Outdoors

1. Cycads: are ideal for both seasoned gardeners and beginners as they are easy to grow and save a lot of time that you spend on maintaining them. These grow on hard rock or sand and are long living plants. Their elegant appeal makes them an asset to your garden as well as indoor.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Cycads


2. Large Leaf Jade: Not everyone possesses a green thumb. For those with a black thumb, the large leaf Jade plants are perfect. These are succulents that can be grown indoors and outdoors, and even as bonsai plants. Fast growing, inexpensive and incredibly resilient, you cannot go wrong with this plant.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Large Leaf Jade


3. Star Jasmine Tricolour: a variant of the common star jasmine. It is ideal as ground cover as it hugs the ground forming an attractive border plant. You can use it as cascade or in containers too. While it does not flower frequently, the leaves themselves form vibrant foliage. Resistant to diseases and pest it is a drought tolerant plant ideal for the hot Sydney summers.


4. Gymea Lily: is a large feature shrub; This is a common plant seen in the Sydney Basin. Popular for its amazingly huge flower heads and opulent green beauty, it is a must have for any landscape design. Being a robust native plant, it can easily resist bushfires and drought.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Gymea Lily


5. Silver leaf GazaniaAnother ground cover plant that is perfect for your garden. It produces beautiful flowers that are golden yellow in colour. The plant flowers profusely during warm summer months. A hardy plant, it flourishes even in the harshest conditions found inland or coastally.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Silver-leaf-Gazania


Ideal Indoor Varieties of Low Maintenance Plants

1. Rhapis palmsExcellent for growing in full shade, Rhapis palms are known as Shady Lady’s. While these tolerate morning sun, too much exposure of summer sunlight can scorch the leaves. These are grown indoors in containers and reach about 6 feet and rarely spread over 3 feet.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Rhapis-palms


2. Zanzibar Gem: Zanzibar Gems, popular as ‘Money Tree’ in Asia, is also known as Eternity Plant. The indoor plant grows best in a shady and dry surrounding. It can withstand neglect to an incredible level. While overwatering and cold temperature are threats to its existence, if you grow it in a warm and sufficiently dry environment, it can thrive for a longer time. It is tolerant to water scarcity and low sunlight.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Zanzibar-Gem.


3. Rhipsalis succulent: Also known as Mistletoe cacti, this plant features elongated and highly branched stems that hang down in clusters. It is best looking when grown in a hanging basket or used as ground cover for your garden. The leaves are gold or lime yellow in colour and string shaped.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Rhipsalis-succulent


4. Ficus elastica: Also known as Rubber Plant, this ornamental plant can grow up to 30 meters. But the indoor plants are much lower in height and manageable. The foliage is fantabulous and the plant is similar to a tree making it a valuable addition indoors.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Ficus-elastica


5. SucculentsA popular choice for a low-maintenance garden or indoor pot because they can tolerate hot temperatures and require minimal watering. They are the perfect plant for forgetful gardeners and look stunning planted alone or as companions to other succulents or leafy plants.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Succulents


All the above plants are chosen for their ease of growing and care. Even if your past experience with growing plants has been a dismal failure, these plants will make you a gardening expert with their appealing beauty and resilient nature.

Need help with our selecting low maintenance plants?

If you would like to get a question answered or access our garden consultancy services, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

landscape design consultation

Craig’s Gardening Tips – Roses

1.  When pruning Roses you should always create a ‘vase’ shape which helps ventilation and stops disease. If there are any new ‘shoots’ below the graft, they should be removed.

2. Any ‘dead’ or ‘black’ wood cut them out, as they could be diseased.

3. Any branches that cross each other, remove the smallest branch or the branch in the way in order to create a ‘vase’ shape.

4. Spray Roses with Lime Sulphur as this will help with black spot and kills any disease on the bush but don’t spray if the bush is already ‘shooting’ new leaves as it will burn the new leaves.

5. Dig some cow manure around the base of the rose bush and sprinkle the bush with a good handful of Rose food. Roses are the hungriest feeders in the garden!

6. Mulch around the base of the bush with either lucerne and/or sugar cane, which will help hold the moisture in the soil in the summer months.

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Top Tips for Planting Succulents

Plant above the pot rim – When planting your succulent don’t make the mistake of placing the whole plant inside the pot. In order for succulents to stay healthy they need to sit above the rim of the pot (that is the plant itself not its roots!). If your soil is below the rim of the pot water will easily pool up and the leaves inside the pot will quickly rot from the water and cause problems for the rest of the plant. Fill your pot partially with soil and then put your succulent in. This will help you see if your plant is above the pot or below. Remember don’t just put the roots in an empty pot, it needs a base to sit on.




Spacing – Deciding on how much space needs to be between each succulent in an arrangement is entirely up to you. Succulents can definitely be planted close together. However, the closer they are they slower they will grow and therefore maintain the original design of the arrangement better. If you choose to leave a little more space between your succulents they will grow a little quicker (but remember these plants are generally slow growers) and over time they’ll fill in. This is a great option if you’d like for your plants to get bigger or reproduce on their own more easily. When there is space between the plants it’s easier to water the succulents properly. There is also better air flow so the soil will dry out more quickly and succulents love quick drying soil. Remember you don’t want to space your succulents too far apart or put them in a pot that is significantly larger than they are. Too much space will cause the succulents to focus on producing roots rather than getting larger.


four succulents


Let your succulents hang out – To make your succulent arrangement a little more interesting, place some succulents so they hang over the edge of your pot. A hanging succulent such as String of Pearls looks amazing hanging over the side of the pot.

Add some height – Another way to make your succulent arrangement look amazing is to use a tall succulent to give the arrangement some height. The combination of a tall succulent surrounded by shorter succulents and a trailing succulent can create an amazing arrangement.




Top Dressing – Be sure to finish off your arrangement by using a top dressing such as pebbles or sphagnum moss, your design will look more professional!

Beyond Parsley and Mint

We sell a lot of herbs at Mosarte. Exotic ones. There are a lot of foodies out there who adore having a gourmet living herb garden in close proximity to the kitchen! There’s also a lot of natural remedy fans who seek out particular herbs for their medicinal properties. Here’s a rundown of some of our current favourites and their culinary uses:

thai basis

Thai Basil – Perennial species, attractive purple stems make it a great ornamental as well as a culinary plant. Part of the mint family, strong hints of anise, licorice, and cloves. Loves sun, will suffer in too much shade and overwatering. Used in aromatherapy to release emotional and physical tension.

Sorrel – A tangy, lemony herb that likes partial shade. Young leaves can be used in salads, while older leaves are for soups and stews. Quite high in oxalic acid, so those with arthritis and gout should only eat small quantities, but extremely high in Vitamin C.


Tarragon – Hardy perennial herb that likes full sun and can thrive in poor soils. Great companion plant for many other plants. Hints of anise used extensively in French and Eastern European cuisine. Makes a great tea to remedy digestive complaints

Lemon Balm – Likes rich, moist soil, partial shade. Prune often and rigorously for thick growth and plentiful harvest. Great with fish. Widely medicinal – anxiety, depression, headaches, digestive complaints, antiseptic properties



Watercress – Peppery salad green that likes a cool, shady, moist location, or in a pond/water feature. Harvest as required to put in salads, soups or sandwiches. Very high is calcium, iron and vitamin C.

Chamomile – Drought-tolerant, largely pest-resistant, a hardy herb that likes partial shade. Will suffer from too much watering. Chamomile tea used medicinally to ease indigestion and anxiousness, but can be used in the garden as a natural insecticide, to combat damping off, and to promote germination.