Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Climate ready gardens

Temperatures in Australia have increased on average 1 degree celcius since 1910.

In Canberra we can expect hotter temperatures, intense storms and a greater risk of bushfire. The elderly, the very young, immune impaired people and outdoor workers are most at risk in very hot weather.

And statistics show violent crimes increase during hot weather.

There’s lots you can do in your home and garden to keep cool during hot weather.

Firstly it’s important to follow the principle of choosing living materials over manufactured ones. Choose real plants over artificial plants. The same goes for real grass vs artificial grass. Living plants perform what is known as ecosystem functions for humans.

Ecosystem function simply means, the plants take in carbon dioxide, sunlight and water and emit oxygen for us to breath and water vapour. And thermal imaging shows trees help cool their surroundings.

There’s three aspects you can address to make sure you have a green leafy space to retreat to on hot nights. This space should also help cool the house down and reduce your reliance on using excess energy.

  1. Improve your soil – add organic material (like rotted manure and compost to your soil) – you want your soil to have the consistency of dark brown friable material rather than hard-packed clay. Healthy soil will absorb more rainfall and provide nutrients for your plants
  2. Harvest stormwater – collect rainfall not only in tanks but in your soil by including lots of permeable surfaces and structures like swales and rain gardens.
  3. Incorporate as many plants into your garden as possible – including trees that will eventually shade your roof and walls. Seek advice from reputable nurseries about suitable plants for a hotter drier climate.

For more information on creating climate ready gardens – www.canberragarden.com





With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government