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shot of a house with plants and bushes in front yard.
These eight tips can help protect your plants from heat and pests this summer.


Prevent and protect

The arrival of warmer weather also brings seasonal pests to the garden, and our plants need a little extra attention and care to help them thrive. We’re sharing eight simple yet effective ways to help protect your garden from the summer heat and prevent unwelcome visitors.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

1. Install drip irrigation

A drip irrigator is a must-have for the garden. This easy D.I.Y. solution takes no more than a day to install and sits at the base of plants, ensuring that each plant gets the hydration it needs without water wastage. They also keep the soil moist and your plants happy on hot days by delivering water directly to the roots.

Drip irrigators are also less stress for you. You can set it up with an automatic timer to water when your garden needs it the most. Timers can be attached directly to a tap with watering periods set each day.

Tip: Before you get started, check with your local council for any potential water restrictions or guidance.

A soaker hose irrigation system lines a garden bed


2. Enrich your soil

A hydrated garden starts at the soil level. Soil that’s low in organic matter can suffer from water running straight off (clay soil) or running quickly through it (sandy or volcanic soil). Soil that’s rich in organic matter and living organisms allows the soil to absorb, store and deliver water to the plant.

Take a day to feed your soil by adding compost. This will do wonders for your soil structure, providing the nutrients for healthy organisms to thrive and helping plants to develop strong root systems. Adding a layer of mulch or pea straw helps fend off further evaporation.

Hands wearing blue gardening gloves holds mulch over a soil bin

3. Create a shady oasis

Install a shade structure over your garden. Whether it's a pergola, shade sail, or a strategically placed canopy over your deck or garden area, these simple structures can create cool spaces to give plants a much-needed break from the sun.

An outdoor area is covered but a beige, shade sail connected to the side of a house

4. Harvest water

Maximise water conservation by installing a water harvester, which will help capture rainfall that you can use on the garden during drier spells or water restrictions. This D.I.Y. project is simpler than you might think – it takes just a few hours to install.

Tip: Always check with your local council authority for any water harvesting installation requirements before getting started.

Bunnings employee turns tap to let water run from rainwater tank into blue bucket

5. Plant in a green barrier

Planting dense flower beds helps slow water evaporation by creating shade to cool the soil. It also helps keep out water-guzzling weeds and reduces the need for mulching. If you have existing flower beds, give them a little TLC to make them fuller and healthier. If you have bare garden patches, you have the perfect opportunity to cultivate robust flower beds.

An assortment of colourful flowers grow from an in-ground garden bed

6. Buddy up your plants

Companion planting not only creates a visually stunning garden, it also repels pests naturally. Pairing certain plants together can deter unwanted insects and encourage a thriving, happy ecosystem. For example: planting lavender, garlic, parsley or chives will help to protect roses from aphids, while celery keeps white cabbage butterflies away.

7. Introduce natural allies

Insects like butterflies and bees are beneficial for your garden and essential for a healthy planet, pollinating many of our fruits, flowers and vegetables. Bug houses and bright floral plants are great natural attractions. Birds are also wonderful allies when you have a caterpillar outbreak (caterpillars are an excellent source of sustenance for birds) and a bird bath or house will welcome them into your garden. 

A close-up image of a yellow butterfly sitting on bright, yellow flowers

8. Keep pests outdoors

If garden pests are making their way inside your home, there are things you can do to help keep them at bay. Install insect screens and caulk gaps to prevent entry. Keep the garden and rubbish bins firmly closed to help minimise houseflies and blowflies. Fly traps work wonders, too. You can also enlist your garden to help – flies dislike basil, cloves, mint and lavender.

Looking for more ways to beat the heat in your garden?

Check out these tips on how to heatproof your garden in summer.

Photo Credit: GardenImage/Friedrich Strauss, Getty Images, Larnie Nicolson, Emily Chalk

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.