While El Niño may mean “little boy” in Spanish, there’s nothing minor about the effects El Niño has on Australian weather.
El Niño has a significant influence on Australia’s weather patterns. So, whether you have a sprawling backyard, a compact courtyard or a grand front entrance, it’s vital to consider how the El Niño weather pattern will impact your outdoor space. To ensure your outdoor spaces remain inviting and idyllic (no matter the conditions), check out our proactive steps to prepare for the unique weather conditions brought about by El Niño.
Factor in fire safety
El Niño can increase the risk of bushfires, so it’s important to take fire safety precautions. Leaves and garden debris can be highly flammable, so regularly clear and maintain your outdoor spaces (including gutters and eaves). Consider implementing a ‘fire break’ around your property by trimming or removing overhanging branches and shrubs.
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According to the Bureau of Meteorology, El Niño years tend to result in warmer-than-average temperatures across most of southern Australia.
As temperatures soar, creating shaded areas for your backyard is vital. Consider installing retractable awnings or pergolas to provide respite from hot, sunny afternoons.
Keep cool with complementary technology
Ceiling fans and misting systems can also help you beat the summer heat. The humble outdoor ceiling fan provides a gentle breeze and helps to circulate stagnant air. Installing a misting system is another option to keep your outdoor spaces cool – however, it’s essential to be mindful of any water restrictions that may apply in your local area.
Select succulents and drought-resistant plants
El Niño can herald reduced rainfall, so conserving water becomes a renewed priority. To mitigate the effects of drier weather, choose drought-resistant plants and succulents that continue to flourish with minimal watering.
Choose indigenous landscaping
Indigenous plants naturally adapt to Australia’s climate and thrive in challenging conditions. Incorporate these plants into your landscape to create a sustainable, vibrant outdoor environment that requires minimal intervention. Additionally, indigenous plants can help to attract birds and wildlife to your outdoor space, helping to preserve local biodiversity.
During El Niño, water restrictions may be imposed in your area, making efficient water use vital. Choose a rainwater system for watering your plants or lawn. Alternatively, consider installing a drip irrigation system for landscaping to ensure your plants receive water directly at their roots to reduce wastage. Mulch or decorative pebbles can also assist in preventing excessive evaporation. To access information on Australia-wide water restrictions, head to the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Don’t let El Niño dampen your enthusiasm for outdoor living. With careful planning and ongoing maintenance, it’s possible to create an outdoor space that will remain functional, serene and resilient – and withstand the challenges posed by the weather.