The fashion can't last, because our climate makes the fake Tuscan look unliveable. You'll save time, energy & money by bucking the trend; as well as enjoying that smug feeling of doing the right thing by your environment - & it's so easy:

Don't be too tidy in your garden. Leave some wild areas with lots of leaf litter on the ground & where grass (preferably native) can grow longer to provide cool places for wildlife to hide in the heat of the day.

lori bathing 2

Never underestimate the power of bird baths – go to town with them. No need to go to a lot of expense: any fairly shallow containers of water placed any which way off the ground, away from predators, will do.  Partial shade's best but, if you can manage more than one, you'll find birds bathe in the warm water & drink the cool. And, when it's very hot, you'll be surprised how many different birds will queue at the same time, in a kind of wary peace. 

Use water wisely: sprinkle or hose early in the morning or in the evening, so the ground has a chance to absorb it & cool down. In very hot weather, expect birds to visit for a shower before having a drink or a splash at your birdbath. 

If you don't have cats or dogs, leave bowls of water on the ground in the shade. If you do have pets, please keep them safely inside at night.

Keep any ponds you have topped up with water that has been left in a container for 24 hours so the chlorine degrades. You may save the next generation of frogs, which appear as if by magic.australian frog 2

Plant native grasses & nectar rich flowering plants – the smaller the pot you buy them in the cheaper they are & the faster they grow. In summer, your new plants will need a little water every couple of days, but they establish quickly & need much less than exotic plants after that, if any at all.

A mature tree provides as much cooling power as 16 window air-conditioners. Do your electricity bill a favour & plant a tree or two, preferably native, where it will cool your house as well as wildlife. Buy a deciduous tree & it will let in winter sun – many birds aren't fussy when it comes to shade & food supplies.

If you have a privacy screen or pergola, try training a vine over it. When dampened, its evaporative cooling power is impressive. Choose a deciduous vine & let the winter sun in. Grape & choko vines provide food to share.

If you live on the edge of the bush, which is often like tinder, leave containers of water in the shade so thirsty wildlife can drink.

Change water in birdbaths & bowls every few days so mosquitoes don't have a chance to breed.