The Canberra Discovery Garden

The Canberra Discovery Garden is Icon Water's community education garden at the National Arboretum Canberra. This exciting garden explores Canberra’s unique climate, soils and geology and will teach visitors how to achieve a beautiful, sustainable and water efficient garden in any season. 

The garden is a series of linked garden rooms including a covered outdoor learning area which facilitates free community workshops, talks and tours, and an interpretive trail which allows visitors to engage in self directed learning and discovery. The garden design and plant selections aim to inspire visitors to develop healthy, water wise gardens in their own backyards through sustainable gardening practices.

The Canberra Discovery Garden is located on the event terrace next to the visitors centre at the National Arboretum Canberra, and is open daily 9am to 4pm.

Icon Water would like to thank the ACT Government and the National Arboretum Canberra for their assistance in the development of this project, as well as members of the Community Reference Group who contributed to the garden’s design.

In February 2012 The Canberra Discovery Garden was officially opened by ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher with gardening personality Don Burke. Click here to see a YouTube of our fun day.


  • Where is the Canberra Discovery Garden located?

    The Canberra Discovery Garden is located next to the Events Terrace at the National Arboretum Canberra.  



    Entry into the National Arboretum is either off Tuggeranong Parkway, or from Forest Drive off Lady Denman Drive, Yarralumla.

  • What is a waterwise garden?

    A waterwise garden uses water efficiently.  There’s no need to replant your garden – even well-established and water-dependent gardens can be trained to use less water.

    The Canberra Discovery Garden is based on ‘Xeriscape’ (meaning ‘dry landscape’) principles, which make a good checklist for ensuring your garden is as waterwise as possible. These are:

    • Design and plan your garden
    • Know your soil
    • Select appropriate plants
    • Be practical with the amount of lawn
    • Use water only as required
    • Mulch gardens
    • Carry out necessary maintenance.

    For more information on how to apply each of these principles in your own garden see our list of fact sheets here.

  • Why has Icon Water created the Canberra Discovery Garden?

    To inspire and educate water users and to show you how to create a beautiful, sustainable and water-efficient garden in any season. Gardens and lawns are the biggest single water use area in the ACT, so the Canberra Discovery Garden is a key platform for our community education about water conservation. It also pays tribute to the hard work that many Canberra gardeners have put into their gardens and lawns during the past decade of drought.

    Contributing to the long-term sustainability of the ACT through reductions in water use is one of Icon Water’s corporate commitments.

  • What is there to see and do at the Canberra Discovery Garden?

    Visit the Garden for talks, workshops and practical demonstrations of many aspects of sustainable gardening, from choosing the right irrigation system to composting, to testing your soil health and more. You can also take a self-guided tour of the Garden using the interpretative signage, or just chill under the arbors on our outdoor bean-bags and enjoy the view. Click here for information about upcoming events.

  • When can I visit the Garden?

    Gardens are always changing so visit regularly to discover the subtle changes a season can make as flowers bloom, leaves fall, and grasses grow. The Canberra Discovery Garden is open from 9.00am to 4.00pm daily and features free seasonal gardening workshops and talks.

    Click here to see upcoming events at our Garden.