It can be hard enough to keep your garden looking magnificent in the best of conditions.
Does this succulent need water? What type of mulch should I use? Native or imported?
These are questions that can plague the amateur gardener.
Throw in Canberra's penchant for blistering hot summers, freezing cold winters and the fact we've endured months of below average rainfall and cultivating a thriving garden can seem practically impossible.
So we reached out to two of Canberra's top gardening gurus - ANU's George Abraham and the National Arboretum's Matt Parker - to find out how to turn your struggling backyard into a flourishing oasis.
Mr Abraham has spent the past 25 years as head of grounds at the Australian National University, overseeing the 145-hectare campus with its more than 10,000 trees, green grassy ovals and dozens of landscaped gardens. The ANU employs 21 fulltime gardeners to carry out what Mr Abraham describes as "constant evolution and renewal" of the grounds.
Mr Abraham says the secret to tackling the hot and dry conditions is in the soil.
"We focus on improving the structure of the soil," Mr Abraham says.
"The main way we do that is by encouraging the microbiology of the soil, using things like seaweed extracts, humic acid, organic tonics, basically any organic based products.
"By encouraging the microbes in the soil they do the work for you.
"That way every drop of water that falls on the ground gives you bigger bang for your buck and your level of water efficiency goes up."
Another tip, while potentially an unpopular one, is to temper your expectations and appreciate that a lush garden may not always be possible.
He said the drought of the early 2000s was "the drought we had to have", and changed people's expectations of gardening.
"It transformed industry practices. No more chemical fertilisers which relied on large amounts of water," he said.
"Twenty-five years ago everything had to be lush, now we only keep high-profile lawns green.
"We have a focus on local plants, all plant selection is based on how they will tolerate a minimum water regime."
Using the seasons to your advantage can give your garden its best chance at success, Mr Abraham said.
"We only plant in autumn."
"There's normally some rain in winter and no harsh heat during the plant's development period.
"So when spring comes they have a root system to rely on."
Mr Abraham's final top tips are to dig a hole much bigger than needed when planting, create a 'dish' around the plants so water can pool on the soil, keep moisture in with mulch and above all don't rush.
"When I go into the garden at home I rarely have a plan," he said.
"Relax, have a beer and take it all in.
"But don't be bashful about making changes if it doesn't work."
Matt Parker is the operations manager at the National Arboretum where he oversees eight full-time horticultural staff to curate 250 hectares of forests, grounds and gardens. The arboretum is home to about 44,000 trees which are rare, endangered or culturally significant.
While the arboretum involves gardening on an industrial scale some of the tactics used there can prove useful for the home gardener.
"The tactics we use to conserve water and encourage tree growth include mulching, careful irrigation, using water sensors and monitoring needs and tapering water needs depending on the age of the tree."
"More mature trees with established root systems draw their own water and do not need the same supplementary irrigation that younger trees require."
Dr Parker says plant selection is crucial if you want a flourishing garden.
"Purchase provenance trees that have a history of adapting to our local climate, and also mulch trees and plants to ensure your water supply is used effectively," he says.
"Research your plants' and trees' individual maintenance needs – don’t just blanket water the garden."
Finally, he says, your watering technique could have a big impact.
"Replace your hose with a drip irrigation system."
"Drip irrigation allows the moisture to gradually percolate deeper into the soil getting to the roots.
"If you do hose, make sure you are not watering the leaves, but target the roots, rotating between plants to ensure water is not running off."