As we have mentioned before natural resources are not limitless. Water is one of those resources and we must balance having a beautiful garden using less water, especially if you live in an area experiencing drought.
Here are some tips we have put together to help conserve water while allowing your garden to thrive:
PLANT NATIVE PLANTS
One of the best ways to lower your water usage is to grow plants that are native to the climate you live in. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and require far less water. They also benefit birds and insects and using native plants generally require less maintenance.
ADD A SHADE TREE
Planting a tree in the right location (facing south or west are ideal locations) can keep your garden cooler and will reduce water evaporation. Having a tree in the right location can also keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
USE MULCH IN THE GARDEN
Adding a layer of 2 – 4 inches of mulch in your flower bed is one of the easiest ways to save water. Mulch improves the soil, keeps the soil moist, and reduces water runoff. It also can make your garden look neat.
WATER DURING THE EARLY MORNING OR PRE-DAWN HOURS
We have written about this tip before. Evaporation is a major source of water loss. By watering during cooler times, the chance of losing water to evaporation is diminished. This is especially true if you have an overhead irrigation system.
If you have a sprinkler system you could be wasting water by spraying the sidewalk, driveway or street. This can be corrected by adjusting your sprinkler radius settings.
REDUCE FREQUENCY AND USE OF FERTILIZER
The continuous use of fertilizer activates more growth for many plants. Overuse will cause an increase in water use in the garden. Try applying a slow-acting organic fertilizer for more sustainable water usage.
GROUP PLANTS TOGETHER WITH SIMILAR WATERING NEEDS
When designing your garden or figuring out what new plants to add look for plants that have similar watering needs and group them together. Do not plant a drought-tolerant or low water plant with a plant that needs to be watered more often. If you plant two plants with different watering needs you waste water as you have to heavily irrigate plants that do not need it. If your garden has plants that fit this scenario, try relocating them with other plants with the same watering needs.
USE A DRIP IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Using this type of system can be an effective and efficient way to water plants in certain situations. Watering plants using this technique allows you to directly water the soil, leading to better water absorption (less evaporation or water loss) and provides the ability to direct the water exactly where you want. Learn more on Water Efficient Irrigation here.
GET A SMART TIMER
Most irrigation systems have timers that are operated on a clock system. The system is activated by the settings that have been programmed. Smart timers are more sensitive to the weather and water the plants when they need it.
FIX BLOCKED OR OBSTRUCTED SPRINKLERS
As your garden grows, there might be times your sprinkler system has problems with plants or shrubs getting in its way. Trim plants or adjust and relocate sprinkler heads that are blocked or obstructed so your system is working optimally.
ADD A RAIN SENSOR TO YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM
If your irrigation system works off a traditional clock based controller, check and see if there is a rain sensor that can easily be added. This will allow the system to turn off when it rains.
FIX ANY WATER LEAKS
This is often a common problem that can go undetected. A leak from an underground pipe can waste gallons of water every day. Also, check your connection between your faucet and hose to prevent water waste.
COLLECT AND STORE RAINWATER
Most homes and buildings have rain gutters and downspouts in place. Put a rain barrel or other collection container to store free water. This is an easy way to have chemical-free water for your garden.
Let us know if on our Facebook page any tips we should add to our list.