These 7 easy guidelines provide a great way to enhance your garden experience and allow you to be a part of the water conservation solution. Implementing these tips will definitely make a difference in reducing your water usage and your water bill and assist you in cultivating a healthy and vibrant garden and outdoor environment.
1) Grass Removal
Grass is one of the most water-intensive plants in the landscape. It demands high water use and frequent time-consuming and expensive maintenance. Watering your lawn 1 to 2 day a week instead of 5 days a week, can save you up to 840 gallons of water per week. If you choose to remove your lawn, make sure that you dispose of all the roots and grasses. Do not compost grass as the grass seeds may germinate and create more of a problem in the garden.
2) Plan Your Garden
Gardening is a well known activity that can enhance your health and wellbeing and the more thought that goes into planning your garden, the more benefits can be attained.
Designing a garden which has the right plants placed in the right places can dramatically change the water use in the garden as well as create a more enjoyable space to suit your specific needs. Being mindful of the aesthetic arrangement of plants providing color, form and texture contrast, as well as height variation in your planting areas can provide solutions to problem areas in the landscape.
Identify ground covers, perennials, shrubs and trees that have minimum water requirements and that are well-suited to your local climatic and micro-climatic conditions. Group plants according to water requirements and replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases. Also, plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff. Avoid invasive plants.
Select plants with similar water needs
3) Soil Amendments
Cultivate the soil incorporating organic matter such as compost. Doing so breaks up the soil, allows air circulation and improves the soil’s ability to retain moisture. It is also important to aerate heavy or compacted soil around the drip line of trees. Grade the soil so that water flows toward the new plantings and minimizes runoff from your garden.
4) Install a weather based controller
These “smart” controllers irrigate based on the needs of the landscape. They adjust for weather changes, soil type, shade and plant type and provide the appropriate water schedule. A smart controller will automatically reduce the watering times as the weather gets cooler and less water is needed. Then as the weather begins to warm up, the controller will add more time for watering. For commercial applications a variety of “smart” controllers are also available with a suite of sensors and additional hardware to accommodate service for an expanded area. It is usually best to water your plants in the early morning to reduce evaporation and ineffective watering due to wind.
Weather Based Controller
5) Retrofit your Pop-up spray heads with rotating spray nozzles
Retrofitting your existing Pop-Up Spray heads with Rotating Nozzles Heads can save over a thousand gallons of water a year. The streams of the rotating nozzles apply water more slowly and uniformly than conventional sprays. Independent water audits have been known to document water savings of 20% or more when conventional sprays are replaced with rotating nozzles. Additional water-saving advantages include better wind resistance, less misting and virtually no run-off.
Mulch around new plantings. A two- to four-inch layer of mulch minimizes water evaporation from the soil, modulates soil temperature; keeping the soil cool on hot days and warm on cool days, discourages weed growth and returns nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. It also prevents soil from crusting, allowing better water penetration. Also, around the drip line of each plant, press the mulch down to form a slight depression. This will prevent or minimize water runoff. Organic mulches can add great visual texture to your landscape. Use shredded bark or chips, wood grindings, compost, aged sawdust or even low-growing ground cover. Inorganic mulches, such as gravel or rock let the most water in and are frequently used with plants susceptible to crown rot. Many Southern California Counties even have free mulch to help you develop your water-wise landscape.
Xerimulch around new plantings and Inorganic mulch – Mexican river rock
7) Create Permeable Surfaces
Convert hardscape areas to permeable surfaces. Break up concrete patios, walkways and driveways into manageable chunks and reuse the concrete chunks as pavers, creating spaces between the pavers for groundcover, gravel or sand. Remember to use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks and walkways.
Dymondia between pavers
If you want more information on creating your water-wise landscapes contact Denise at Sacred Garden Designs. We are leaders in water-wise landscaping and experts in creating gardens that fit your needs and the needs of the environment. Tel: 310-980-2770. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org