In this article we will talk about options for your landscaping that require little water so that water can be conserved. Conserving water in your yard is equally as important as doing so inside your home. Water is the most important resource on the planet and is the essential building block of life. Everything which is alive on the planet needs water for its survival.
Conserving water through effective landscaping options that require little watering is one of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. Outdoor use of water for gardening and irrigation accounts for 58,000 gallons per year in the USA alone, which is about 30% of all residential water consumption. More than 30 states in the USA are suffering from some level of drought that has caused a major shift in trends and people are now considering landscaping that requires less watering.
You can successfully maintain a healthy and lush green garden without wasting too much water. Today we’ll discuss some landscaping options that require little to no watering and will help you reduce your irrigation and save plenty of money. Here are some effective landscaping options to minimize your use of water in the garden and can enhance the overall look of your home’s exterior.
Advantages of Planting Low-Water Landscaping
Designing a garden that doesn’t depend on too much water is not only an environmentally sound decision but also a financially smart choice to cut watering costs if you’re on a water meter.
- It is a great way to conserve natural resources in drought-prone areas and reduce environmental damage.
- It also enhances your home’s exterior curb appeal leading towards higher home values.
- This design approach also helps to maintain biodiversity by creating a habitat where wildlife can thrive.
- Best of all, this approach reduces landscaping labor and maintenance expenses.
How to Design a Low-water Landscape?
Whether you want to plant a completely new landscape or spruce up an existing one, here are some smart landscaping ideas with little water requirements.
- Go Native
Choose plants that thrive under your specific landscaping conditions. Native plants are adapted to the local soil and climate and thus require little watering, which makes them an ideal choice for a low-water landscape. Additionally, they are more resistant to the local pests and diseases as compared to foreign plants and need fewer fertilizers, pesticides, and overall maintenance. Search for plants native to your state and you will find many varieties of plants to choose from.
- No-Fail Perennials
One of the most effective ways to achieve low-water landscaping is to choose perennials. Unlike annuals, they are the most carefree and easy to manage plants that can easily survive with little to no watering. Perennials are drought-tolerant and are ideal for dry and hot climates. They will thrive season after season.
- Choose Turf Smartly
Grass tends to absorb more water than any other landscaping so it’s important to choose your turf carefully. Use lower vegetation in your lawn as much as possible. Select grass appropriate for your region. For example, Bermuda grass thrives in the south, while moss and evergreen ground covers do well in the north. The northwest is an ideal environment for bluegrass, while the northeast is ideal for fescue.
- Group Similar Plants Together
To prevent overwatering, establish hydro-zones and group plants with similar water and sun exposure requirements together. For example, plants that can tolerate drought should be separated from plants that require more water. Group all water-demanding plants together close to a water source.
- Improve Soil Conditions
To make your low-water garden thrive, look after your soil and promote healthy soil. Get your soil tested regularly to check soil composition, pH levels, nutrient content, and organic matter content. If your soil is sandy, pH extreme, and nutrient deficient, soil amendments can help to improve growing conditions. Adding organic amendments to your soil improves nutrient structure and helps with retaining moisture. Mulching around the flower beds, trees, and shrubs helps to slow the evaporation, moderate soil temperature, inhibit weeds and reduce soil erosion.
- Learn About Watering Needs
The need for water varies depending on your location. Learn the watering needs of plants to avoid over or under-watering. The best way to check if you need to water more is by looking at the soil about 3-4 inches down. If the soil is damp, it’s fine but if the soil is dry, that means it needs to be watered. Watch your plants closely to see if they’re showing signs of water stress like change in position or darkening. Watering plants in the evening can reduce evaporation and minimize watering needs.
- Identify Site Variations
The areas in any landscape may significantly vary in terms of soil type, exposure to sun and wind, moisture levels and evaporation rates. Sandy soils are very well-drained and dry out quickly whereas clay retains the moisture for a long time.
- Use Foliage Plants
Foliage plants are water-smart and shine in the low-water landscaping. Silver and felty leafed plants do incredibly well in a drought-tolerant garden and catches water before it hits the ground. The deep colors become more prominent in a harsh environment, providing beauty and function in your landscape. These beautiful plants will keep color in your landscape, even if they’re not currently flowering.
- Low Maintenance Ground Cover
Low maintenance ground cover is another effective way for achieving a low-water landscape. Your options include Irish Moss, New Zealand Brass Buttons and other perennials. Many ground herbs also serve as great ground covers. Besides being good creepers, they allow water, air, and nutrients reach to the plant roots, keep out weeds and provide sturdy under-foot traffic.
- Consider Succulents
Succulents require very little watering as these plants are able to store water in the meaty part of the leaf. As a low-water and drought-tolerant plant, they’re not too demanding and work well with all soil types. Succulents like agave and echeveria are perfect when you wish to conserve water.
- Collect Rainwater
Collecting rainwater has become a popular trend to recycle the water that washes off the roof. Rain barrels are used to capture water and reduce the amount of water that flows off your property. This water can be later used to irrigate your garden and water plants, possibly providing zero-water options. Collecting rainwater is a great landscaping option to conserve water and cutting down on water bills.