Owning and tending to a beautiful garden can require the use of a LOT of water. Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do to reduce water use and waste. Here are 8 tips to creating a perfect water-wise garden.
- Plan(t) carefully. By planning before you plant, you can save yourself a lot of stress in your gardening future. Pick areas to plant in your yard according to sun, shade, soil and wind. Choose plants that naturally need less water and group plants together according to their water needs. Also know how you will get the plants their water before you plant – will you need to carry water to a back corner in your yard?
- Switch up your soil. Adding organic matter to your soil can have a huge effect on the amount of water needed. Soils are made up of different sized particles. If the majority of the particles are large, like sand, the soil will absorb much more water, much more quickly, than if it was made of smaller particles, like clay.
- Mulch retains water. Around an 8 inch layer of (organic) mulch can drastically reduce water needs in a garden by reducing evaporation and blocking parched weeds. Organic mulches have the ability to retain water in themselves and raise the level of humidity around your plants. Organic mulches are made of leaves, straw, hay and grass. The inorganic mulches are things like rubber tree rings and the ‘pro weed mat’ – go organic, they’re much better for a water wise garden.
- Routine maintenance on your plants keeps them healthier, and when they’re healthier they require less water than when they’re thirsty and/or distressed. Simple maintenance aspects like pruning, pest-control and thinning can ensure your plants remain healthier and in need of less moisture.
- Use rain water. Rain water is unchlorinated, natural and free. Using rain water is the best choice for your plants and for you. Use barrels to collect the rains water during storms or a cistern to collect directly from the downspouts. Or opt for some rain water tanks specifically for use in the garden.
- Consider losing some grass. Reducing your lawn can save you a tremendous amount of water. Turf grass is extremely thirsty and requires a lot of work to maintain. Reducing your garden and getting rid of some grass can help you save a lot of water. Consider hanging some low-maintenance plants and using mulch, instead.
- Water in the a.m. Watering your plants and garden early in the morning seriously reduces evaporation, therefore saving you water. Early irrigation also deters pests like snails and molds.
- Plant some native plants. Opting for plants that grow in drier climates means that they will require less direct watering from you.
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