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Although homeowners want to have beautiful gardens, it can be difficult to maintain a lush green and conserve water at the same time. If you’re someone who’s environmentally conscious, you know how essential it is to conserve water but this doesn’t mean that you should neglect your garden or not have one at all.
In fact, gardens actually benefit the environment by reducing air and noise pollution, energy costs, erosion, filtering groundwater and minimizing carbon footprint.
With a little extra effort, you can work on conserving water while having a beautiful green garden and helping to keep the environment healthy. You can also save money on water and energy bills.
Let’s have a look at 10 easy, low-cost methods of conserving water in your garden.
Avoid Water-Needy Plants
One of the most important ways you can save water in your garden is by avoiding water-needy plants such as tropical and exotic ones like hibiscus.
Perennials are a good idea since they continue to grow year after year but it’s best to avoid annuals which are flowers like impatiens that bloom and die in a year. These require a lot more water.
Even some types of grass that make your lawn look emerald green are very thirsty and can take up a lot of water.
Try Using Xeriscape Techniques
If you’ve never heard of them, Xeriscape techniques are gardening techniques that are specifically for water-saving. Although these are mostly used in dry regions, you can use them practically anywhere to conserve water and by doing so, your garden can thrive on little or no additional watering.
The principle behind these techniques is to have plants that are drought-resistant, meaning they need less water to grow. Drought resistant plants include cornflowers, baby’s breath, palms, lavender, pansies and black-eyed susansou can also go for succulents like yucca and agave which need very little water to grow.
Harvesting or collecting rainwater is one of the best ways to get a steady water supply for your garden. The most common way of doing this is by using a rain barrel which you can get from gardening supply centers or even online. They can be found in various sizes to suit your needs.
All you have to do is to connect the barrel to the gutter or drainpipe to collect rainwater from your roof or place it out in the open to collect and store rain when it falls.
This rain barrel is made of food-quality recycled HDPE plastic and has the capacity to hold up to 55 gallons of rainwater draining from your roof. It comes with a spigot on the bottom that fits any standard garden hose, making it easy for you to use the recycled rainwater to water your garden. The lid of the barrel is equipped with a metal mesh screen which filters out any debris and prevents mosquitoes from getting inside it and breeding. The only downside with using the barrel is that the hose pressure won’t be as strong as it would if it were connected to your tap. The plastic can sometimes leave a strange smell in the water, but this would hardly matter if you’re going to be using it for watering your plants.
Use the right amount of water for your plants
A common mistake that many homeowners make is to water their yards and gardens more than is necessary, resulting in the wastage of water.
However, the best way to keep your plants growing is to give them up about five gallons of water for every 10 sq ft every 7-10 days. Dig several inches into the ground and look at the soil to figure out if your plants need water.
If the deeper soil is damp it means your plants are fine. If the soil is dry, however, it means they need water. This technique may not work if you have sandy or clay soil in which case you need to look at the plant itself to see if it needs water or not.
If the leaves have changed position or become darker in colour, it means it’s time to water them. It’s important to learn the signs so that you’ll be able to tell when your plants need water without overwatering them or letting them dry out.
Try Drip Irrigation
Drip irrigation is an effective irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly onto the soil surface or directly onto the root area through a network of pipes, valves, emitters and tubing.
Investing in a high-quality drip irrigation system can help you cut down your water bill significantly while improving the health of your plants due to uniform watering without stress that’s created by the lack of water.
If you’re considering drip irrigation, the Micro Drip Irrigation Kit is a great investment and comes complete with everything you need to install it. This system allows you to directly water the roots of your plants while actually saving up to 70% of your water, without any leaks or deficiency in the water pressure. All parts included in this kit are made of premium PVC and ABS plastic, meaning that the quality is high and they are resistant to chemicals and UV. The installation process can be tedious and time consuming but once you’ve set it up, it’ll be worth your effort.
Try Using Mulch
Using mulch is another technique that saves water by preventing evaporation and reducing moisture loss during the dry seasons.
Regular mulching maintains soil moisture and also gives your plants the nutrients they need to grow well.
While you can make your own mulch using a variety of sources like leaves, pine needles, yard clippings, bark and straw, you can also purchase various types of synthetic and organic mulch or mulch alternatives.
FibreDust Coco Mulch is a 5kg compress block of mulch that offers many benefits over bark mulch. Made from crushed coconut husks which have high lignin content, the FD Coco Mulch will last you up to 3 years without refreshing. Hydrate one block of mulch with 4 gallons of water and it expands to about 2 cub feet of mulching medium, its rust-like colour adding a great aesthetic look to your garden.
Use a Rain Touch Wand
Although hand watering is sometimes boring and time-consuming, there are situations in which it is the best option for your garden.
However, you can make the task even easier by using a versatile watering wand.
Also known as a ‘rain touch wand’, this device allows for easing targeting of the water flow directly where you need it and efficiently saves water, especially when you’re watering from one plant to the next.
The Dramm rain touch wand comes with different settings which vary from fine mist to a shower setting. The best thing about this watering wand from Dramm is its thumb-controlled valve which lets you shut the water flow off instantly without any waste. The construction of this product is also durable and long-lasting, since it’s made of aluminium which also means that it’s extremely lightweight.
Travelling irrigation sprinklers are made to water long runs of grass from one particular hose point. Small sprinklers follow the hose using a wheel at the front of it as a guide and can be run off to a standard outdoor tap.
The large ones are suitable for watering bigger area like rugby or football pitches. They require higher pressures and flows, using a straining wire to pull the travelling sprinkler along and automatically shut off when they reach the end point.
This Traveling Sprinkler by Orbit can be used with your 5/8 inch garden hose and covers a large area up to 13,5000 square feet. It’s great for bigger gardens but if yours is on the smaller side, you can adjust the coverage by simply twisting each spray arm to change the watering diameter from 15 feet to 55 feet which is the maximum. It shuts off automatically when you use the ramp stop at any location along the length of the hose to turn the sprinkler off and prevent water wastage. This sprinkler also comes with three position speed control, meaning you can select from high, low or neutral stationary settings in order to control the saturation level of your lawn. The only problem with this device is that its heavy and can have trouble with turns. Aside from that, it’s a great assistant for you in your garden.
Use Intensive Gardening
Intensive gardening is another effective way that helps in the creation of a low-water garden.
With this method, all the flowers, herbs and vegetables are planted close together so that the amount of water you need for an area is reduced.
However, it’s important to remember that although the plants are closely spaced, you will still need to provide enough room for the roots of each plant to develop.
Drought-tolerant grass seed
Reduce your water bills significantly and still have a beautiful green garden or lawn with drought-tolerant grass seed that only needs to be watered once a month.
The grass grows thick and dark green and the best of it is that you don’t even need to use fertilizer or chemical applications. In dry conditions, it’s less vulnerable to grubs and pests than regular lawn grass, making it easier to maintain.
If you’re interested in drought-tolerant grass seed for your garden, you might want to consider this product from Wildflower Farm. Eco-Lawn is a blend of certified fine fescue grass seeds that are carefully selected and work together to form turf that’s slow-growing and drought tolerant. Quick to germinate, Eco-Lawn grows slowly and requires less fertilizing and watering due to its deep root system, ensuring that your garden stays green and beautiful. However, like all grass seeds in wet conditions, it’s susceptible to invasion from pets and diseases so you’ll have to be ready with a back-up plan to deal with this problem.
If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you can still grow the plants, vegetables and flowers that you’d like in spite of the scarcity of consumable water.
By making some simple changes, you can reduce your water usage significantly while at the same time giving your plants the right amount of water they need to grow. Of course, it takes commitment but if you’re determined to do it, you can help save the planet and still enjoy your beautiful, thriving garden.
We hoped you found our tips useful and congratulations on taking your first step towards creating your water-wise garden!