Gardening is a fun, calming activity that results in beautiful landscaping and even some food, if you include fruit and vegetables in your yard. But it takes water to have a successful garden. Given California’s current water situation, you’d think that gardening would not be something you could do now. However, nothing is further from the truth — you just need to garden with water conservation in mind.
Grass lawns take up much, if not most, of the water used in a yard or garden. The lawns look really good when they’re well taken care of, but other than a soft carpet of green under your feet, they don’t give much back considering all of the water you fed them. Instead, have an artificial lawn installed so you can take the water you would have used on the lawn and use it for fruit trees, a vegetable garden, a privacy hedge, even a flower garden.
If you plant anything that’s live, you’re going to have to water it somehow. Installing the right type of irrigation system is crucial for not only providing the water the plant needs, but also controlling the amount of water that’s lost to evaporation and runoff. If you are trying to conserve water, you need to reduce those two factors as much as possible.
Install drip irrigation and soaker hoses wherever possible. These deliver small, steady supplies of water to the base of a plant so the water delivery point can get as close to the roots as possible. Do not use regular sprinklers, thinking the water will act like rain. You’ll lose a lot of water to evaporation, and you’ll end up wetting the leaves of the plants instead.
Choose plants that have low water needs and that are native to the area you live in. Those plants will not wilt if they have to deal with a few summer days without water, for example. They will also be more efficient at extracting nutrients from the soil, even during dry spells.
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