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Tips for Saving Water in the Garden

by Max Dichter

July 17th, 2015

Save Water in the Garden

When we think of conserving water in a drought, we think of ways to save water indoors. But there are numerous ways to conserve water outdoors. With a few changes and inexpensive equipment upgrades, you can save thousands of gallons of water while still maintaining a healthy garden.

Only water when you need to. Overwatering is not only wasteful, it’s more work. To check if your plants need water, dig a shovel or trowel down about the full length of its blade. If the soil is damp, then you don’t need to water. If it is dry, then consider it. It’s not an exact science - some soils like clay appear damp when they are dry - so carefully monitor your plants to see how they respond.

Use greywater. Grey water is the used water from bathing, showers, and washing machines. The water is perfectly good for plants (household soaps and detergents are not harmful to plants, but avoid using water that has overly harsh cleansers or chemicals).  Your plumber can set up a grey water system to help you save this precious natural resource.

Xeriscaping. Pronounced “ZIRA-scaping,” this is a form of landscaping designed especially to withstand a drought. For residents of the Southwest - Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico - xeriscaping is an excellent option year round, but especially during water shortages. It is, essentially, replacing water-hungry vegetation with plants that thrive on much less moisture. Replacing grass with the following will not only reduce your water consumption, but provide an aesthetically appealing landscape.

  • succulents

  • purple needle grass

  • blue oat grass

  • naturally growing flowers:

    • beach suncups

    • blue flax

    • california evening primrose

    • manzanita flowers

  • lupines

  • deergrass

  • sheep fescue

  • hen and chickens

Collect rainwater. There may not be much rain to collect during a drought, but when it does rain, make the most of it by using a rain barrel. Hook a barrel to your home’s rain gutter and save gallons where you can.   

Mulching. Mulch your garden regularly to trap in moisture. If you have fruit trees, bark and wood chips are an effective mulch that will help you save water all summer long. And don’t throw away those grass clippings. Use non-treated grass clippings (no pesticides) to make a beneficial mulch for vegetable gardens.

For other tips on how to maintain your garden in a drought, please visit Orbit’s Conservation Center.


California Drought Drought Tips Modern Home How To's

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