Water is usually in short supply in dry, sunny climates, making it a valuable (and expensive) resource. As you likely know, water conservation is vitally important to our local Pasadena area as well as our national and worldwide environments. Check out these drought tolerant landscape water conservation tricks for backyard design that will also save you money!
6 Drought Tolerant Landscape Water Conservation Tips
1. Utilize Drip Irrigation Systems
Did you know that most sprinkler systems are highly inefficient? Often, plants end up over or underwater, with much water getting wasted in the process. By installing drip irrigation systems, you can attack your water from below. They water plants directly at the root, making them more effective than a pop-up or movable sprinkler heads. This can save a lot of water throughout the year and money on your bills!
2. Use Your Hills
Hills are a wonderful landscape resource that often goes underutilized. You can strategically plant to ensure that your plants on top of the slopes are the most drought resistant. Place the most water-needy plants at the bottom of the hill or terrace. Whether you water manually or use an irrigation system, the plants at the bottom will receive the most runoff water. This is useful since they will be the ones who need it the most!
3. Plant Native Plants
When practicing water conservation, you should try choosing native plants and flowers for your garden as they have the greatest tolerance for the local environment. These plants are usually drought resistant and require little maintenance and watering once they are growing. Plus, this showcases the natural beauty of the area while keeping your water bill low.
4. Compost and Mulch
Covering your soil helps keep the water close to the roots of your plants. Use compost when planting, and then cover with mulch on top to prevent further water evaporation. This can help you ensure that your plants get the water they need without excessive waste. For those who live in sandy areas, you may need to consider planter boxes or other landscaping tricks to ensure that your compost doesn’t wash away every time that it rains.
5. Skip the Grass
In the average American household, more than half of the outdoor water is dedicated to watering grass. One of our favorite water conservation tips to minimize this is to consider a grass alternative. For example, groundcovers are drought-resistant, quick growing, and require little maintenance. While you don’t have to get rid of all of your grass, removing grass from areas where your children and pets don’t actively play is a great way to practice a drought tolerant landscape and create a beautiful designed space with less work and cost.
6. Capture and Reuse Water
As the price of water increases, you can create a free source in your yard. If you have the space, you can easily install a system to capture rainwater or reuse the grey water from your home in your landscaping. While they may seem a little pricy up front, you will end up saving more money in the long run. Plus, these systems are also easily used in conjunction with your irrigation system and can be set up as a gravity-fed irrigation system that waters your garden with ease.
How long to run drip irrigation for drought-tolerant plants?
The standard recommendation for running a drip irrigation system is around 30 minutes. However, this will vary depending on what you are watering. For example, baby plants will need less water at the beginning of their growth but will need more as they mature. The best way to gauge how long your irrigation should run is to check if there is run-off. If you see excess water flowing away from your plants, it is because they cannot accept it anymore; that water is then going to waste. Therefore, you would want to adjust your watering time to a shorter period. However, if you see that your plants are looking a bit peckish, they may need a little extra water. The best way to determine your watering time is a game of trial and error until you find the sweet spot. Just keep in mind that even if there is no run-off, it doesn’t mean your plants are underwatered.
How often should drought-tolerant plants be watered?
Drought tolerant plants are built to go longer periods of time without water. Therefore, they prefer a deep and infrequent watering plan over a little bit of watering every couple of days. The standard recommendation for a drought tolerant landscape is to water plants for 30 minutes (drip style) every 7-10 days. Of course, it is vital to keep in mind your specific conditions. For example, heavy clay soils will need less water, whereas sandy soils need more. We recommend consulting with a local landscaper to determine the best method for your unique soil and plants.
Should you water your vegetable garden every day in hot weather?
Even if you choose local plants and flowers to occupy your landscape design, vegetable gardens are different. Most vegetables need an adequate amount of water to produce a good harvest. Therefore, for those scorching summer days, you will likely need to water your vegetable garden every other day or every three days. Remember, a deep soak is better than a quick water; you will want to keep the garden consistently moist all the way to the roots.
Design Scapes – Build Water Conservation Style Landscaping
When you want to install drip irrigation or redesign your entire landscape design to be drought-resistant, Design Scapes is here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about your landscaping and hardscaping services. For our friends here in California, we advise checking out more ideas with California’s Department of Water Resources.