I’d rather spend time enjoying my flowers and garden than watering them. I think most gardeners would agree with that sentiment too. Less work, money saved, land improved, recycling of natural resources and a pretty landscape to boot. That’s what you can accomplish with these 7 ways to save water in your yard.
Less Lawn Care
Get rid of some of your lawn (and lawn care) by replacing some of the grass with low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants. Create large flower beds (or enlarge existing ones) and plant your choice of drought-tolerant flowers and shrubs. Mulch the bed with organic material to help retain soil moisture and prevent weed growth and you’ll have less weeding, feeding and watering to do each week.
Consider container gardening near your front or back door so the use of ‘gray water’ will be convenient. Gray water is the usable water we allow to literally go down the drain instead of using. My hot water heater is in the back of my home, far away from my kitchen sink, and one gallon of cold water passes through the pipes and into my kitchen sink before the water become warm. That cold water is ‘gray water’. Perfectly good water, it’s just that I need hot water for my task, not cold. So instead of wasting that water, I catch it in a large bowl and use it to water houseplants and container-grown plants on my front and back porch. Most people have some type of gray water they can use for gardening if the plants are located in a convenient spot.
If you own your home, place a rain barrel under down spouts to catch useable gray water for garden plants.
Most landscapes have a slight indentation in them where rain water collects and the soil stays soggy most of the time. Use this wet area to install a rain garden. Use plants that tolerate ‘wet feet’ and enjoy soggy soil, like swamp rose and swamp azalea, and place pavers through the rain garden (aka rainscaping). This will improve the soil and landscape view while saving water and work.
During times of summer drought, plants must be watered, but you can still water wisely. Water at the base of each plant when hand watering and set automatic sprinklers to come on very early or very late to minimize the water lost through evaporation.
Concrete in the landscape causes usable rain water to run-off and be wasted. Consider using organic mulch or mulch made from recycled rubber instead of concrete in outdoor sitting areas to allow rain water to be absorbed into the ground.
Not all landscape color has to come from flower blooms. Brightly colored pottery containers can hold low-water succulents and provide landscape color while saving water.
Plan it before you plant it. Place flowers and shrubs together that have similar water and light needs and place plants in the right landscape spots so most of their particular needs will be met by mother nature so you’ll have less garden work to do.
Penn State Extension