Water Wise Gardens
Succulents, indigenous plants and more water wise plants
Water wise gardening is about using plants that are appropriate to the local climate. It is becoming increasingly popular and will be very important in the implementation and redesign of residential and commercial projects for the future.
A water wise garden includes indigenous plants, ornamental grasses, succulents, drought-resistant vegetation and hard landscaping materials like bark chips, mulch, rocks and gravel. For hot, dry areas choose plants that need only minimal watering. Don’t mix plants with high and low watering needs in the same area, and remember that trees help reduce evaporation by blocking wind and shading the soil.
IMPROVE THE SOIL
Soil with lots of organic matter slows the transition of water from the soil to the subsoil, giving plants a chance to take in what they need.
To help retain moisture, add compost into the soil.
PLAN A SMALLER GARDEN
Take stock of what you really need to grow and don't exceed your calculations.
CHOOSE BUSH VARIETIES
Plants that grow low to the soil will lose less water through transpiration than those that spread rampantly.
PLACE PLANTS CLOSE TOGETHER
Leaves from neighboring plants will shade the soil, helping to conserve surface moisture and reduce weed growth.
Mulch prevents moisture from evaporating directly from the soil surface, and it can greatly reduce weeds.
Smother weeds or pull them out—roots and all. Don't make your plants compete with weeds for moisture.
Water your garden in the late afternoon or early in the morning–times when the least amount of water will evaporate from the leaves. To encourage roots to develop, soak the garden thoroughly rather than watering it lightly several times.
USE A DRIP SYSTEM
Drip irrigation provides greater water savings than sprinklers. (Consult your county extension agent for tips on setting up drip irrigation.) If you install a drip system, allow for different beds or separate parts of the garden to be on separate sets of commands. The water needs of plants differ widely, and a system that delivers one rate of water to your entire plot can be wasteful.