We all know by now that California is in a drought. According to Governor Brown, “…drought is becoming a regular occurrence and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life.”
In the midst of dry summer months, conserving water is top of mind. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of 7 easy ways you can make your yard water-wise. The great news is you don’t have to sacrifice having a beautiful garden to do so.
Time of Day
This is an easy one – avoid watering your garden during peak sun hours. The best time to water is first thing in the morning or in the evening when the sun is going down. Doing so will minimize evaporation and ensures a deeper soak, allowing plants to fully utilize the water.
You’d be surprised to know how many people overwater simply due to improper irrigation settings or faulty drip lines. The best way to avoid this is to have your gardener perform an irrigation audit. Checking irrigation lines can end up saving you tons of water (and cash). It’s worthwhile investment.
Know Your Plants
Did you know that poppies require less water than hydrangeas? Knowing the water requirements of your landscape will allow you to make more informed irrigation decisions. Different plants need different amounts of water, and there’s no sense overwatering those that can get by on, and prefer, less.
The way you in which you distribute water also matters. Using drip irrigation for plants as opposed to spray nozzles or sprinklers can save water, too. You can lose water to evaporation by spraying it overhead (particularly during peak sun hours). Drip irrigation is much more efficient as it will ‘drip’ water to exactly the right place your plant needs it – at its roots – and avoid unnecessary waste or runoff.
Go a step further and install a Rachio Smart Controller that utilizes local weather data to determine when, and how much, to water your garden. It connect to your WiFi. This video explains it all:
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
Mulch is a layer of natural material that is spread over your soil to protect it. Mulch serves many purposes; it retains water, nutrients and also prevents weeds (they can’t grow with out sunlight!). Many different types of materials can be used as mulch, including bark, straw, compost, grass clippings and leaves.
When you use organic materials such as bark or straw, you have the added benefit of adding nutrients to the soil. Over time, microbes in the soil break down mulch, adding nutrients to feed your plants. Mulching is also the easiest way to give your garden a makeover.
Organic Matter Matters
The more organic matter your soil has, the more water it can hold. Compost is a great source of organic matter and the best way to add more to your soil. It’s also nutrient-rich and will nourish your plants. Investing in the health of your soil will pay back in spades: more soil microbes, fewer pests and diseases, healthier and more vibrant plants and a need to water less.
Updating your landscape with drought-tolerant plants is more of an investment, but something to consider for a more sustainable, water-efficient garden.
Many native plants are drought tolerant; they’re also easier to maintain, requiring less work on your part to keep a thriving, vibrant garden. Once established (a few years), they should be able to thrive without any watering at all. That’s the great thing about natives; they have naturally adapted to survive in California’s natural climate.
2 fun facts: water-efficient landscapes can reduce your water use by 20% – 50% and save up to 10k gallons/year!
Stick to these tips and you’re sure to have a water-efficient garden this summer. If you need any help in the garden along the way, give us a shout at ezhome.com!