Water is a valuable resource. Many regions of the country have an ongoing issue with water shortages and droughts while other regions of the country have occasional dry-spells. Regardless of the water situation in your area, it makes sense to plant a landscape in your yard that uses the least amount of water necessary. Here are a few tips from the pros for how you can save water and money in your yard.
Choose plants that need less water. First, make sure the plants you choose are well suited to your climate zone; the use of plants native to your area means they should be well adapted to your climate zone. Plants are typically separated into three water need categories: very low, low, and medium. Choose plants that require less watering. When planting a new lawn, choose drought tolerant turf varieties that are well suited to your climate.
Choose the right plant for the right spot. If a plant is in a location where it must struggle to survive because it is too sunny or too shady, chances are it will require additional water or fertilizers. A properly located plant will require less maintenance.
Consider Hydrozoning. Consider planting drought-proof (or low water use) plants in a hydrozone; which is the practice of clustering together plants with similar water requirements in an effort to conserve water. A landscape professional can help property owners decide how to transition to this type of planting approach.
Mulch. Using a layer of mulch around trees and plants helps to reduce evaporation and keeps the soil most which cuts down on water use.
Water plants for maximum absorption. Check with your city or county to see if there are any restrictions on landscape watering. In general, the best time to water is early in the morning or at dusk when temperatures are cooler. If you water in the heat of day, some of the water can evaporate before it gets into the ground. Also, avoid watering on windy days to minimize evaporation. Water trees and plants at a slow rate of speed, or use drip irrigation, so that the water doesn’t run-off before it soaks in. Remember, more damage can be done by over-watering plants than by under watering them, so water as needed.
Establish a smart irrigation plan. Consider installing an irrigation system that uses smart controllers. Installing smart controllers for irrigation systems not only saves water by sensing the conditions each day and only watering when necessary, but they also offer cost savings of approximately 15-20 percent on water bills. Another tip is to convert irrigation spray nozzles from sprinklers to rotating nozzles which spread heavy droplets of water at a slower pace which makes them more targeted and effective. Ask a landscape or irrigation professional to give you an assessment of your current irrigation system. They will check for water distribution uniformity and make sure the irrigation systems are installed and maintained properly.
Consider reusing water. If your state and local jurisdiction allows it, consider collecting and reusing water in rain barrels or other systems that catch rainwater for later use in the garden.