Water-wise landscaping is a high-grade landscaping method that protects the environment and conserves water. Another name for it is xeriscape. Using various principles, you can create a beautiful landscape that prevents water waste and water pollution.
When we mention water-wise landscaping, it does not mean you can lose the entire lawn or completely alter your landscape.
There are several ways that you can save water, and they are all at your disposal. In dry seasons, landscape watering can consume up to a third of the total water usage in your household. Using a good sprinkler can deliver up to 300 gallons of water in just an hour, making the process simpler.
Effective Water-Wise Landscape Watering Methods
There are several effective watering methods you can use on a water-wise landscape.
Identify Permanent Features
This is an effective method that can give a remarkable outcome. Here is how you can implement it: On a piece of graph paper, estimate the average scale of your property. This includes your house’s location, large rocks, other buildings, slopes, surrounding vegetation, and other crucial features.
Identify the Characteristics
Tape tracing paper over your plan's base and sketch various characteristics and qualities of the property. This includes the existing shade, sun exposure, slopes, direction of summer breezes, and street noise. You can also identify the different soil types on your property and any drainage problems you should fix.
If you fancy harvesting rainwater, you should locate spots where rainwater falls or align your roof to maximize its collection. Are you renovating an existing landscape or developing a new one? Perhaps, you’re looking for methods you can use to conserve water in a home setup? Proper design and planning are crucial for your success.
Identify Use Areas
This is another efficient step toward an effective landscape watering method. To implement it, use another piece of tracing paper to identify the sections correctly. Here’s an important recommendation: You should identify at least three different areas -- private, public, and service. Public spaces are highly visible to begin with and tend to receive a lot of attention and water harvesting. On the other hand, private areas are mostly in the backyard where families congregate. These areas are functional but tend to receive less water compared with public spaces.
After effectively planning your landscape, it is time to start picking out the best plants for each of your zones. To do this, tape a new sheet of tracing paper over your plan's base and introduce new plants. It is important to consider the use of areas, site characteristics, shade needs, and water-use zones. It is also important to note that many native plants that do well in the coastal region are already water-wise. These plants have adapted to humid, hot weather and hot and dry weather. There is no limit when choosing plants with these characteristics. There are hundreds of species of hearty and unique plants you can choose from. All you have to do is plant them in the right spot and allow them to establish themselves.
If you’re having challenges finding suitable plants, contact your cooperative extension, local water utility, or relevant agencies for more information.
Put Similar Plants Together
Group plants with higher water needs together and place them in a moist spot to reduce maintenance and watering costs. These spots could be at the bottom of a hill or low-lying areas. The best sites to use low water-use plants are windy, dry spots or exposed areas. You can also put them against the west walls of buildings or sunny southern locations. By keeping plants with similar needs together, you will provide sufficient water for their growth comfortably. Whether you’re irrigating by using an automatic timer or by hand, grouping similar plants will significantly simplify your watering sequence.
Did you know that if you carefully prepare plant beds, you can cut water usage by half? The reason is that soil plays a significant role in the water-wise landscape. Plants grow better in good soil because it absorbs and holds moisture better. This allows plants to grow deeper roots to access water even when the surface is dry. By improving soil quality, you make your plants healthier and better adapted to low-water conditions later on.
What is Good Soil?
What are some of the characteristics of good soil?
- Holds water well. Any good soil has this trait. Water retaining is key to growing healthy plants.
- Provide nutrients. No plant can survive in soils that do not have nutrients. It is, therefore, crucial that soil provides these nutrients to the plants.
- Aerates properly. Proper aeration allows water to penetrate various inches to reach base areas. This is an essential trait of good soil.
- Has large particles. By having large particles, water can flow, and the soil can absorb it. The importance of large particles is overwhelming because dense soil, such as clay, doesn't readily absorb water. Instead, the particles are prone to runoff.
How to Improve Your Soil
If you are not contented with your soil's quality, here is how you can improve it.
Start by deep spading, rototilling, or plowing to break up the compacted soil. This allows the root systems to grow deeper into the earth. It is also important to add organic matter, such as shredded leaves or compost while tilling. By doing so, you improve its distribution, penetration, and retention. It will also help if you added soil amendments as recommended by experts.
Another efficient way of improving the quality of your soil is cutting back your grass. Nowadays, lawns that stretch from one property to another are no longer fashionable. They have more disadvantages than advantages. For example, they require a lot of fertilizer, herbicides, and fungicides.
This can be damaging, especially if you are working under a tight budget. The quality of your soil depends on how well you maintain your space. Keep this in mind when working on your landscape.