It’s really exciting to see so many home gardeners making strides towards conserving water in their homes. Of course, here in California especially, water is a precious resource. We’ve had our fair share of drought in recent years, which has caused many homeowners to look at their water use. The good news is that you can save water at home and still have a beautiful garden. With some careful planning and a little know-how, you can quickly learn to become a water-wise gardener.
Every great garden starts with a plan. If you’re looking to revamp your garden to make it more water-friendly, then you need a plan of attack. First, make a list of your priorities for your garden. What are you willing to do without and what items are not up for negotiation? For example, may homeowners are perfectly fine without a grass lawn, while others can’t image living without one. If you’re not ready to let go of your grass just yet, no problem, there are still plenty of ways you can conserve water. Here are some helpful tips:
At Cal Blend Soils, we are big proponents of mulch. Mulch can not only elevate the look of your landscape, it has many practical benefits as well. This is especially true when it comes to conserving water. Everything from your flower beds to your vegetable garden can benefit from a healthy layer of mulch. There are many different materials you can use for mulch. We carry a wide selection right here in our store. Mulch varies in color, size, and texture, so you’ll have no problem finding one that looks great with your plants.
Mulch works as a great moisture barrier. On warm days when the sun is out, you can lose a lot of water to evaporation. Not only does this dry out the soil around your plants, it’s simply a waste of water. Mulch helps keep your soil moist longer.
If you want to grow anything from vegetables to flowers, but you also want to be careful about your water use, consider a raised garden bed. Because of their height, raised garden beds allow water to drain more efficiently. However, unlike watering plants that are directly planted in dirt, you don’t lose this extra moisture to the surrounding ground. If you’re careful to start with a quality growing medium and line the bottom of your raised bed, you planter could retain moisture much longer. Plus, planter beds are able to retain this moisture without sacrificing oxygen to the roots of your plants.
Even if you don’t expect to get much rain in the coming months, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make attempts to collect rain water whenever possible. You might be surprised just how quickly a rain barrel can collect a substantial amount of water. You can use this water to irrigate your plants on sunnier days. Some cities even incentivize homeowners to purchase rain water collection supplies by offering them a rebate to offset their initial investment. That means your rain barrel may be free in the end.
For people who really want to commit to their water conservation efforts, consider collecting graywater. Graywater is water that is used for things like washing dishes and doing laundry. Once used, this water is no longer appropriate for drinking, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used to irrigate your yard. In order to use graywater, you will have to put a filtration system in place to separate any solid debris from the water. If you do plan on collecting graywater at home, you may also need to change up the types of cleaning products you use. Many standard laundry detergents, shampoos, and other soaps have chemicals that can be harmful to plants and soils. Look for eco-friendly and biodegradable versions of these items to use instead.
The truth is that sprinklers are often not the most efficient way to irrigate. Yes, they are convenient, but so much water is lost to evaporation and drainage. It’s almost impossible to put together a water-efficient sprinkler system. Instead, opt for irrigation systems that will target your plants directly such as drip irrigation and soaker hoses. These systems ensure that your water will go straight to the roots of your plants, rather than simply spraying it over a large area.
Of course, you may need to keep your sprinkler system in place if you have a large lawn to water. If that’s the case, be sure to thoroughly check your system on a regular basis. Look for areas where you may be losing water such as leaks and broken sprinkler heads. Always try to run your sprinklers in the evening when you will lose less water to evaporation. Finally, if your sprinklers are on a timer, be sure to turn them off rain is in the forecast.
For the best landscaping supplies to create your waterwise garden, come into Cal Blend Soils. We carry the widest selection of decorative rock, mulch, top soils and more. Our staff of knowledgeable landscaping professionals are always standing by to help you find exactly what you need for your yard or garden.