Grass and garden bed plants are composed of a high percentage of water, so it’s no surprise that these forms of vegetation may require more water than they receive from rainfall. And, in periods of drought, they most definitely need additional water. By adhering to a few simple strategies when planning your lawn and landscaping beds, you can maximize your watering efficiency and ideally conserve water too.
- Choose plants and grass wisely. Look for landscaping plants that are native to your area, as these are likely to do just fine with little more water than they receive from normal rainfall. And if you are opting for “non-native” newcomers, consider their water needs carefully before incorporating them to your landscape. Think about which drought-tolerant or even drought-resistant plants might be good additions based on their ability to survive during periods without water.
When it comes to your lawn, choose grass wisely too. You may opt for a grass variety that will do well with the amount of sunlight or shade it will receive in your yard, but that also requires less watering or that can withstand periods without rain. Also avoid cutting your grass too short, which encourages moisture to evaporate more quickly.
- Group plants and vegetation by their water needs. Planting vegetation with similar water needs close together enables you to be more selective in watering only those areas that need to be watered. This same strategy applies for the turfed areas of your lawn too. You’ll want to group turf areas together to increase watering efficiency, plus reduce both runoff and evaporation.
- Water lawns and landscaping beds wisely. Planning your watering schedule wisely is another way to ensure sensible water use. Water your lawn only when it’s needed and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. Watering the lawn early in the morning or in the evening is best, as this helps ensure that the water doesn’t simply evaporate before it has a chance to reach the lawn’s roots. You might also consider investing in a smart sprinkler controller for an in-ground sprinkler system to automatically monitor the weather, set up schedules and make it easier to turn your sprinkler on and off.
- Check your soil’s composition. Your soil composition also affects how much water your garden or lawn will require. Cultivating soil regularly and adding organic matter, like compost, can help the soil retain water longer. Dethatching and aerating lawns when needed can help soil to use water more efficiently.
Be thoughtful about when and how you fertilize your lawn. Some fertilizers require water for best results and may be best applied before rain showers. Fertilizers also may encourage plant growth, requiring increased watering.
- Apply mulch to beds. You’ll also want to mulch over soil beds to reduce moisture loss and help insulate the soil and plant roots from heat and sunlight. Mulching helps to minimize evaporation, curb weed growth, moderate soil temperature and prevent soil erosion. It can also add visual appeal. Mulch can be made from both organic and inorganic materials such as straw, wood chips or bark, leaves, grass clippings, nutshells, gravel and more. But avoid using too much mulch, which can restrict water flow to plant roots.
Happy watering. Ultimately, just about all vegetation in your yard will require watering. But the key to conserving water is thoughtful planning when it comes to choosing plants, locating them, caring for them and, of course, watering them.