The last few years the national drought is the highest it has been in centuries. We waste anywhere from 30% - 80% of our precious and quickly waning resource of water on our landscapes. The number one thing a home owner can do to conserve water is to install a smart irrigation controller or begin hand watering your landscape. This is because no matter what plant material we have we are prone to over water it as a precaution. With hand watering we see the actual needs of the plants more, don’t water when it rains, and have to take the time to go out and water. With smart irrigation controllers they do it all for you by measuring weather conditions to know when the plant material actually needs irrigated. There are several smart controllers to chose from and should be considered based on individual needs and landscape requirements.
Another way to save water is by simply choosing plants that use less water in our landscapes.
We can have the same aesthetics we desire and are use to while conserving water. Water wise or Xeric landscapes do not have to be and most often are not rocks, skulls, and cactus. Some of the most beautiful, full, landscapes I have ever seen are Xeric. Low water landscapes can be traditional just slightly modified, consist entirely of perennials, have a woodland theme, the desert theme, or even a harvest yard where everything in the landscape is eatable.
Where one lives should directly impact the plant material implemented into the landscape. When dealing with plant material the biggest factor is location, location, location. Our landscape is unique from other places in differences of climate including: precipitation, temperature, solar radiation, and wind. Is it an area with abundant rainfall or a desert area? How many freeze thaw cycles occur annually? What is my Cold Hardiness Zone? Once we determine our microclimate, then we are more prepared to make decisions concerning plant selection. Then we must decide what the intended use of our landscape or plant material is. Things like: the type of irrigation we want, blocking unsightly neighbors or views, wild life we want and don’t want in our garden, the activities that we wish to occur in the space, the importance of a large beautiful lawn; all have an impact on the plant material we should choose. When we opt to buy without these considerations we jeopardize beauty, use, maintenance, resource waste, and the long term survival of our garden. Planning appropriately will save us time, hassle, and money. First step to growing a beautiful home landscape is to understand our landscape and individual mircoclimate. There are several gardening websites that allow you to search through low water plants specific to your cold hardiness zone, and several other individualized selections, search some today. Next time you go to the garden shop ask specifically for low water use plants. As you do this you will be amazed at the variety and beauty available through the use of low water plants.