How to Conserve Water and Still Maintain a Beautiful Home Landscape

By Clara Beaufort

If you want to give thanks to the very biodiversity that allows you to have a beautifully-landscaped yard, you should think about all the ways you can garden in an eco-friendly manner. Water conservation is certainly at the top of that list. 

Here are some tips for saving water that won’t force you to sacrifice any of the beauty you desire for your home landscaping.

Think of xeriscaping

You can begin to conserve water before you even plant your first plants. Some plants need more water than others to thrive. People in drought-prone areas or those under severe water conservation protocols practice a form of landscaping known as xeriscape. Basically, this means you replace vegetation that consumes a lot of water with types that can live on much less. Angie's List identifies wild geranium, oregano, chives, poppies and daffodils as great low-maintenance outdoor plants. Here’s some more info on what you can plant in your yard to be more consistent with xeriscaping. There are plenty of beautiful plants that don’t require a ton of moisture.

Correctly water your plants

I know how to water plants! you may say. You just put water on them! While watering plants isn’t exactly rocket science, people do waste a ton of water on their plants and lawn. In general, a lawn needs about an inch of water a week and perennial plants need about 1-2 inches. Over-watering not only wastes water, but it often leads to root rot and harms your plants.

Don’t waste time and water drenching the blooms and leaves of your plants. Plants absorb water through the roots, so all you’re doing is inefficiently watering. Target your water at the base of your plants. Buy a sprinkler wand or some other sort of watering attachment for your hose. This will help you reduce water waste as well.

Be mindful of evaporation

The more water that evaporates before your landscaping can soak it up, the more water you have to use to keep everything alive. It’s a pretty simple concept. But how do you minimize evaporation?

The first thing you should do is try to time your watering schedule to coincide with the least hot and sunny times of the day. You should water in the early mornings or late at night after the sun goes down. This way, you will lose little to evaporation. You should also make use of mulch. Mulch provides a protective layer on top of your soil that retains moisture and prevents rapid evaporation, leading you to have to use less water all over your landscape.

Don’t let good water go down the drain

There are a variety of ways you can save water you use inside your house and repurpose it to be used as water for your landscaping. Let’s say you’re running a bath. How much water do you waste down the drain waiting for the water to heat up? Put a bucket under the faucet and save that cold water. Think about all the water you let go down the kitchen sink when washing fruits and vegetables, or after you boil pasta or potatoes. Save that water for the garden (it’s nutrient-rich!).

You don’t have to sacrifice beauty in your yard to conserve water. Many water-conservation techniques are simple, free, and actually wind up helping your plants. Try to plant at least some xeriscaped areas (no matter where you live), save household water, know how to properly water plants, and think about ways to prevent evaporation and you’ll be on your way to better water conservation practices. 

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