Creative Ways to Save Water with “Xeriscaping”
The vast majority of water on our planet is undrinkable salt water, and most of the freshwater on the planet is contained in our glaciers, leaving only a very small fraction available for drinking. The more people and creatures are on the planet, the less water there is to go around. This is reflected in the costs of water as a utility, especially in areas prone to drought.
For this reason, it’s important to think of creative ways to save water—not just for our environment, but for our wallets as well!
For gardeners and homeowners, this can mean selecting plants and flowers that do not consume a lot of water, which is called xeriscaping. Xeriscaping reduces water consumption by planning gardens, lawns, and landscaping based on minimizing or eliminating water use, reducing water costs for homeowners. It is popular in dry areas such as California, New Mexico, or south Florida, but xeriscaping can be done with any yard and a little investment can generate a lot of savings.
The plants that are going to grow most efficiently in any setting are the ones native to that locale, which have adapted to survive in that climate and setting. These can be found in any local nursery, home improvement store, or garden center, or you can look online for which plants are native to your region. If you have a landscaper, he or she can assist with your questions as well. If native plants do not present any attractive options, it is important to find plants that are compatible with your region and that will not pose an invasive threat.
Rely On Nature
As long as it rains, the plants and trees in your yard will be nourished. However, some areas do not get a lot of rain and others are seeing changes in their climate. This has necessitated the creation of new ideas about distributing water throughout the yard. Troughs and streams are a common way to channel water in directions favorable to irrigation by capturing it. Some people use containers or structures, such as bird baths, urns, and hanging pots to nourish plants and flowers that can grow in them. Rain barrels and other containers are common to collect water for later use, which saves water from utility services.
Image via AMSLandscapeDesign.com
Lawns soak up a lot of water, which is a problem especially in areas where water is scarce. To mitigate this, some cities and states have even taken measures to govern how often residents can water their turf.
There are a variety of stylish ways to avoid this. Gorgeous Hacienda or Mediterranean style courtyards laid out with stone, cobblestone, and gravel make a pleasant backyard and entertaining area. Mulch or wood chips can be a beautiful and water-conserving method to make your yard look great. And, as mentioned above, native grasses thrive on the water already provided by the climate, and there are a few grasses that don’t take a lot of water no matter where they are planted.
Moving water around your yard to keep the foliage hydrated is a matter of planning and ingenuity. Mulch retains a lot of water, so water sources buried under your garden mulch can result in fewer waterings. Terraced gardens can not only look gorgeous, they can also cause the rainfall and other watering to flow by creating slopes that flow downhill rather than pooling into a stagnant puddle. Planting all your heavy drinkers in one area rather than distributing all over your yard is a common practice to conserve water in your landscaping.
With simple planning and a little research, xeriscaping is within your grasp. Beautiful gardens do not have to take a lot of water, and can even thrive with little maintenance for someone who is willing to think outside the box and use sustainability as their guide. Keep your utility money in your pocket and conserve our freshwater by following the above advice and using xeriscaping for your landscaping needs!