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Drought-Tolerant Landscaping: Save Water, Spread Beauty

If you are looking to contribute to sustainability and minimize your home’s environmental impact, consider a water-efficient landscape. Talk to a landscaper near you about xeriscaping and try to adopt the practice.

Simply stated a Xeriscape is a water-efficient landscape designed, installed, and managed according to seven principles:

  1. Sound landscape planning and design.

  2. Limitation of turf (lawn) to appropriate, functional areas (typically no more than 30% of the landscape).

  3. Use of water-efficient plants.

  4. Efficient irrigation.

  5. Soil amendments.

  6. Use of mulches.

  7. Appropriate landscape management.

By using xeriscaping principles to create a drought-tolerant landscape, a drought-tolerant landscape can reduce water use by up to 60%. Drought-tolerant landscapes require less maintenance than a landscape that requires more frequent watering. This means that you are able to spend less time maintaining your landscape and more time appreciating its beauty. Follow these tips and work with a landscaper near you to create a drought-tolerant landscape.

Draw a Map of Your Property

A map of your property will allow you to visualize how your plants will be affected by shade from trees, outbuildings, and other structures on your property. You can use this map to determine the best places for your plants, where they’ll receive just the right amount of sunlight and also catch the eyes of your visitors. If possible, the map should be to scale (1/8” =1’ or ¼” = 1’)

Prepare the Soil

To improve your soil’s water holding capacity, add compost to it to help restore some of the nutrients that may have been lost over time. Compost helps with water retention in porous soils and increases air space in heavy soils. Before buying plants for your garden, do your homework. Learn about different species and decide what plants to put in your garden. Choose plants according to our local soil type or prepare the soil according to the plants you want to use. Always space plants according to their mature size.

Add Mulch to Your Soil

Mulch not only helps retain soil moisture; it also keeps weed in check. Apply an organic type mulch in a 3-inch-deep layer as recommended by the California Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). Allow 5% of the area to remain bare for ground-nesting bee pollinators. Adding mulch to your soil will help it better hold on to water which will help your plants make the most of the water they receive and reduce the water required. Consider also avoiding using stones in your mulch as they can heat up the soil and lessen its ability to retain water.

Create an Irrigation Plan

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a sound landscape irrigation plan. Water-efficient irrigation is a serious concern nowadays. Install automatic rain shutoff devices or rain sensors that prevent automatic sprinkler systems from turning on during and after heavy rain. Add a weather-based (smart) irrigation controller to your irrigation system. Fix leaks on your hoses, emitters, and outdoor faucets. Upgrade to water-efficient drip irrigation. When you water, water deeply. Group plants based on their water needs. Place plants that need more water in low areas or the shade of larger plants. Monitor your water use by reading your water meter regularly. Watch out for leaks and other problems and make repairs quickly.

Horticultural Care

Pruning is widely regarded as a water-saving measure as it reduces transpiration. Prune plants in your garden regularly – but only if needed and then always to maintain a plant’s natural shape. Get rid of weeds as soon as they appear, or they could draw moisture away from plants. When maintaining your lawn, avoid mowing the grass too short. Gardenworks is a team of seasoned landscapers near you. We have years of experience creating low-maintenance landscapes. Whether you have a sprawling garden or a small yard, we can transform it into the outdoor oasis of your dreams. To make an appointment, contact our office at (707) 857-2050.


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